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Why have a resource relating to French-language books on India?
In addition to the number of books it assembles (more than 1300 titles), the specific focus of this resource is justified both by the longevity of the trading presence of the French state in India (from 1667 to 1954) and by the global importance of present-day India and France, major nations with plural cultures achieving global reach. France had a presence in India for centuries but did not colonize it (although Dupleix would have happily done so in the mid-eighteenth century) and showing how France and India understood each other over time in the light of this presence without colonization provides an interesting lesson in world history.


Who funded French Books on India?
The initial data capture, archival, formatting, and layout work was kindly funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as part of a major award on ‘Representations of India in French Literature and Culture 1750 to 1962’. In 2011 it went online as a single .pdf downloadable from a University of Liverpool server. All the digital development since 2011 has been achieved by a committed and growing group of volunteers.

What basic criteria have been used for including a work in the resource?
The introduction in the 2011 paper version of French Books on India (accessible here) addresses in full the issue of the parameters used for the inclusion of a particular book, but, in essence, the resource includes two types of printed documents. First, books originally published in French during the period between 1531 and 1954 (when France ceded her sovereignty of the last four trading posts of Pondicherry, Karikal, Mahé and Yanam to the Union of Indian States). Second, the resource also contains those books published between 1954 and 2016 and beyond which refer substantially to the period between 1754 and 1954. This is the ‘dates of representation’ principle.

What is the advantage of arranging the entries in chronological order?
In addition to well-known works such as Raynal’s Histoire philosophique et politique des établissemens et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes (1770), Verne’s Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (1873), Loti’s L’Inde (sans les Anglais) (1903) and Lapierre’s La Cité de la joie (1985), this resource brings to the attention of the public a great deal of material which has not been written about or even widely read before. One of the aims of the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) research project, in the context of which the resource was produced, was to demonstrate the changes in French-language representations of India throughout the period from the mid-sixteenth century to the present day. The chronological organization of the resource has therefore been dictated by the need to account for these many and varied phases in cultural contact between India and France.

Does the resource include books published in French outside France?
Yes. There are texts published in Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland, as well as in Mauritius. There are a few texts published in Canada, but for texts on India published in Canada, the compilers refer readers to L’Extrême-Orient dans la littérature au Québec by Janusz Przychodzen, Serge Granger, Vijayalakshmi Rao and Kokou Vincent Simedoh. In the eighteenth century, many books which could not be published in France for reasons of censorship and were instead printed in London, Amsterdam or The Hague.

Is there a hardcopy of the resource available?
Yes. A paper version of the resource as it was in 2011 has been published by University of Glasgow French and German Publications, and is available here. The full reference to this edition is: FRANCOIS-DENEVE, Corinne, Mircea ITU, Ian MAGEDERA, French Books on India: From Dupleix to Decolonization (Glasgow: University of Glasgow French & German Publications, 2011). ISBN 9780852619223.

Why do some of the entries refer to books in English or to those which refer to the period from 1954 to the present day?
The vast majority of the entries are books in French which are substantially about India published between 1531 and 1954, and also books published after that date which refer to this period. These books were first published in French. However, there are a few entries referring to books which go beyond these parameters and include, most significantly, translations into French of texts first written in Indian languages, the work of French Indologists  and a selection of the most important French texts published after 1954 which refer to the period from 1954 to the present day. These were included because of their importance.

Why do a few items appear twice?
If a book has been reprinted, both the first edition and the most accessible and the most reliable scholarly reprint are included in the resource.

How often will the resource be updated?
The online version of the resource is to be updated on a monthly basis, as applicable.

Why aren’t all the entries annotated?
Over fifty of the most significant texts on India have been annotated in English and French. If you would like to contribute an annotation on a text which is not currently in the resource, please click here. The current goal is to annotate the most significant one hundred texts.

How did you decide which texts to annotate?
In Summer 2010 a group of academics were invited by the project team to consult a prototype version of the resource and to present their selection of the most significant texts on India. These scholars, from France, the UK, US, Canada, and India, then submitted annotations to the project team which were then standardized, collected, and uploaded.

Can I contribute an annotation of my own to French Books on India?
Yes, the goal is to transform our users into contributors. If you wish to provide additional annotations for this resource, please contact the compilers first, giving the title of the work you propose to annotate. The compilers can then advise you whether or not an annotation is currently being written and arrange for online submission.

What are the elements that need to be covered in an annotation for this resource?
Annotations must be approximately one hundred words in length in either French or English (but preferably in both languages). They should summarize the significance of the book as a key text in French-language representations of India and contain brief remarks on the work’s genre and thematic coverage (for example: colonial loss, nostalgia, utopias, republicanism, Louis XV and particularly whether it contains any representations of British colonialisms). Any intertexts or examples of outright plagiarism should be noted, as should any significant events in the book’s publication history such as reprints or translations.

How do I notify the project team of an error or omission in the e-resource?
We welcome all suggestions which can improve this resource for all. Please contact the team via the “contact us” page.

Which style sheet was used in the preparation of French Books on India?
The resource’ was produced according to the Style Guide of the Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA), albeit with several modifications to make it easy to read on screen. The style guide can be downloaded via the relevant link here.

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