Charles D’Oyly’s Lost Satire of British India: Tom Raw, the Griffin, 1828
This book brings to light an extraordinary satiric epic on Britain’s empire, one suppressed right after its publication in 1828. Tom Raw, the Griffin, written and illustrated by the Romantic artist Charles D’Oyly, is vital, engaging, morally earnest, and trenchant in its critique—and wickedly funny in its observations and depictions of British India. Known in art circles for his Indian landscapes, D’Oyly was born in Bengal; he returned there from England at age 16 to serve in increasingly titular posts in the occupying government; by 1818, he was a full-time artist in Patna. In his story of a young English cadet serving his country in India, D’Oyly writes and draws as an outsider to Britain’s imperial project abroad—but with the knowledge of an insider. His epic poem traces the political and cultural fault lines of Britain’s nascent empire. Like Lord Byron’s Don Juan (1819-24), Tom Raw is exuberantly comic and terrifyingly serious in its prescience on the prospects of nineteenth-century Britain and future world empires. Tom Raw has a real, original place in the literature, art and culture of its age, and is a key entity in the study of global Romanticism.
Hermione de Almeida is the co-author of Indian Renaissance: British Romantic Art and the Prospect of India (2006; 2016), winner of the Historians of British Art 2007 Book Prize. She is also the author of Romantic Medicine and John Keats (1991) and Byron and Joyce through Homer: ‘Don Juan’ and ‘Ulysses’ (1981), and editor of essay collections on John Keats (1990), Romantic science (2004), and Romantic culture (Nature, Politics, and the Arts, 2015). She received her doctorate from Columbia University and is a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, and the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.
George H. Gilpin is the co-author of Indian Renaissance: British Romantic Art and the Prospect of India (2006; 2016), winner of the Historians of British Art 2007 Book Prize. He is also the author of The Art of Contemporary English Culture (1991), “1898-1945: Hardy to Auden” in The Columbia History of British Poetry (1993), “Patricia Avis and Philip Larkin” in Philip Larkin: New Larkins for Old (1999), and “Thomas Cole and the Wild American Sublime” in Nature, Politics, and the Arts (2015). He has edited Critical Essays on William Wordsworth (1990). With Hermione de Almeida, he edited the 1963 novel by Patricia Avis, Playing the Harlot; or, Mostly Coffee (1996). He received his doctorate from Rice University, USA, and, as Provost of the University of Tulsa, spearheaded the acquisition of the manuscript archives of V. S. Naipaul, Richard Murphy, and other writers.
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