Area Studies: India

A vital resource for the study of Empire, the government of British India, and the history, culture and literature of the Indian subcontinent from 1712-1942.

This area study consists following collections,

  • Colonial Discourses: Series Three: Colonial fiction, 1712-1933
  • Curzon, India and Empire: The papers of Lord Curzon (1859-1925) from the British Library, London
  • The Empire Writes Back: Part One: Indian views on Britain and Empire, 1810-1915, from the British Library, London
  • India During the Raj: Eyewitness Accounts: Diaries and related records describing life in India, 1712-1925
  • India in the Age of Empire: The Journals of Michael Pakenham Edgeworth (1812-1881) from the Bodleian Library, Oxford
  • Indian Newspaper Reports, c. 1868-1942

Modules include

Module Summary Date
Colonial Discourses: Series 3

Colonial fiction, 1712-1933

One of the greatest problems facing courses in colonial and post-colonial literature is the scarcity of source materials. The digitisation of this collection of prose fiction, poetry, drama and general non-fiction from India, 1712 to 1933, sourced from the British Library, London, seeks to remedy that problem. Particular attention has been paid to works by women, and there is an especially rich collection of fiction and narratives describing the Rebellion of 1857, from both British and Indian writers.

Curzon, India and Empire

The papers of Lord Curzon (1859-1925) from the British Library, London

This is the demi-official correspondence of George Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston (1859-1925), Viceroy of India 1898-1905 and British Foreign Secretary 1919-1924, from the British Library (MS. EUR F111 & F112). The letters document all aspects of his involvement with the Middle East and South Asia and provide a rich source for historians of Empire. The material is a crucial source for understanding the relationship between Britain and India.

The Empire Writes Back: Part One

Indian views on Britain and Empire, 1810-1915, from the British Library, London

This collection makes available a set of rare volumes, mainly printed in India, describing the experiences of Indians who travelled to Britain, France and America between 1810 and 1915.

Extensive content on the Indian experience of Empire, good and bad; poverty and opulence in London; treatments of different ethnic groups; life at the universities; medical training; manufacturing industries and shipbuilding; the British stage, and particularly perceptions of its immorality; the role of women in British society; and comparisons between London and Paris.

India during the Raj: Eyewitness Accounts

Diaries and related records describing life in India, 1712-1925

This collection consists of 186 diaries and related records describing life in India, from 1712 to 1925, held by the European Manuscripts Section of the Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections at the British Library, London. Rich in sociological and historical detail, these sources are invaluable to historians, socialists, military experts and gender historians and all those studying the culture, literature and history of the Raj.

India in the Age of Empire

The journals of Michael Pakenham Edgeworth (1812-1881) from the Bodleian Library, Oxford

This collection consists of the complete, illustrated 8,000-page diary of Michael Pakenham Edgeworth (1812-1881) from 1828, just prior to his journey to India, to 1867.

He served as a member of the Indian Civil Service from 1831 to 1881, from Madras to Lahore; travelling widely during his time in India, he had a keen interest in topography, antiquities, language and customs. His diary charts the expansion of British territorial influence in India and contains material of political and cultural interest.

Indian Newspaper Reports

These printed reports consist of precis and extracts of articles from hundreds of Indian-language titles and English titles published by Indians, complied for and published by the Indian government. All volumes are indexed.


Key data

Period covered


Source archives

  • Bodleian Library, Oxford
  • British Library, London
  • Colonial and post-colonial literature
  • The British Raj
  • Empire and colonialism
  • Cultural and social history of India
  • Rare books
  • Travel writing
  • Personal and official papers
  • Newspaper reports
  • Diaries and journals
  • Correspondence
  • Business and Economics
  • Great Britain, Republic of Ireland and Northern Irish Studies
  • South Asian Studies

You may also be interested in