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Title: 'Orientalist Jones'
Subtitle: Sir William Jones, Poet, Lawyer, and Linguist, 1746-1794
Written By: Michael J. Franklin

Sir William Jones (1746-94) was the foremost Orientalist of his generation
and one of the greatest intellectual navigators of all time. He re-drew the map
of European thought. 'Orientalist' Jones was an extraordinary man and an
intensely colourful figure. At the age of twenty-six, Jones was elected to Dr
Johnson's Literary Club, on terms of intimacy with the metropolitan luminaries
of the day. The names of his friends in Britain and India present a roll-call of
late eighteenth-century glitterati: Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, Sir
Joshua Reynolds, Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Priestley, Edmund Burke,
Warren Hastings, Johannes Zoffany, Edward Gibbon, Oliver Goldsmith,
Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Charles James Fox, William Pitt, and David

In Bengal his Sanskrit researches marked the beginning of Indo-European
comparative grammar, and modern comparative-historical linguistics, of
Indology, and the disciplines of comparative literature, philology, mythology,
and law. He did more than any other writer to destroy Eurocentric prejudice,
reshaping Western perceptions of India and the Orient. His commitment to
the translation of culture, a multiculturalism fascinated as much by similitude
as difference, profoundly influenced European and British Romanticism,
offering the West disconcerting new relationships and disorienting

Jones's translation of the Hindu myth of Sakuntala (1789) led to an Oriental
renaissance in the West and cultural revolution in India. Remembered with
great affection throughout the subcontinent as a man who facilitated India's
cultural assimilation into the modern world, Jones helped to build India's
future on the immensity, sophistication, and pluralism of its past.

Michael J. Franklin's extensive archival research reveals new insights into
this radical intellectual: a figure characterized by Goethe as 'a far-seeing
man, he seeks to connect the unknown to the known', and described by Dr
Johnson as 'the most enlightened of the sons of men'. Unpublished poems
and new letters shed fresh light upon Jones in rare moments of relaxation,
while Franklin's research of the legal documents in the courts of the King's
Bench, the Carmarthen circuit, and the Supreme Court of Bengal illustrates
his passion for social justice, his legal acumen, and his principled

Publication Year: 2011
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Linguistic Field(s): History of Linguistics
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0199532001
ISBN-13: 9780199532001
Pages: 400
Prices: U.K. £ 35