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Journal of Indian Philosophy and Religion

Volume 26, December 2021

John Harold
Pages 88-114

Tagore: Global Author Through A Pepperean Lens

The global reach of Tagore’s achievement can be freshly understood through a theory of purposive behavior by the American philosopher, Stephen C. Pepper. Pepper proposed dividing human purposes in three categories: conative achievement, and affective. Tagore’s prose fiction can fill out the theory with more complex and problematic examples towards a cross cultural ethics. His novels about the emerging professional class in India reveal the tensions between traditional values of the family and religious observance against individual efforts to fulfil desire, find pleasure, and be productive outside or in home life. The last completed prose fiction of the Bengali master presents a distinct challenge for critics and filmmakers as his longstanding sympathy for the plight of women may cause us to misread the rollickingly satirical "Laboratory" in which a scientist's legacy is fought over by a thoroughly corrupt mother and daughter.