BROWN, William Norman. Baltimore, Md. 24.6.1892 — Westchester PA. 22.4.1975. U.S. Indologist. Son of —> G. W. Brown, through his mother half-brother of —> J. C. Archer. At the age of eight he went to Central India with his missionary parents and returned five years later to school in Hiram, Ohio. Studied classical philology and Indology at Johns Hopkins (under Bloomfield like his father): A.B. 1912, Ph.D. 1916. In 1916-19 Harrison Research Fellow at University of Pennsylvania, 1919-22 Johnston Scholar at Johns Hopkins (1921-22 acting head of the Sanskrit Department). In 1923-24 Professor of English at the Prince of Wales College in Jammu, India. In 1924-26 editor of the Half Century Directory at Johns Hopkins, 1925-26 also Associate Professor of Sanskrit there. From 1926 Professor of Sanskrit at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia until his retirement in 1966. In 1936-47 chairman of Department of Oriental Studies, 1947-66 of the new South Asia Regional Studies Department. In 1943-49 curator of Indian Section in University Museum. From 1961 chairman of the new American Institute of Indian Studies. Retired in 1966. After childhood, again visited India in 1922-23 and 1928-29, again several times after WW II. Married 1921 Helen Harrison, one son and one daughter. Hon. Dr. of the universities of Madras 1957, Pennsylvania 1963, Michigan 1965, and Jadavpur 1970.
Brown was a many-sided Indologists, whose interests extended from Veda (interpretations of the Ṛgveda) to British India. He was specially interested in the birth and development of philosophical thinking, in devotional poetry, and, in early stage of his career, in narrative literature. He was also a known specialist of early miniature art of Western India, and gave some attention e.g. to manuscripts and to traditional games. He developed Indology at Penn from a Sanskrit chair into a large scale South Asian regional studies. Among his many students were E. Bender, Maurer, S. Mayeda, B. S. Miller, A. Ch. McDermott, Patterson, Poleman, D. Srinivasan, and Weiler.
Publications: Part of 1916 diss. publ. as “The Pañcatantra in Modern Indian Folklore”, JAOS 39, 1919, 1-54.
– “Vyāghramārī, or the Lady Tiger-killer: A Study of the Motif of Bluff in Hindu fiction”, AJPh 42, 1921, 122-151; “The Silence Wager Stories: their Origin and their Diffusion”, AJPh 43, 1922, 289-307.
– The Indian and Christian Miracles of Walking on the Water. 76 p. Chicago 1928.
– The Story of Kālakā, texts, history, legends, and miniature paintings of the Śvetāmbara Jain hagiographical work, the Kālakācāryakathā. 149 p. 15 pl. Smithsonian Inst. Freer Gall. of Art Or. Studies 1. Washington 1933; A Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue of Miniature Paintings of the Jaina Kalpasūtra as Executed in the Early Western Indian Style. 4+66 p. 45 pl. Freer Gallery of Art Or. Publ. 2. Washington 1934; Manuscript Illustrations of the Uttarādhyāyana Sūtra. 54 p. 46 pl. A.O.S. 21. New Haven 1941; A Pillared Hall from Madura in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 88 p. 27 pl. Phil. 1940.
– Edited: India, Pakistan, Ceylon. 14+234 p. Ithaca NY 1951, rev. ed. 1964; The United States and India, Pakistan, Bangladesh. 1972 (rev. 3rd ed., 1st ed. 10+308 p. Cambridgr Mass. 1953, rev. 2nd 1963 — title without Bangladesh).
– Edited & transl.: The Saundaryalaharī or Flood of beauty. 257 p. 49 pl. H.O.S. 43. Cambridge, Mass. 1958; The Vasanta Vilāsa. Poem of the spring festival in old Gujaratī, accompanied by Sanskrit and Prakrit stanzas and illustrated with miniature paintings. 260 p. 83 ill. A.O.S. 46. New Haven 1962; The Mahimnastava or praise of Shiva’s greatness. 91 p. 22 pl. Am. Inst. of Indian St. Publ. 1. Poona 1965.
– Man in the Universe. Some Continuities in Indian Thought. 112 p. Berkeley 1966.
– A great number of articles in JAOS, AJPh, etc.
– India and Indology. Selected Articles. Edited by R. Rocher. 37+303 p. Delhi 1978.
Sources: E. Bender, JOIB 24:3-4, 1975, 466-468; *A.S. Gupta, P? 17:2, 1975, 190f.; R.D. Lambert, JAsSt 35, 1975, 99; R. Rocher, JAOS 96, 1976, 3-6; *ABORI 56, 1975, 318-320; *BMQ 1/2 July 1975, 3f.; Dir.Am.Sch. 1st ed. 1942, 5th ed. III 1969; Who Was Who in America 6; *Americans in Asia; Bibliography and photo in Brown Volume 1962, p. ix-xx; *bibliography and life also in Sel. Articles. 1978; Wikipedia.
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