12.90 FYI France Resource List: "French Books on India"


"French Books on India"


[Jack Kessler:] A remarkable resource -- linked here at the suggestion of its authors -- books about India written in French, from the earliest years of French activity there...

One of India's greatest preoccupations now is its coming-to-terms with centuries of history and outside contact, preoccupations mostly dominated by Britain and the British Empire. Very little of what gets read, and discussed and debated, about India and Outsiders over the last 500 years, is concerned with any Outsider but The British -- British perceptions, and misperceptions, about India... ditto those of people in "India", as British-defined, about the British... customs and attitudes of both "sides"... interpretations then and the same as-revised now of events, crises, trends, over that long history...

But how much more light may be shed, for those in modern India and Britain as well as for others, by the historical records of other cultures too: modern "India" is an enormous place, with a large and complicated culture, and a very long history -- seeing all that through French eyes, too, and Portuguese, and Chinese, and others -- doing some comparative analysis, and not just the confrontational which too often typifies Anglo-Indian studies -- undoubtedly will broaden and deepen the understandings involved.

So, here is what the French saw, or thought they saw... one expects it may have been very different from the British view...



[From the website itself:]"The site covers books from 1531 to 2015, with full-text copies of hundreds of titles that appeared before 1939 and short critical summaries of the most important items written by international experts. The books published after 1954 included here, all relate back to the period before that year, including to the 267-year period between 1668 and 1954 when the French nation had a trading presence in India. Presenting them in chronological order, this site shows books in history and fascinating recurring tropes in French-language representations of India."



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M. Eiffel

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Last update: July 16, 2016