Mr. N. Chatterji 253 Uxbridge Road London W 12 England
Dear Mr. Chatterji:

I was glad for your letter of September 26 regarding Rabindranath Tagore. Indeed I do recall the enthusiasm with which his GITANJALI was received over here. I was, and still am, one of his grateful admirers. My friend, Dhan Gopal Mukerji, assured me that much was lost in translation; but, even so, the great and beautiful spirit of the seer broke through the screen of English.

At the time, I was a literary editor, in constant touch with the literature of the time in all fields. It was in 1912, the year of GITANJALI, that the great world-wave of impressionism struck the realm of our higher values over here like a hurricane. (I use the term, impressionism, to signify the tendency to repudiate all standards that are the result of the race's accumulated experience, and to set up individual caprice as a guide.) The world war that began two years later was a major symptom of what was happening to our world. We are still living in a cultural chaos. This is not to be deplored, only understood, if possible.

The overwhelming world-change that struck us over here in 1912 was, of course, profoundly materialistic. Two world-wars and social revolution have deepened the resultant social mood, and the astounding triumphs of scientific technology support it in the general social consciousness.

Surely, it is not surprising that Tagore's fame should have waned along with so much that was good -- and is forever. Time moods sweep across the world like cloud shadows across the landscape. As they pass, they seem everlasting, and they determine the dominant persuasions of men. But the sun goes on shining!

"Too mystical for my taste", says Bertrand Russell. Of course; for his is the taste of a thinker dominated by the mood of his day when science and mysticism are regarded as antagonistic. But have not all our higher human values grown out of mystical insights, states of expanded awareness, just as the values of physical science have grown out of a state of awareness pertinent to that level of experience? In 1925 Macmillans published a little book of mine entitled POETIC VALUES, in which I undertook to show how science and mysticism merge in one flowing circle of human reality. The book went out of print during the last war, the plates being used to make bullets! Perhaps a copy could be found somewhere in your libraries.

Kindest thoughts and best wishes,

John G. Neihardt