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Travel and Ethnology in the Renaissance
South India through European Eyes, 1250–1625

$142.00

Part of Past and Present Publications

  • Date Published: January 2001
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521770552

$142.00
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About the Authors
  • This book is a major contribution to the study of the encounter between Europeans and non-Europeans in the early modern period and to a neglected aspect of the cultural transformation of Europe throughout the Renaissance. Focusing on European travelers in India and their analysis of Hindu society, politics and religion, it also offers a detailed and systematic study of the variety of travel narratives describing South India from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries. In addition, the book proposes a novel approach to the study of European attitudes toward non-Europeans.

    • A massively-researched and genuinely pioneering account of the interaction between 'west' and 'east' during the period of the European Renaissance and beyond
    • Combines long-term interpretation of the Renaissance with attention to specific contexts of 'cultural encounter'
    • A wholly original contribution to the study of the Renaissance, which challenges simplistic interpretations of western 'orientalism'
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Travel and Ethnology in the Renaissance is a work of exceptional importance and far-reaching implications. It should be mandatory reading not only for scholars of comparative religion, but also for anyone interested in the dynamics of cross-cultural encounter, the historical analysis of travel literature, the historiography of medieval South India and Vijayanagara, or the intellectual history of Renaissance Europe--a broad audience indeed." History of Religions

    "...an accomplishment of stunning intellectual and scholarly proportions. It is unique in its effective conceptualization of a vast cultural terrain, its breathtaking comprehensiveness, and the sensitivity with which the ordinary, intelligent reader, alone makes the work something that will long command the field." John M. Headly, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    "...this book will be of interest to students of the origins of ethnography and anthropology. Cambridge University Press and the author deserve praise for producing a book with proper bottom-of-the-page footnotes, a full bibliography, and a fine index." Isis

    "...an important and intellectually ambitious book. It is a perceptive and innovative contribution to European cultural history on at least three levels. At the most general level it contributes to current debates about the way in which cultural history should be written. At a more specific level, it rewrites the history of travel and of knowledge of 'the other' in late medieval and early modern Europe. Finally it offers a case study in depth of western images of the south Indian kingdom of Vijayanagar." Peter Burke, University of Cambridge

    "...a work of great erudition and high quality. It is impressive both in the range and closeness of its reading of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century European accounts of south India, and in the analytical power with which they are discussed. This really does seem to me an important and original contribution to our understanding of the development of European perceptions of the non-European world." Sir John Elliott, University of Oxford

    "This is analytical scholarship of the highest order and a model of how literary evidence for cross-cultural encounters should be interpreted." Choice

    "a rich and detailed account of political and religious life in medieval South India." Journal of Interdisciplinary History

    "brilliant" Times Literary Supplement, Books of the Year

    "This is essential reading for Indologists, mission historians, cultural theorists, and those vexed by Orientalism." Religious Studies Review Jan 2002

    "An important reference source book...a significant contribution on the subject." Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2001
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521770552
    • length: 470 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 30 mm
    • weight: 0.86kg
    • contains: 12 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface
    1. The search for India: the empire of Vijayanagara through European eyes
    2. Marco Polo's India and the Latin Christian tradition
    3. Establishing lay science: the merchant and the humanist
    4. The Portuguese and Vijayanagara: politics, religion and classification
    5. The practice of ethnography: Indian customs and castes
    6. The social and political order: Vijayanagara decoded
    7. The historical dimension: from native traditions to European orientalism
    8. The missionary discovery of South Indian religion: opening the doors of idolatry
    9. From humanism to scepticism: the independent traveller in the seventeenth century
    10. Conclusion: before orientalism
    Appendix
    Bibliography.

  • Author

    Joan-Pau Rubiés, London School of Economics and Political Science

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