India Discovered: The Recovery of a Lost Civilization

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9780007123001: India Discovered: The Recovery of a Lost Civilization

Two hundred years ago, India was seen as a place with little history and less culture.Today it is revered for a notable prehistory, a magnificent classical age and a cultural tradition unique in both character and continuity. How this extraordinary change in perception came about is the subject of this fascinating book.The story, here reconstructed for the first time, is one of painstaking scholarship primed by a succession of sensational discoveries. The excitement of unearthing a city twice as old as Rome, the realization that the Buddha was not a god but a historical figure, the glories of a literature as rich as anything known in Europe, the drama of encountering a veritable Sistine chapel deep in the jungle, and the sheer delight of categorizing `the most glorious galaxy of monuments in the world' fell, for the most part, to men who were officials of the British Raj. Their response to the unfamiliar - the explicitly sexual statuary, the incomprehensible scripts, the enigmatic architecture - and the revelations which resulted, revolutionized ideas not just about India but about civilization as a white man's prerogative.A companion volume by the author of the highly praised India: A History and The Great Arc.

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About the Author:

John Keay is the author of five acclaimed histories: 'The Honourable Company,' about the East India Company; 'Last Post', about the imperial disengagement of the Far East; the two-volume 'Explorers of the Western Himalayas', 'India: A History' and `China: A History'. His books on India include 'India Discovered', 'Into India' and 'The Great Arc: The Dramatic Tale of How India was Mapped and Everest was Named'. John Keay is married with four children, lives in Scotland and is co-editor with his wife, Julia Keay, of the 'Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland'.

Review:

`A gripping, erudite and witty study of the European discovery of India's ancient past. The first book I ever read on India, and still one of my favourites.'William Dalrymple`Exact scholarship, plus clear, strong writing, with glints of humour on every page ... This book will greatly reinforce Mr Keay's reputation as the best of the post-Raj interpreters of India for English-speakers.'Dervla Murphy, The Irish Times

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