Once upon a time in India


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A French novel published in 1867 has been translated in English for the first time. Today’s needull is a book review of the same. Captain Corcoran and his adventures in India around 1857. Interesting thing is that the writer never visited India. In this age of internet, where you can get all information you want sitting on your chair, I can’t imagine how the writer would have done his research in 1860s.

On this note of broad comedy, and with promises of dangers to come, begins Alfred Assollant’s novel Aventures merveilleuses mais authentiques du Capitaine Corcoran, which was first published in France in 1867 and has only now been translated into English for the first time, under the title Once Upon a Time in India: The Marvellous Adventures of Captain Corcoran. The translator, the journalist-writer Sam Miller, suggests that the reason an English version was never published, despite the book’s popularity for decades in Europe, was its “overt Anglophobia”. This seems plausible enough. Corcoran, a dashing but quirky hero, enjoys taunting the British, and he gets plenty of opportunity to do so here, given that the narrative is set during a very delicate period – on the cusp of the 1857 War of Independence (or, from the British perspective, the Sepoy Mutiny).

The complete book review

Scroll – Jai Arjun Singh

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