Zastoupil Publishes Book on Nineteenth-Century International Celebrity, Rammohun Roy
Lynn B. Zastoupil, the J.J. McComb Professor of History, has just published Rammohun Roy and the Making of Victorian Britain. The book analyzes how and why a colonial outsider, often known as “the father of modern India,” became a celebrity in British society in the early nineteenth century.
According to Zastoupil, Britain’s religious heterodoxy—particularly the influence of Christian Unitarianism—made it possible for reform-minded Britons to embrace the Indian leader, who had already gained fame in his home country for his extensive writings. In India, Rammohun Roy had deployed Unitarianism and the British satiric tradition to undermine colonial authority in Bengal. In Britain, advocates of liberty of the press, feminism, free trade, and constitutional reform welcomed his attempts to portray Britain as a laggard nation in the progress toward rational religion and political liberty. Scholars have already hailed the book as a significant contribution to the intellectual and cultural history of nineteenth-century Britain, as well as to our understanding of the transnational flow of ideas.
Zastoupil, who has just begun a second three-year term as the J.J. McComb Professor, is also the author of John Stuart Mill and India and co-editor of J.S. Mill’s Encounter with India and The Great Indian Education Debate.