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Rocher, Rosane
A shunned Indologist
Ludwig Poley (1805–1885)
volume: 130
pages/dimensions: XII, 110 pages
language: English
binding: Book (Paperback)
dimensions: 14.50 × 22.00 cm
weight: 195g
publishing date: 22.02.2023
prices: 36,00 Eur[D] / 37,10 Eur[A]
ISBN: 978-3-447-11989-4
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Rosane Rocher describes the not always happy and exemplary, but fascinating life of Ludwig Poley (1805–1885), which contrasts with biographies usually reserved for illustrious scholars. The book explores the challenges that a nineteenth-century German Indologist could face, reveals his strategies for overcoming them, and his character flaws that made him both rejected by his peers and accepted in literary salons. As an illegitimate child, Poley depended on scholarships. He published in Berlin an edition and Latin translation of a Sanskrit text, which he did not submit at the University. Yet, he later claimed it to have been his doctoral dissertation. As Louis Poley, he made a name for himself in Paris as a brilliant young protagonist of the Oriental Renaissance, and he published editions and French translations of some Upanishads. He was a respected employee at the Prussian Embassy in London until he was abruptly dismissed for his involvement in a scandal. Years of wandering through Europe without academic employment followed. A transnational and multilingual scholar, he contributed to the introduction of English and German into the French secondary school curriculum. Only in the last two decades of his life did he teach at a university. He was both a private lecturer in Indian culture and antiquities and a teacher of French language and literature at the University of Vienna and at other academic institutions. Poley's last publication on the Vedāntasāra, published by the Austrian Academy of Sciences, was a final expression of his lifelong commitment to the exploration of Vedānta.