ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The French East India Company at Home and Abroad

Commerce, Conversion and Scandal in French India: A Colonial Affair by Danna Agmon, New Delhi: Speaking Tiger Publishing, 2017; pp 238, 950.

French Scholars and the Preoccupation with India in the Nineteenth Century by Jyoti Mohan, New Delhi: Sage India,Yoda Press, 2018; pp 392, 995.

It is surely a coincidence to find two books published almost simultaneously on the exploits of the French in India and their reverberations in France, and a delight to be asked to review them. The authors of both books, Danna Agmon and Jyoti Mohan, are based in the United States (US). Are these two publications a sign that French colonial history is staging a comeback and is once again on the American academic agenda?

Although both books under review, Commerce, Conversion and Scandal in French India: A Colonial Affair, and French Scholars and the Preoccupation with India in the Nineteenth Century, deal with the French in India and similar notions of imperial power and authoritarian pageantry run through their volumes, their contents as well as the authors’ approaches are quite dissimilar. Moreover, the time span covered is different. The first book privileges the early 18th century when France was an ascending power on the Coromandel coast of peninsular India; in the second, the 19th century, when the French were finished off in India as an imperial power, is focal.

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Updated On : 24th Nov, 2019

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