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Orientalist JonesSir William Jones, Poet, Lawyer, and Linguist, 1746-1794$
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Michael J. Franklin

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199532001

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532001.001.0001

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‘Persian’ Jones, London Welshman, Surveys his Roots

‘Persian’ Jones, London Welshman, Surveys his Roots

(p.43) 2 ‘Persian’ Jones, London Welshman, Surveys his Roots
Orientalist Jones

Michael J. Franklin

Oxford University Press

This chapter moves back eight years to August 1775 with the 28-year-old barrister Jones looking out to ‘Anglesey, the ancient Mona, where my ancestors presided over a free but uncivilized people’. It was a crystallizing moment as he recalls his father and his relation, the celebrated polymath Lewis Morris. As he considers his family and achievements, the chapter illustrates his Celtic cultural inheritance; early academic prowess at Harrow and Oxford; his tutorship of young Althorp; his driving ambition and lust for fame. The key Orientalist influences, especial the mixture of scholarly and popular Orientalism in Antoine Galland, and Madame de Vaucluse, and his early experience of collaborating with native informants are examined together with his first four publications to show how Jones had become the greatest Oriental scholar in Europe. Poems (1772) introduces sophisticated ideas concerning comparative literature and cultural translation, creating a public taste for the genuine ethnic commodity.

Keywords:   Galland, Madame de Vaucluse, Celtic Revival, Lewis Morris, education, Viscount Althorp, Orientalism, native informants, comparative literature, Poems (1772)

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