Cover image for Indian angles English verse in colonial India from Jones to Tagore
Indian angles English verse in colonial India from Jones to Tagore
Publication Information:
Athens : Ohio University Press, 2011.

Physical Description:
xv, 334 p. : ill.
Introduction -- Part One. Languages, tropes, and landscape in the beginnings of English language poetry: Contact poetics in eighteenth-century Calcutta: Sir William Jones, John Horsford, and Anna Maria; Bards and sybils: landscape, gender, and the culture of dispute in the poems of H. L. V. Derozio and Emma Roberts -- Part two. The institutions of colonial mimesis, 1830/1857: Books, reading, and the profession of letters: David Lester Richardson and the construction of a British canon in India; sighing, or not, for albion: Kasiprasad Ghosh, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, and Mary Carshore -- Part three. Nationalisms, religion, and aestheticism in the late nineteenth century: From Christian piety to cosmopolitan nationalisms: the Dutt family album and the poems of Mary E. Leslie and Toru Dutt; cosmopolitanism, nationalism, and aestheticism in fin-de-siècle London: Manmohan Ghose, Sarojini Naidu, and Rabindranath Tagore.
Geographic Term:
Added Corporate Author:


Material Type
Shelf Number

On Order



A 2012 CHOICE "Outstanding Academic Title"

In Indian Angles , Mary Ellis Gibson provides a new historical approach to Indian English literature. Gibson shows that poetry, not fiction, was the dominant literary genre of Indian writing in English until 1860 and that poetry written in colonial situations can tell us as much or even more about figuration, multilingual literacies, and histories of nationalism than novels can. Gibson recreates the historical webs of affiliation and resistance that were experienced by writers in colonial India--writers of British, Indian, and mixed ethnicities.

Advancing new theoretical and historical paradigms for reading colonial literatures, Indian Angles makes accessible many writers heretofore neglected or virtually unknown. Gibson recovers texts by British women, by non-elite British men, and by persons who would, in the nineteenth century, have been called Eurasian. Her work traces the mutually constitutive history of English language poets from Sir William Jones to Toru Dutt and Rabindranath Tagore. Drawing on contemporary postcolonial theory, her work also provides new ways of thinking about British internal colonialism as its results were exported to South Asia.

In lucid and accessible prose, Gibson presents a new theoretical approach to colonial and postcolonial literatures.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In this thoroughly researched, well-theorized study, Gibson (Univ. of North Carolina, Greensborough) traces the rise of English-language poetics in India from the late 18th century to the early 20th. She acknowledges the complex, changing identity politics informing colonial affiliation, showing how poets of British, Indian, or mixed origin and affiliation were involved in the complementary project of establishing Anglo-Indian poetics. Divided into three sections, the volume deals with various topics, from contact poetics to bardic nationalism, gendered poetics, mimicry, religion, shadowed mutuality, and unhomeliness. Focusing mainly on Bengal because of its central place in the colonial administration, each of the six chapters deals with two to three poets from various subject positions, providing detailed historical, cultural, and biographical contexts for understanding the poets' work and critical reception. Of particular note in all three sections is the author's keen attention to the paratexts, the apparatuses accompanying poems to make them legible or authenticate them for the uninitiated. A critical companion to Gibson's anthology Anglophone Poetry in Colonial India, 1780-1913 (2011), this title complements Rosinka Chaudhuri's Gentlemen Poets in Colonial Bengal (2002); An Illustrated History of Indian Literature in English, ed. by Arvind Krishna Mehrotraand (2003); and Shrinivas Aravamudan's Guru English (2006). Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. J. C. Eustace Acadia University

Table of Contents

Sir William Jones and Sir John Horsfbrd and Anna MariaEmma RobertsKasiprasad Ghosh and Michael Madhusudan Dutt and Mary CarshoreToru DuttManmohan Ghose and Sarojini Naidu and Rabindranath Tagore
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
A Note on Namesp. xv
Introductionp. 1
Part I Languages, Tropes, and Landscape in the Beginnings of English Language Poetry
1 Contact Poetics in Eighteenth-Century Calcuttap. 17
2 Bards and Sybils: Landscape, Gender, and the Culture of Dispute in the Poems of H. L. V. Deroziop. 63
Part II The Institutions of Colonial Mimesis, 1830-57
3 Books, Reading, and the Profession of Letters: David Lester Richardson and the Construction of a British Canon in Indiap. 101
4 Sighing, or Not, for Albionp. 137
Part III Nationalisms, Religion, and Aestheticism in the Late Nineteenth Century
5 From Christian Piety to Cosmopolitan Nationalisms: The Dutt Family Album and the Poems of Mary E. Lesliep. 184
6 Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and Aestheticism in Fin-de-Siée Londonp. 227
Epiloguep. 268
Notesp. 281
Bibliographyp. 309
Indexp. 325