Van Eeden, Kabir.jpg


Book cover of Frederik van Eeden's Dutch translation of Rabindranath Tagore's English version of the songs and poems by the poet Kabir.


In 1916, the Dutch writer Frederik van Eeden published a Dutch translation of the religious songs and poems attributed to Kabir, a fifteenth-century Indian poet. Van Eeden’s fascination with the famous Indian Nobel Prize winner, the poet Rabindranath Tagore, had guided him to the works of Kabir who had been a strong influence on Tagore’s poetical and political thoughts. In 1912, Evelyn Underhill had assisted Tagore with the translation of Kabir’s poems in English during his travels in Great Britain. Songs of Kabir was published in 1914. Van Eeden’s translation of Songs of Kabir aligns with his work as the only Dutch translator of Tagore of his time. He published, among others, Wij-zangen (1914) and De Hoovenier (1916). Van Eeden’s aversion to Western modernity and nationalism went hand in hand with a great fascination for Asian cultures and Tagore. Van Eeden was one of the few Dutch advocates of a truly global internationalism: he believed that the First World War would increase the exchanges between East and West, resulting in the rise of a world community.