New book on William Jones
- Of interest, passed on from the Agade announcement list.
You can read significant portions of the book at the Amazon page:
Sir William Jones, Poet, Lawyer, and Linguist, 1746-1794
Michael J. Franklin
408 pages | 8pp black and white plates | 234x156mm
978-0-19-953200-1 | Hardback | 22 September 2011
$56 at Amazon
A major new critical biography of the foremost Orientalist of the
eighteenth century and one of the greatest intellectual navigators of
Shows how Jones's work led to an Oriental renaissance in the West
and cultural revolution in India.
Includes unpublished poems, newly discovered letters, and court
records to shed new light on Jones as a person and a social thinker.
Sir William Jones (1746-94) was the foremost Orientalist of his
generation and one of the greatest intellectual navigators of all
time. He re-drew the map of European thought. 'Orientalist' Jones was
an extraordinary man and an intensely colourful figure. At the age of
twenty-six, Jones was elected to Dr Johnson's Literary Club, on terms
of intimacy with the metropolitan luminaries of the day. The names of
his friends in Britain and India present a roll-call of late
eighteenth-century glitterati: Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, Sir
Joshua Reynolds, Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Priestley, Edmund Burke,
Warren Hastings, Johannes Zoffany, Edward Gibbon, Oliver Goldsmith,
Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Charles James Fox, William Pitt, and David
In Bengal his Sanskrit researches marked the beginning of
Indo-European comparative grammar, and modern comparative-historical
linguistics, of Indology, and the disciplines of comparative
literature, philology, mythology, and law. He did more than any other
writer to destroy Eurocentric prejudice, reshaping Western perceptions
of India and the Orient. His commitment to the translation of culture,
a multiculturalism fascinated as much by similitude as difference,
profoundly influenced European and British Romanticism, offering the
West disconcerting new relationships and disorienting orientations.
Jones's translation of the Hindu myth of Sakuntala (1789) led to an
Oriental renaissance in the West and cultural revolution in India.
Remembered with great affection throughout the subcontinent as a man
who facilitated India's cultural assimilation into the modern world,
Jones helped to build India's future on the immensity, sophistication,
and pluralism of its past.
Michael J. Franklin's extensive archival research reveals new insights
into this radical intellectual: a figure characterized by Goethe as 'a
far-seeing man, he seeks to connect the unknown to the known', and
described by Dr Johnson as 'the most enlightened of the sons of men'.
Unpublished poems and new letters shed fresh light upon Jones in rare
moments of relaxation, while Franklin's research of the legal
documents in the courts of the King's Bench, the Carmarthen circuit,
and the Supreme Court of Bengal illustrates his passion for social
justice, his legal acumen, and his principled independence.
Michael J. Franklin, Senior Lecturer, Department of English, Swansea University
Michael J. Franklin is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English
at Swansea University. His main current area of interest is the study
of colonial representations of India and their various interfaces with
Romanticism, and he has published widely on this subject and on the
work of Sir William Jones, including the critical biography Sir
William Jones (1995), and (as editor)Sir William Jones: Selected
Poetical and Prose Works (1995), Representing India: Indian Culture
and Imperial Control (2000), and The European Discovery of India: Key
Indological Sources of Romanticism (2001). His most recent books are
an edited collection of essays, Romantic Representations of British
India (2006), and a scholarly edition of Phebe Gibbes, Hartly House,
Calcutta (2007), also published by Oxford University Press.
1: Claiming Kin in Calcutta: Jones discovers the Indo-European family
2: Persian Jones, London Welshman, surveys his roots
3: Druid Jones on the Carmarthen Circuit: Radicalization and
Recreation on the Celtic Fringe
4: Impressive Patrons and Impressing Mariners
5: Republican Jones and the Poetry of Politics: Fragments of Liberty
6: Knowing India: Asiatic Researches/Recreations
7: Europe Falls in Love with Sakuntala
8: Life and Death in Calcutta: A Courtroom View of the Ethics of Empire
9: 'Indo-Persian' Jones and Indian Pluralism
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