Skip to main content
Back to Results
Cover image of From Little London to Little Bengal
Cover image of From Little London to Little Bengal
Share this Title:

From Little London to Little Bengal

Religion, Print, and Modernity in Early British India, 1793–1835

Daniel E. White

Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy

How literary and religious traffic between Bengal and Britain in the late 18th and early 19th centuries impelled a complex and contested cosmopolitan imperial culture.

From Little London to Little Bengal traces the traffic in culture between Britain and India during the Romantic period. To some, Calcutta appeared to be a "Little London," while in London itself an Indianized community of returned expatriates was emerging as "Little Bengal." Circling between the two, this study reads British and Indian literary, religious, and historical sources alongside newspapers, panoramas, religious…

How literary and religious traffic between Bengal and Britain in the late 18th and early 19th centuries impelled a complex and contested cosmopolitan imperial culture.

From Little London to Little Bengal traces the traffic in culture between Britain and India during the Romantic period. To some, Calcutta appeared to be a "Little London," while in London itself an Indianized community of returned expatriates was emerging as "Little Bengal." Circling between the two, this study reads British and Indian literary, religious, and historical sources alongside newspapers, panoramas, religious festivals, idols, and museum exhibitions. Together and apart, Britons and Bengalis waged a transcultural agon under the dynamic conditions of early nineteenth-century imperialism, struggling to claim cosmopolitan perspectives and, in the process, to define modernity.

Daniel E. White shows how an ambivalent Protestant contact with Hindu devotion shaped understandings of the imperial mission for Britons and Indians during the period. Investigating global metaphors of circulation and mobility, communication and exchange, commerce and conquest, he follows the movements of people, ideas, books, art, and artifacts initiated by writers, publishers, educators, missionaries, travelers, and reformers. Along the way, he places luminaries like Romantic poet Robert Southey and Hindu reformer Rammohun Roy in dialogue with a fascinating array of lesser-known figures, from the Baptist missionaries of Serampore and the radical English journalist James Silk Buckingham to the mixed-race prodigy Henry Louis Vivian Derozio.

In concert and in conflict, these cultural emissaries and activists articulated national and cosmopolitan perspectives that were more than reactions on the part of marginal groups to the metropolitan center of power and culture. The British Empire in India involved recursive transactions between the global East and West, channeling cultural, political, and religious formations that were simultaneously distinct and shared, local, national, and transnational.

Jump to
Quick Add
From Little London to Little Bengal

Daniel E. White

Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy
Related

Related Books

Cover image of The Global Eighteenth Century
The Global Eighteenth Century

edited by Felicity A. Nussbaum

$31.00
Quick Add
The Global Eighteenth Century

edited by Felicity A. Nussbaum

Publication Date
Binding Type
Cover image of Sentimental Figures of Empire in Eighteenth-Century Britain and France
Sentimental Figures of Empire in Eighteenth-Century Britain and France

Lynn Festa

$62.00
Quick Add
Binding Type
Preorder
Cover image of A Centaur in London
A Centaur in London

Fabian Kraemer

$60.00
Quick Add
A Centaur in London

Fabian Kraemer

Publication Date: April 25, 2023
Binding Type
Preorder
Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture

edited by David A. Brewer and Crystal B. Lake

Volume
Volume 52
$50.00
Quick Add
Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture

edited by David A. Brewer and Crystal B. Lake

Volume
Volume 52
Publication Date: April 11, 2023
Binding Type
Preorder
Dorian Unbound

Sean O'Toole

$34.95
Quick Add
Dorian Unbound

Sean O'Toole

Publication Date: April 4, 2023
Binding Type
Reviews

Reviews

From Little London to Little Bengal is a paradigm of granular subtlety and one which is moreover very elegantly written.

An exemplary work of cultural geography, evoking not only a fine sense of specific spaces—neighborhoods, buildings—in both Calcutta and London, but also of the relationships between those spaces.

A valuable and articulate contribution to the field of new imperial history.

[F]ascinating and intricately argued... White's sophisticated and engaging work profits from a wealth of recent scholarship and theory.

A major contribution to studies of Romantic imperialism, White's book blazes a new trail, spectacularly depicting the transoceanic circuits and thick citational practices through which Indians and Britons—whether in 'Little London' in Bengal or 'Little Bengal' in London—negotiated their ways of being and knowing in an imperial matrix.

See All Reviews
About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
288
ISBN
9781421411651
Illustration Description
13 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

List of Figures
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
A Note on Usage
Introduction
1. "Little London": Imperial Publics, Imperial Spectacles
Indian Public Opinion and John Bullism of the Heart
The Panorama and the

List of Figures
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
A Note on Usage
Introduction
1. "Little London": Imperial Publics, Imperial Spectacles
Indian Public Opinion and John Bullism of the Heart
The Panorama and the Fabled Cap of Fortunatus
Inventing Tradition: Durga Puja, Idolatry, and Sympathy
2. Secret Sharers and Evangelical Signs: The Idol, the Book, and the Intense Objectivism of Robert Southey
Baptists, Print, and Idolatry
The Museum of the Bristol Baptist College and the Service of Idols
"Amenable to wooden gods": Evangelicalism, Idolatry, and The Curse of Kehama
3. "I would not have the day return": Henry Derozio and Rammohun Roy in Cosmopolitan Calcutta
East Indians and "Modern Hindoo Sects"
Rammohun Roy and Hindu Unitarianism
Derozio, Memory, Modernity
4. "Little Bengal": Returned Exiles, Rammohun Roy, and Imperial Sociability
Oriental Tales and Orient Pearls
Jaut Bhaees in Hanover Square: Returned Exiles and the Oriental Club
"The Rajah was there": Rammohun Roy and the Romance of Conversation
Epilogue
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Daniel E. White

Daniel E. White is an associate professor of British Romanticism in the Department of English at the University of Toronto, where he has directed the graduate collaborative program in Book History and Print Culture. He is author of Early Romanticism and Religious Dissent.