Ungoverned Imaginings: James Mill's the History of British India and Orientalism

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This book re-examines British attitudes to India in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It places the emergence of utilitarianism in the context of these attitudes by focussing on James Mill's The History of British India (1817), and the work of Sir William Jones, Robert Southey, and Thomas Moore. In particular the study shows how the standard view of Mill's History does not do justice to the complexity of this text; Majeed argues that aesthetics played an important role in the formulation of Mill's utilitarian views, when he used British India as part of a much larger critique of British society itself. Mill's attempt to place thinking on these issues on a different footing illumines other scholars and poets whose writing on the Orient was an important part of the defining of their religious, social, and political views. Ungoverned Imaginings demonstrates how complex British attitudes to India were in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and how this might be explained in the light of domestic and imperial contexts.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A fresh look at James Mill and the idiom of utilitarianism that is also a wide-ranging intellectual history of his era....Recommended for graduate libraries."—Religious Studies Review

"Majeed's volume is distinguished by its independence from much of the current academic cant surrounding 28~entalism....The author has read deeply in both historical and literary sources. The author provides an important reading of an enlightenment mind functioning in the age of romantic sensibilities. In that regard this volume begins to open a new dimension to the intellectual world in which James Mill and his utilitarian generation functioned."—Albion

"A thought-provoking study of the importance of India for the development of James Mill's utilitarianism....This is an important book....It is well-argued, clearly written and deserves a wider readership than will be attracted by the somewhat restrictive title....We are in Majeed's debt. This is a stimulating study which adds considerably to debates about Mill and depictions of the Orient by the West."—Itilitasr

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198117865
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/28/1997
  • Series: Oxford English Monographs Series
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.63 (w) x 8.81 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Centre for South Asian Studies
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Sir William Jones 11
2 Robert Southey and the Oriental Renaissance 47
3 Thomas Moore and Orientalism 87
4 James Mill's The History of British India 123
5 Susceptible Imaginations 151
Conclusion: Mill's History as a 'Classic in the History of Philistinism' 195
Bibliography 201
Index 223
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