Alexander Csoma De Koros (2 Vols-Set)
P J Marczell, The Asiatic Society, 2007, 896 p, 2 Vols, maps, ills, Price : $60.00
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Alexander Csoma De Koros (2 Vols-Set)

Contents: Vol. I. Csoma Korosi's Planet: Foreword. Preface. Introduction. A short overview of Csoma's life and achievements. Acknowledgements. 1. William Moorcroft's ad hoc secretary. 2. William Moorcroft's pioneering memorandum. 3. Csoma Korosi's Zanskari guides in Tibetan learning. 4. Dr. Gerard's plan with Csoma for a pilgrimage. 5. Csoma Korosi's intervention between Hodgson and turnour. 6. Extracts from letters by Csoma Korosi published in his lifetime but omitted in his collected works. 7. Csoma, the librarian, and his lower Saxon background. 8. Pia Memoria : Alexander Csoma Korosi, Dr. Theodore Duka and Sir Aurel Stein. 9. Csoma Korosi's pseudonym. 10. Csoma Korosi : Himalayan hermit or nationalistic activist? 11. Bodhisattva Csoma Korosi : myth or reality? 12. The cult of Csoma and politics. Appendix: the most consequential agents in Csoma's cult, their background and effects on the hero's image. Bibliography. Addendum : The Tibetan MSS of the Malan bequest in the Bodleian Library and their relation to the life and works of Csoma Korosi. Index.

Vol. II. British-Indian Source Documents: Foreword. Introduction. I. Handwritten sources: 1. Records other than "political letters"/"despatches". 2. Correspondence between the government and the court of directors. II. Printed sources: 1. Extracts from proceedings of the ASB (1825 through 1831) from PTN III/I. 2. Extracts from proceedings of the ASB and other communications published in JASB. 3. Articles from other contemporary periodicals. 4. Short communications by contemporaries published in books. III. Lists of sources: 1. Lists of manuscript records other than policical letters and despatches. 2. List of policical letters and dispatches in chronological order. 3. Table of printed sources. 4. Overview of archival references. Index.

"Alexander Csoma de Koros, from Hungary, the pioneer of Tibetology in the first half of the 19 century, obtained worldwide fame due to his heroic efforts in producing, in Zanskar and Kinnaur in the Himalayas, his innovative Tibetan dictionary and grammar, and also for preparing later, in Calcutta, a concise review of the main body of Tibetan Buddhist literature. He was a character living in a special world. Writings about him provide incomplete and biased views because of their partisan spirit and insufficient basis in fact.

The discovery of many new documents, research in the field and enquiries in Hungary and Romania have enabled the author to throw new light in this volume on several important aspects of Csoma's personality, behaviour and activities. The first four papers cover the phases of the man's engagement in Tibetan learning, the following two deal with aspects of his stay near the Sikkim / Bhutan border and the other six papers discuss historical perspectives with special reference to sociological and political factors. The addendum presents a hitherto neglected but relevant archival bequest in England. They give a comprehensive view of the subject.

This underlying deficiency is remedied here through a documentation incorporating for the first time carefully established references, cross-references and circumstantial comments. Volume two contains the texts of all the handwritten records in English which the compiler was able to locate and read over the last fifteen years in relation to Csoma's stay in Ladakh and British India (1822-1842). In addition to this material, extracts are included from issues of the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (1832-1845) and from a few other contemporary printed sources." (jacket)

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