The beginnings of Tibetan studies: Denison Ross and Alexander Csoma de Kőrös

This is an article of mine that has just come out:

Imre Galambos. “‘Touched a nation’s heart’: Sir E. Denison Ross and Alexander Csoma de Kőrös.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Volume 21, No. 3 (July 2011): 361-375.

Read full text here: Csoma de Kőrös.

The papers of Sir Edward Denison Ross (1871–1940) at the Archives of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) include a series of letters from Hungary, which thank him for his contribution in bringing the world’s attention to Alexander Csoma de Kőrös (1784–1842). Some of these letters were produced collectively by learned societies and signed by dozens of male and female members, but many were also written by ordinary people expressing their admiration for Csoma, the scholar who had walked most of the way from Transylvania to India in search of the roots of the Hungarian language and people. This lively response was a result of a lecture that Ross delivered on 5 January 1910 at the Asiatic Society of Bengal in Calcutta which became a sensation in Hungary in a matter of weeks. This article therefore looks at the phenomenon of how Ross’s purely academic research, to use Albert von Le Coq’s words, “touched a nation’s heart” and earned him a celebrity status in Csoma’s homeland. It is particularly interesting to uncover the motives behind this great publicity and show how it was orchestrated by two young Hungarians in Calcutta for not entirely unselfish purposes.

Read full text here: Csoma de Kőrös.

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