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Madhusudan Dutta

Michael Madhusudan Dutta (1824-73) is undoubtedly the most interesting figure in the history of Bengali literature. Highly educated and hugely influenced by English poets like Thomas Moore, John Keats and George Byron and by other European literature, Dutta started his adolescent literary career in English language as a student of the Hindu College. He went to Madras in 1848 and by 1852 he started gaining fame as a journalist. He soon became the joint-editor of the Spectator and later the Chief Editor of the Hindu Chronicle. His English books of poetry - The Captive Ladies and Visions of the Past were published in 1849. He came back to Calcutta in February 1856.

Dutta was a man of real genius who altered the whole course of Bengali literature and added new dimensions to it. He was the first Bengali poet who broke the shackles of the past poetic traditions. He introduced sonnet and also used the unconventional blank verse style in Bengali poetry, which startled his audience. He is credited with the first modern comedy and tragedy and the first epic in Bengali literature. He was the pioneer of the new (westernized) poetry and the new drama. Dutta's experimentation with the application of blank verse style started in the play named "Padmavati". He followed this with a number of Bengali plays like Sermistha, Kissen Cumari and Maya Kanan; farces like Ekei ki Boley Savyata, Booro Shaliker Gharhey Ro and a few Bengali or English translations including the famous Bengali play called Nil Darpan by the notable Bengali playwright Dinobandhu Mitra. In 1860 his poetry in blank verse named Tilottoma Sambhav Kavya created a storm of sensation in Calcutta literary scene. The most popular and revered of his literary works was his modern epic poetry Meghnad Badh Kavya. In 1870 Dutta published his Bengali translation of part of Homer's Iliad called Hector Badh. The other important works of Madhusudan Dutta include Brajangana Kavya, Virangana Kavya and Krishnakumari.


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