COLEBROOKE, Sir Henry Thomas (1765-1837)
A Grammar of the Sanscrit Language ... Volume 1 [all published]
Calcutta: Printed at The Honorable Company's Press, 1805. 4to. (9 5/8 x 7 1/2 inches). Printed in English and Sanskrit types. xxii, 369, , pp. 4pp. errata in rear.
Period cloth-backed paper boards, rebacked with leather, spine lettered in gilt
Provenance: College of Fort William (period inscription on verso of title)
"The first European work to be based on the indigenous linguistic tradition" (ODNB).
Colebrooke, a noted Orientalist, first arrived in India in 1782. After several government posts and a diplomatic mission, he devoted himself to the study of Sanskrit and was appointed an honorary professor of Hindu law and Sanskrit at Calcutta's new Fort William College in 1801. Interestingly, the present volume was at one time part of the library of that institution. "[His] principal work ... was his Sanskrit Grammar. Though it was never finished it will always keep its place, like a classical torso, more admired in its unfinished state than other works which stand by its side finished, yet less perfect" (Thomas E. Colebrook, The Life of Henry Thomas Colebrook, London: 1872). "Colebrooke's volume stands as a monument marking the beginning of the study of traditional Sanskrit linguistics (vyakarana) by non-Indians, and in due course that study was to bring vyakarana into the global development of linguistics" (ODNB).