Tod as an observer of landscape in Rajasthan and Gujarat
in Knowledge, mediation and empire
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Based on the "Personal Narrative" or travel journal sections of Tod’s two major published works, this first chapter compares Tod’s depiction of landscape scenes with the ways in which Tod’s contemporaries Francis Buchanan Hamilton and Bishop Reginald Heber deal with landscape in their respective travel accounts. This leads to an understanding of the specificity of Tod’s overlapping use of existing aesthetic categories (the sublime, the picturesque and attention to light effects), and ideological frameworks (comparisons with well-known European landscape scenes and monuments, the concept of remoteness to evoke imposing size and grandeur, acknowledgement of the superiority of ancient structures, an avoidance of feminising, inferiorising descriptions of oriental landscapes, and a preference for an 18th century civic humanism that viewed all human communities as variations of a common humanity over the later 19th-century hierarchisation of cultures). Thus, Tod’s textual portrayals of landscape scenes in Rajasthan and Gujarat can be seen as attempts to make accessible to his European readers those aspects of the Rajput and Gujarati landscapes that struck him the most.

Knowledge, mediation and empire

James Tod’s journeys among the Rajputs




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