By Mary Ellis Gibson
In Indian Angles, Mary Ellis Gibson presents a brand new ancient method of Indian English literature. Gibson exhibits that poetry, now not fiction, was once the dominant literary style of Indian writing in English till 1860 and that poetry written in colonial occasions can let us know as a lot or perhaps extra approximately figuration, multilingual literacies, and histories of nationalism than novels can. Gibson recreates the ancient webs of association and resistance that have been skilled through writers in colonial India—writers of British, Indian, and combined ethnicities. Advancing new theoretical and historic paradigms for studying colonial literatures, Indian Angles makes obtainable many writers heretofore missed or nearly unknown. Gibson recovers texts by way of British girls, through non-elite British males, and by way of people who could, within the 19th century, were referred to as Eurasian. Her paintings lines the jointly constitutive heritage of English language poets from Sir William Jones to Toru Dutt and Rabindranath Tagore. Drawing on modern postcolonial thought, her paintings additionally offers new methods of pondering British inner colonialism as its effects have been exported to South Asia. In lucid and obtainable prose, Gibson offers a brand new theoretical method of colonial and postcolonial literatures.
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Additional resources for Indian Angles: English Verse in Colonial India from Jones to Tagore
I estimate that at least a third of the so-called native speakers of English spoke Irish or Lowland or Highland Scots dialects. If we include enlisted men as well as officers in this mix of what Bhattacharya calls “English” residents, then dialects would have varied significantly by social class as well as region of origin. Of the non-European residents of Calcutta who learned English, one can infer that their learning, too, was various, reflecting the dialects of their teachers. 8 To imagine the “sound” of English in Calcutta in this period accurately is to imagine the language not of Oxbridge but of Burns.
Her verse represents an Anglo-Indian desire for metropolitan literary success that was to become still more powerful in years to come, and it also indicates how quickly—and how slowly—poetic news moved within the ambit of empire. Anna Maria was painfully attuned to the latest literary developments in London, and hers was a poetry of literary sociality rather than intellectual adventure. Her slim volume of verse allows us to measure the social uses of art even within a culture whose main concerns were undoubtedly martial and commercial.
Taken together, these three poets—Sir William Jones, Anna Maria, and Sir John Horsford—represent the dominant poetic trends in late eighteenth-century British India. The early world of English language belles lettres in India was defined against and also outside of metropolitan culture. It was necessarily multilingual and often learned. It was enamored of translation. It took for granted that literary pursuits were an important form of sociality. And its lifeblood was poetry. Polyglossia and Poetry In choosing these three poets, I am concerned here primarily with late eighteenth-century Bengal, for this relatively narrow focus will allow us to understand in some detail Sir William Jones, Sir John Horsford, and Anna Maria how material and linguistic conditions in India were given shape in literary networks, tropes, and conventions.