Through the emotional glasses

European travelers who visited India in the early modern period were particularly interested in exotic and unseen curiosities the country was famous for. As a consequence, the emergence of an “orientalist” image of India is one key interest of modern historical research on the East-West encounter. While the riches of the country and of its elite have always been part of this discussion, there are no studies available which focus on the European perception of the living conditions in pre-modern India. Despite their broad variety in style, content and intention, the accounts seem to share one common feature in this regard: India is presented as a country of extremes, determined by both unimaginable wealth and grim poverty. Thomas Ertl tries to establish whether and/or how the European observers were emotionally engaged when addressing the issue of this disparity in Indian. Additionally, he is interested in the question how the discussion about living conditions in India is related to the travelers’ perception of their European countries of origin. (Text: T. E.)


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