UNDER WESTERN EYES (India from Milton to Macaulay)

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Item Code: IDD634
Publisher: Oxford University Press, New Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 1999
ISBN: 0195649176
Pages: 277
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.7" X 5.7"
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Book Description
About the Book:

Spanning nearly two and a half centuries of English literature about India, Under Western Eyes traces the development of an imperial discourse that governed the English view of India well into the twentieth century. Narrating this history fromits Reformation beginnings to its Victorian consolidation, Balachandra Rajan tracks this imperial presence through a wide range of literary and ideological sites. In so doing, he explores from a postcolonial vantage point, collusions of gender, commerce and empire - while revealing the tensions, self-deceptions, and conflicts at work within the English imperial design.

Rajan begins with the Portuguese poet Camoes, whose poem celebrating Vasco da Gama's passage to India becomes, according to its eighteenth century English translator, the epic of those who would possess India. He closely examines Milton's treatment of the Orient and Dryden's Aureng-Zebe, the first English literary work on an Indian subject. Texts by Shelley, Southey, Mill, and Macaulay, among others, come under careful scrutiny, as does Hegel's significant impact on English imperial discourse. Comparing the initial English representation of its actions in India (as a matter of commerce, not conquest) and its contemporaneous treatment of Ireland, Rajan exposes contradictions that shed new light on the English construction of a subaltern India.

About the Author:

Balachandra Rajan is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Western Ontario. He has written numerous scholarly books, including The Lofty Rhyme: A Study of Milton's Major Poetry: The Form of the Unfinished: English Poetics from Spenser to Pound; and two novels.

Excerpts from Review:

'Neither students of Milton nor readers interested in the future of postcolonial studies can afford to ignore the panoply of theoretical, historical, and critical examples that crowd Rajan's wonderfully readable pages.'

-Janel Mueller, University of Chicago

'Under Western Eyes, is a learned exposition of imperial themes from the early East India company to the nineteenth century. In re-reading the canon as a contest between imperial coercion and resistance, it offers new postcolonial insights into literary formation.'

- Gauri Viswanathan, Columbia University



    Introduction: Preliminary Navigations

  1. The Lusiads and the Asian Reader

  2. Banyan Trees and Fig Leaves: Some Thoughts on Milton's India

  3. Appropriating India: Dryden's Great Mogul

  4. James Mill and the Case of the Hottentot Venus

  5. Hegel's India and the Surprise of Sin

  6. Feminizing the Feminine: Early Women Writers on India

  7. Monstrous Mythologies: Southey and The Curse of Kehama

  8. Understanding Asia: Shelley's Prometheus Unbound

  9. Macaulay: The Moment and the Minute

    Afterword: From Center to Circumference



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