Reading against the grain: translation of India in eighteenth and nineteenth Century French travel accounts
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The majority of research on colonial India, including research in Translation Studies, tends to approach it as an Anglophone space. The history of Indo-French encounter in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries has so far been left out of mainstream discourses. This thesis addresses that neglect through an analysis of the role of language and translation in the accounts of three francophone travellers who visited the subcontinent between the 1750s and 1830s. Based on the premise of both travel and translation being integral to the construction of the foreign, it presents a context-specific re (reading) of the accounts to identify contexts and voices that challenge the largely homogenous perception of early colonial India. The possibility of uncovering heterogeneity in colonial discourses is explored through the twin themes of convergence and divergence-of contexts, ideologies, interests and contingencies. What emerges is that the similarities and differences between French and British representations in the period under discussion needs a nuanced understanding-one that can be achieved by seeing heterogeneity within instances of apparent conformity or resistance.