The Influence of Indian Philosophy on French Romanticism
Keywords:Influence, Philosophy, Rationalism, Romanticism, Orientalism
France’s connection to India dates back to the seventeenth century when the French came to establish trading relations with India and neighboring countries. Even in the heydays of Enlightenment, France, the champion and cradle of Reason and Rationality in Europe, was looking for an alternative and philosophers like Rousseau, Diderot and Voltaire looked towards India as a source of inspiration. That tradition was continued by the French Romantics who were even more influenced and inspired by Indian philosophy and wanted to change the course of French literature with the help of it. This paper aims to explore literary transactions between India and France culminating in the movement called Romanticism in French literature. The paper shall trace the trajectory of how Indian philosophy and thought traveled to Europe in the form of texts and influenced the works of the French from Voltaire in the eighteenth century to Jules Bois in the twentieth. The central argument of this diachronic study, based on the theory of influence, is to prove how significant the role of India and her literary/religious texts have been in the context of the Romantic Movement in French literature in the nineteenth century.
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