Europe Reconsidered: Perceptions of the West in Nineteenth-Century Bengal
This history of the changing perceptions of, and attitudes towards Europe in nineteenth-century Bengal among the Bengali intelligentsia examines in detail the ideas of three key men during a time of social, cultural, and intellectual confrontation between the East and the West: Bhudev Mukhopadhyay, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, and Swami Vivekananda. It explores their attempts to grapple with the intellectual dilemma of their times as represented by the East-West encounter. The three men possessed considerable scholarship and erudition, and came from the same social milieu of upper-class urban Bengal, yet each had very different perceptions of the West. The nineteenth-century Bengali experience under colonialism was part of a global phenomenon inasmuch as the province, like many other areas of Asia, was subject to European imperialism. Bengal was thus "perhaps the earliest manifestation of the revolution in the mental world of Asia's elite groups." Nearer home, it represented the general experience of the Indian subcontinent as a whole, but at "its most complex and well informed level". These changing perceptions and attitudes mediated all new initiatives in the society and polity of Asian peoples in modern times. The changes, in their turn, were crucially influenced by perceptions of Europe.
The author explores the ideas regarding Europe as presented in the writings of these three very influential writers, who represented as well as shaped widely held opinions. The book touches on orientalism, hermeneutics, cultural contact between Europe and Asia, European expansion, the nineteenth-century 'Renaissance' in India, and the colonial middle classes in Asia. It is a significant addition to the meagre literature available on Indian perceptions of the West. In his new introduction to this new edition the author links the book to the wider themes in his current research; he also explains points in his argument which, he feels, have been misunderstood. Appended to this edition is a memorial lecture by the author in honour of his teacher, Susobhan Sarkar, which reassesses the concept of the 'Bengal Renaissance.'
Specifications of Europe Reconsidered: Perceptions of the West in Nineteenth-Century Bengal
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Number Of Pages||422|
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