On: William Jones

With his poems, Consisting Chiefly of Translations from the Asiatick Languages (1772), Jones provided an influential mixture of his own poetry inspired by the wave of up and coming Orientalism. This created a new genre, if one could call it that, of Romantic Orientalism. As he was anxious to popularize his own writing on a cultural and social level, Jones delighted “to demonstrate a species of literature, which abounds with so many new expressions, new images, and new inventions.” . Personally, the way that Jones speaks of the Orient and non-English writers is a bit paternalistic, but I will give him the slightest of credit for valorizing the validity of non-Western art and writing. I don’t feel that these peoples need the validation of Romantic writers, but I understand the importance of acknowledging the influence they had on a thinker as prominent as Jones.

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