The Containment & Re-deployment of English India

Essays devoted to English India as it appears in Romantic studies, and the institutional effects of colonial discourse. Edited by Daniel J. O'Quinn, essays by Siraj Ahmed, L. M. Findlay, Daniel J. O'Quinn, Rita Raley, Susan B. Taylor, and Kate Teltscher.

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November 2000

CONTENTS

November 2000

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Teltscher, "Colonial Correspondence: The Letters of George Bogle from Bengal, Bhutan and Tibet, 1770-81"

George Bogle was the first British envoy (and first British traveller) from India to Bhutan and Tibet in 1774-5. His letters home provide an exceptional account of British life in Calcutta of the 1770s and a fascinating record of the first mission to Bhutan and Tibet. He is best known for the narrative of his friendship with the third Panchen Lama of Tibet, apparently a relationship of mutual respect and affection which developed during Bogle's five-month stay. This essay explores the multiple, often incompatible, personae which Bogle adopts in his letters home. Writing to his father and brothers, Bogle represents himself as an ambitious, politically astute careerist; to his sisters, as a charming, self-denigrating dilettante. His letters to his sisters are filled with nostalgic invocations of childhood, but this domestic space must also accommodate unfamiliar cultures. In what guise is the Orient admitted to the home? By asking such questions, by tracing Bogle's various epistolary identities, we may catch the process of textual, social and colonial self-fashioning at work.
November 2000

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Kate Teltscher, "Colonial Correspondence: The Letters of George Bogle from Bengal, Bhutan and Tibet, 1770-81" The Containment and Re-deployment of English India, edited by Daniel J. O'Quinn

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Photograph of a Buddhist rosary, Bogle Collection, Mitchell Library, Glasgow. Reproduced by kind permission of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow.

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November 2000

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Kate Teltscher, "Colonial Correspondence: The Letters of George Bogle from Bengal, Bhutan and Tibet, 1770-81" The Containment and Re-deployment of English India, edited by Daniel J. O'Quinn

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Plan of the reception chamber of the Deb Raja of Bhutan inserted in a letter of George Bogle to his sister, Anne, 1774. MSS Eur E 226/77 (c), Oriental and India Office Collection. Reproduced by kind permission of the British Library.

November 2000

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Taylor, "Irish Odalisques and Other Seductive Figures:Thomas Moore's Lalla Rookh"

Susan B. Taylor examines two distinct but related scenes of British colonization in the early nineteenth century: one of Ireland as a woman and one of the East as a woman. These metaphors coincide in Irish writer Thomas Moore's 1817 narrative poem, Lalla Rookh, An Oriental Romance. The Indian setting and orientalist rhetoric that Moore employs in Lalla Rookh form a sort of literary mantle that allows him to articulate concerns about Irish liberation in the guise of an Eastern tale. Yet as the author this Eastern tale, Moore is in an almost paradoxical position as a citizen of Ireland, a British colony which is geographically Western but culturally viewed as "other" in prejudicial fears and fantasies. Ironically enough, Moore presents similar fantasies and anxieties about Arab and Indian culture as he uses Lalla Rookh's allegorical Eastern tales to depict Ireland's subjection to British rule. Moore's text speaks to the politics of metaphor with its implications that there is some term in common between the Irish experience and the cultures of the East.
November 2000

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Susan B. Taylor, "Irish Odalisques and Other Seductive Figures: Thomas Moore's Lalla Rookh" The Containment and Re-deployment of English India, edited by Daniel J. O'Quinn

Plate 1

Micheal Farrell, The Madonna Irlanda, or "The Very First Real Irish Political Picture," 1977. 73 x 68 in. Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Art, Dublin. Reproduced by the kind permssion of the artist.

November 2000

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Raley, "A Teleology of Letters; or, From a "Common Source" to a Common Language"

Like Sir William Jones, the Orientalist John Borthwick Gilchrist, one-time professor at the College of Fort William and seminary instructor, composed an orthoepigraphical system for the transcription of South Asian languages into the Roman alphabet. Gilchrist's project, though, was inherently instrumental, and it effected a partial shift in philological emphasis away from the decoding of the scholarly and classical languages to the demotic and vernacular; his campaign was to insure colloquial proficiency in Hindustani, generally considered the popular language of the East, so that those bound for India could have the proper foundation with which to converse with the natives, to acquire local knowledge, and to come to know Oriental literature. The connection between common languages and governmental control partly accounts for Gilchrist's extensive valorization of functional rationality, as does the idea that language ultimately cannot awe, mystify, enthrall, or govern if it is not common. Gilchrist, however, did not discount the value of the learned languages; rather he transported this value to the vernacular by articulating a teleological model of philological work that was to progress toward a suturing of the utile and the dulce within a particular 'common' language. English came to be situated in these terms at the intersection of these two paradigms of scholarly activity, at the divide between Jones and Gilchrist, liberal and useful knowledge, and universal and national literacy. In his search for a "remedy" for the Oriental languages and a "new universal grammaclature" to be spoken "by all nations in every age and clime," Gilchrist ultimately directed his efforts toward the introduction of what he called "sterling english" and prophetically calculated the imperial spread of a common, basic, or vernacular, English dialect. Coming at a historical juncture in which the claims for the practical, utilitarian, and scientific uses of language were on the rise, Gilchrist's alignment of scholastic philological work with the vernacular strengthened, by extension, the claims to legitimacy on the part of all vernaculars; and it most particularly paved the way for the legitimation of English. Gilchrist and the author of the coterminous philosophical text Enclytica (1814) contributed strongly to an emergent theory of the vernacular, particularly in their suggestions that vernaculars are tied to industrial and scientific development, that they function as the languages of contemporary record and of history, that they contribute to nation formation, and that the systemic code underlying all languages, the universal grammar, is marked by a profound simplicity.
November 2000

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Plate 2


Rita Raley, "A Teleology of Letters; or, From a 'Common Source' to a Common Language" The Containment and Re-deployment of English India, edited by Daniel J. O'Quinn

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"The oriento-occidental plan of expressing the most useful asiatic dialects through the medium of a Hindee-Roman Orthoepigraphical Alphabet." Appendix to John Borthwick Gilchrist, Dialogues, English and Hindoostanee (London, 1826). By permission of Robarts Research Library, The University of Toronto.

November 2000

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