Between the Paradise of Bengali Countryside and the City's Prison Walls: Nature and Culture in the Writings of Jibananda Das
The article examines the dichotomy of culture and nature in the poems and short stories of the Bengali writer Jibanananda Das (1899–1954). The revolutionary changes in Indian economy and society in the 19th century created a new man – a city dweller, who received Western-style education and believed in progress, modernity and individual success. Das was one of the first victims and critics of that change. Forced by the pressure of social norms and then the political turmoil of Partition to leave the countryside of East Bengal for the city life, he remains nonetheless one of the most famous eulogists of Bengali nature and the severest critics of modern European civilization. However, as the article aims to prove, first and foremost Das was the first Bengali existentialist seeking the truth about human nature, death and god in the world of changing values and moral relativism.
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