“Endued with a Natural Disposition to Resonance and Sympathy”: “Harmonious” Jones’s Intimate Reading and Cultural Translation of India

  • Michael J. Franklin
Part of the New Transculturalisms, 1400–1800 book series (NETRANS)


Sir William Jones’s “On the Musical Modes of the Hindus” resounds with the excitement of discovering a “pure and original musick […] not an imitation of nature but the voice of nature herself.” Blending Cicero’s thoughts upon harmony and the soul and the synaesthetic musical and poetic traditions of the Vedic goddess Sarasvatī, he explores the effects of harmonious sounds upon the human body, “the noblest and sweetest of musical instruments, endued with a natural disposition to resonance and sympathy.” The sympathetic relation between musician and instrument is mirrored in the relation between the music and the “sonorous body” of both performer and listener. This chapter attempts to investigate some of the ways in which Jones’s self resonates in reflexive affective experiences, including his profound commitments to political harmony and reconciliation, the poetry of politics, and the politics of poetry.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Franklin
    • 1
  1. 1.Swansea UniversitySwanseaWales, UK

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