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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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Knowing India: Asiatic Researches/Recreations

Knowing India: Asiatic Researches/Recreations

(p.205) 6 Knowing India: Asiatic Researches/Recreations
Orientalist Jones

Michael J. Franklin

Oxford University Press

Jones's founding of the Asiatick Society in January 1784 markes the beginnings of Indology. Asiatick Researches transformed Western preconceptions, placing India at the centre of European Romanticism. Chapter 6 explains how the Society chimes with the political rationale of Hasting's Orientalist regime: reconciling Indians with their imperial masters; stressing the sophistication of subcontinental civilization; and freeing Company servants from accusations of ‘moral turpitude’. New letters reveal how conscientiously Jones sought to increase membership and encourage papers from Indian scholars. Despite letters revealing the bhakti (loving devotion) of a devout Hindu, and pioneering comparative mythology, Jones guarded against accusations of ‘going native’, and vindicated Mosaic history. Early underestimation of Indian science is soon corrected by colleagues’ research, and Jones's impassioned love of India is expressed in many of his ‘Hindu hymns’. The polymathic range of his research interests contribute to the porousness of work and leisure for both William and Anna.

Keywords:   Asiatick Society, Indology, Hastings, comparative mythology, Francis Gladwin, Asiatick Miscellany, Sanskrit, ‘Hindu hymns’, bhakti, Asiatick Researches, Poems of Anna Maria

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