The Works of Sir William Jones
A renowned Enlightenment polymath, Sir William Jones (1746–94) was a lawyer, translator and poet who wrote authoritatively on politics, comparative linguistics and oriental literature. Known initially for his Persian translations and political radicalism, Jones became further celebrated for his study and translation of ancient Sanskrit texts following his appointment to the supreme court in Calcutta in 1783. He spent the next eleven years introducing Europe to the mysticism and rationality of Hinduism through works such as his translation of the Sanskrit classic Sacontalá. Volume 13 of his thirteen-volume works, published in 1807, contains Jones' most critical engagements with Hinduism, including his translations of the Sanskrit Hitópadésa (Aesop-like fables of Hindu mythology) and sacred religious texts such as the Isa Upanishad. The volume also contains Jones' nine original 'Hymns' to Hindu deities, poems based on Hindu philosophy that influenced Romantics such as William Blake, Robert Southey and Percy Bysshe Shelley.