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Bibliotheca Malabarica



Will Sweetman

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1Research for this work was made possible by support from a number of agencies. I thank the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for a fellowship in 2003–2004, during which I began work on the Halle and Copenhagen manuscripts of the Bibliotheca Malabarica. A grant from the University of Otago enabled the archival research carried out by R. Ilakkuvan in Tamil Nadu in 2006. I am grateful to the Division of Humanities, University of Otago, for sabbatical leave for work in India and Europe in 2007 and 2010, and for two smaller grants in 2005 and 2007. Work on the Sloane manuscript in the British Library was carried out during tenure of a Smuts Visiting Fellowship at Wolfson College, Cambridge, in 2009–2010.

2If this work has taken rather longer to appear than was first suggested in some of my promises to the bodies listed above, that has at least allowed me to benefit from the advice and assistance of a number of scholars who have given freely of their time and expertise. Under Dominic Goodall, the Pondicherry Centre of the École française d’Extrême-Orient became a happy home from home for many scholars from India and abroad, and was the base for much of the research reported here. Whenever I felt this project might be nearing completion, reading Dominic’s introduction to his edition of the Parākhyatantra inspired me to aim higher. I am grateful also to M. Kannan at the Institut Français de Pondichéry for his advice and encouragement over several years. The work of Eva Wilden and Charlotte Schmid in organising a series of Classical Tamil seminars has been enormously helpful for many who would otherwise have little or no opportunity to engage with the language in a formal manner. I am grateful to them and to all those who took part in the seminars in 2005 and 2006. I thank also Valérie Gillet and Y. Subbarayalu for accepting this work for publication in the Collection Indologie.

3Indira Viswanathan Peterson, A. R. Venkatachalapathy, François Gros, Eva Wilden, and V. Rajesh read and commented on draft versions of the text and I express my gratitude to them all for their suggested improvements while acknowledging sole responsibility for all the remaining shortcomings. Chalapathy and Esther Fihl invited me to present my ideas on Ziegenbalg’s library at a symposium in Copenhagen organised in connection with the National Museum of Denmark’s Tranquebar Initiative and I am grateful to them and to the other participants for the stimulation and suggestions they provided. I am grateful also to the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and to its President, Gordon Johnson, for inviting me to address a meeting of the Society in 2009. Michael Bergunder and Gita Dharampal-Frick were instrumental in obtaining support for this project in its earliest stages, and I remain grateful to them for their continued support and encouragement. I thank Somdev Vasudeva for advice and assistance with the font in which the text is set. Deane Galbraith and Valérie Gillet checked the proofs meticulously and suggested a number of improvements.

4My thanks to the following libraries and archives for allowing access to their holdings: the archive and library of the Francke Foundations in Halle; the Royal Library, Copenhagen; the British Library; the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library, Chennai; the National Library of France; Cambridge University Library; the French Institute of Pondicherry; the Sarasvati Mahal Library, Thanjavur; Tamil University, Thanjavur. I am grateful to Dr Britta Klosterberg, of the Archive of the Francke Foundation in Halle, for permission to reproduce the title page of the Halle manuscript of the Bibliotheca Malabarica (AFSt/M 2 C 1).

5Andreas Gross and his family made my many stopovers in Chennai vastly more pleasant than they would otherwise have been. In Chennai, Pondicherry, and New Zealand I have been fortunate to have Rick Weiss as a companion and collaborator, and hope that I may long remain the dakṣina-Rick.

6My greatest debts remain to be acknowledged. Alex and Artie have brought more joy into my life than I could ever have imagined, and have been poorly repaid by having to hear more of Ziegenbalg than anyone has a right to expect. R. Ilakkuvan, a scholar to his bones, is also a true devotee of Tamil, and this work would not remotely have been possible without his diligent archival research and patient guidance. Karti Chidambaram, a friend for almost two decades now, has been a generous host since my very first visit to India and also sponsored the doctoral research of R. Ilakkuvan at a period when other support was not forthcoming. This work is dedicated to him in token of our joint appreciation.


© Institut Français de Pondichéry, 2012

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