A Various Universe - A Study of Journals and Memoirs

A Various Universe - A Study of Journals and Memoirs

Product ID: 9640

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Author: Ketaki Kushari Dyson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 406
ISBN/UPC (if available): 978-0-19-566114-9


This work is a study of the journals and Memoirs of British Men and Women in the Indian subcontinent 1765-1856.

First published in 1978, this is a pioneering study of a fascinating field of English letters, the books written by British men and women about their experiences in the Indian subcontinent in the second half of the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth centuries - a part of the great surge of the literature of travel and foreign experience which accompanied the commercial and political expansion of the British people. Over forty individual works were surveyed, illustrating a substantial corpus that reaches the status of a genre.

The panorama of the subcontinent unfolding under the scrutiny of intelligent observers, the wealth of information on every aspect of Indian life, the memorable East-West cultural encounter, the extraordinary nature of many of the adventures and confrontations recorded: all provide exciting material which is every bit as educative and thought-provoking now as it was when the book first appeared.

Generous excerpts from the original texts are balanced against the author's own exegeses, offering rich insights to lay readers as well as to literary people, historians, and anthropologists.

The new preface to this edition gives the reader a glimpse into what the writing of this book has meant to Dyson in her own subsequent literary career, and encourages us to re-think some of the much-debated issues of recent intellectual discourses on cultural encounters between the West and non-West.


This fine addition to our general knowledge of India ought to be in every South Asia and British Empire collection.
- Choice, Chicago

This evocation of a time when the old India was vanishing and the new British India was emerging is delineated with subtlety and imagination. "Only connect", urged E M Forster: Ketaki Dyson does connect.
- The Times Literary Supplement, London

Besides the intellectual profit to be gained from this book, there is even more the pleasure to be anticipated from being guided by a sensitive and studious woman whose writing mirrors the best qualities of the subjects of her study.
- The Historical Association, London

A formidable inquiry. One rises after reading this massive book grateful to its author for taking up and executing a difficult but necessary project in literary and historical research.
-Indo-British Review, Madras

The Author's scholarship is impressive
- New Quest, Bombay

Dr Dyson has triumphantly vindicated her claim that the journals of the British in India deserve to be regarded as a distinct genre.
- India International Center Quarterly, New Delhi.

An eminently readable volume.
- Indian and Foreign Review. New Delhi.


Preface to the 2002 Edition
Preface to the 1978 Edition



Jemima Kindersley to William Huggins

Reginald Heber to Madeline and
Rosalind Wallace-Dunlop


Appendix A
Some Examples of Religious Debates from
the Journals and Letters of Henry Martyn

Appendix B
Some Examples of Impressions of Indian Dancing and Music
Including the Cabaret Aspects of the Nautch, in the Journals and memoirs

Appendix C
Indian Themes in Mrs. Sherwood's Stories for Children