Specialist Subjects: Romanticism, representations of colonial India, eighteenth-century Bluestocking Circles
Michael Franklin was a medievalist in a former life by the muddy banks of the Ouse, but he now lingers by the perfumed Yamuna.
Since editing Sir William Jones: Selected Poetical and Prose Works (1995) and writing the critical biography Sir William Jones (1995), he has been investigating colonial representations of India and their various interfaces with Romanticism, He has edited Representing India: Indian Culture and Imperial Control (2000), and The European Discovery of India: Key Indological Sources of Romanticism 6 vols (2001):
and authored a series of articles on the Hastings circle which forms the current focus of his research. He also published the well-received Romantic Representations of British India, ed. Michael J. Franklin, (London: Routledge, 2006); and Phebe Gibbes, Hartly House, Calcutta, ed. Michael J. Franklin (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007).
At the invitation of Professor Malabika Sarkar he gave plenary lectures at the Annual International Conference on Romanticism at Jadavpur University in Kolkata. Following this and at the invitation of Professor Surya Pandey, he gave plenary lectures at a conference at the Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi in February 2006.
He was accorded the honour of being invited by Professor Ashok Bhattacharyya to address The Asiatic Society in Calcutta on 2 February 2006 on the subject of Sir William Jones and pluralism. This paper has been published as ‘Pluralism Celebrated and Desecrated: A Mughal and British Imperial ‘Romantic’ Legacy’, The Journal of the Asiatic Society, 48: 2 (2006), 69-90.
Apart from continuing to bang on about Jones, he has written a bewildering variety of articles on subjects as diverse as the Celtic Revival, the Oriental Renaissance, ‘Indianism’, Phoenicianism, Piozzi, Gagnier, Gibbes, Britanus, Brutus and Iolo, the brahmachari and the missionary, hand-fasting, turdidae, and asses. He has been recently working on a major new critical biography of Sir William Jones, the foremost Orientalist of the eighteenth century and one of the greatest intellectual navigators of all time.
Orientalist Jones: Sir William Jones, Poet, Lawyer, and, Lawyer, 1746-1794(Oxford: OUP: 2011) has been nominated for the Louis Gottschalk Prize and for the MLA’s James Russell Lowell Prize 2012.
He is now turning his attention to a project entitled: ‘Pluralism and the Multicultural Heritage of Maurya and Mughal India: the contribution of Warren Hastings’ Orientalist Regime’ which investigates the literary, political and religio-cultural aspects of Hastings’s government. Hastings, Governor and Governor–General of Bengal 1772-85, was genuinely fascinated by Hindu and Indo-Persian culture. He encouraged Charles Wilkins to translate the ‘sublime’ Bhagvat-Geeta (1785); patronized Indo-Persian poets and artists; sang Hindi songs; established a Calcutta Madrasah; and composed an Oriental tale from a Mahabharata source. For Hastings the mystical aspects of both Hindu mysticism and of Islamic Sufism encouraged a subcontinental tradition of respect for all religions. Muslims frequently attended Hindu religious festivals and Hindus revered Sufi saints. Such tolerance was politically useful; it facilitated multicultural governance.
Hastings’s government of ‘British’ Indiaand his patronage of Sanskrit and Indo-Persian texts was the theme of a most successful conference entitled ‘Indian Pluralism and Hastings’s Orientalist Regime’ held in Gregynog on 18-20 July 2012. Plenary speakers included Dr Natasha Eaton (King’s College, London); William Dalrymple; Professor Carl Ernst (North Carolina), Professor P. J. Marshall (King’s College, London), Professor Daniel White (Toronto). A publication is planned and articles of ca. 7K words from any scholars working on the Hastings circle who were unable to attend are welcomed for consideration and peer review. They should be sent, via the æther if possible, to Michael J. Franklin, English Department, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP firstname.lastname@example.org
In Swansea he has taught Sophocles, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Romantic Orientalism, and Hardy at undergraduate level; Welsh Writing in English in both undergraduate and postgraduate modules; and medieval lyric, and female-authored representations of India in postgraduate modules.
Mike would be pleased to welcome any research students keen to investigate the interfaces between Romanticism and empire.