Dr Claire Gallien lectures at the English Department of the University Paul Valéry Montpellier 3 and is member of the CNRS . She works on 17th-18th century orientalism, as well as contemporary Arab literatures in English and in translation. Her first book, L’Orient Anglais (Oxford, 2011), deals with the interactions between popular and scholarly cultures of the East in 18th century England.
From one empire to the next: The reconfigurations of “Indian” literatures from Persian to English translations
This article focuses on the first translations of Sanskrit literature into English in the late eighteenth century and how they can be contrasted with pre-existing cultures of translation in India, and in particular with Mughal precedents. Following a brief survey of Sanskrit and Persian theories of translation, the article oﬀers a study of British reconfigurations of Indian literatures in translation and highlights British orientalists’ tendencies to either disavow or reject their reliance on Indian literature in Persian..This move towards absenting Indo-Persian precedents and presenting English translations as new, essentially distinct, and superior created a symbolic space where English could challenge and replace a Persian culture of translation, projecting British colonial rule as the new dominant force dislodging the Mughals in India.