MACDONELL, Arthur Anthony

MACDONELL, Arthur Anthony. Muzaffarpur, India 11.5.1854 — Oxford 28.12.1930. British Indologist. Professor in Oxford. Son of Charles Alexander M., a colonel in Indian army, in 1861 came with his mother to England. Educated in Germany, in 1866-69 in Dresden and 1870-75 in Göttingen. In 1875-76 studies at Göttingen University, started Sanskrit under Benfey, in 1876-80 at Corpus College, Oxford. In addition to Sanskrit (Max Müller) studied i. al. German and Chinese. B.A. 1880, M.A. 1883 Oxford. Spent some time at Tübingen, too (Roth). Ph.D. 1884 Leipzig. In 1880-99 Taylorian Teacher of German at Oxford, in 1888-99 also Deputy-Professor of Sanskrit there. From 1899 Monier Williams’ successor as Boden Professor of Sanskrit, Keeper of Indian Institute and Fellow of Balliol College. In 1907-08 he travelled in India collecting manuscripts and archaeological photographs, again in India in 1922-23. In 1904 visited the U.S.A. and 1912 Canada. Member of British Academy from 1906. During and after the war, in 1915-20 compiled three historical memoranda for the Intelligence Service of Admiralty. The strain of the second Indian travel led to a paralysis which forced him to retire in 1926, died in a second paralysis. He was married and had two daughters and one son who fell in the WW I.

AAM was mainly a Vedic scholar, working both on language and mythology. His grammars, reader and dictionary were long very popular among students.

Publications: diss. Die Sarvânukramaṇî des Kâtyâyana zum Rigveda, zum ersten Mal mit kritischen Anmerkungen herausgegeben. Oxford 1885 = Kâtyâyana’s Sarvânukramaṇî of the Rigveda with Extracts from Shaḍguruśishya’s Commentary entitled Vedârthadîpikâ. 22+223 p. Anecd. Ox., Aryan series 4. Oxford 1886.

– “Mythological Studies in the Rigveda”, JRAS 1893, 419-496 & 1895, 165-189; “Two Legends from the Bṛhad-devatā in an old MS. of Saḍguruçiṣya”, JRAS 1894, 11-27 & 558-560; “The origin and early history of chess”, JRAS 1898, 117-141.

Vedic mythology. 192 p. Grundr. III:1A. Strassburg 1898.

History of Sanskrit Literature. 9+472 p. 1900; Lectures on comparative Religion. 1925.

Saunaka, Bṛhad-devatā. A summary of the deities and myths of the Rgveda. Crit. ed. in the or. Sanskrit with an introd. and seven appendices, and tr. into English with crit. notes. 1-2. 35+198 & 14+334 p. H.O.S. 5-6. Cambridge, Mass. 1904.

Sanskrit Grammar for Beginners. 1901, 3rd ed. Sanskrit Grammar for Students. 284 p. L. 1927; A practical Sanskrit dictionary (Sanskrit–English) with transliteration, accentuation, and etymological analysis throughout. 12+382 p. L. 1924.

Vedic grammar. 456 p. Grundriss 1:4. Strassburg 1910; A Vedic grammar for students. 508 p. Oxford 1916; Vedic Reader. 32+263 p. 1917.

with A. B. Keith:Vedic Index of names and subjects. 1-2. 560+592 p. L. 1912.

translated: Vedas. Hymns from the Rigveda, metrically transl. 98 p. Heritage of India Series. Calcutta & L. 1923 (40 hymns); “The Uṣas Hymns of the Ṛgveda”, JRAS 1932, 345-371.

India’s Past, a study of her Literatures, Languages, Religions and Antiquities. 300 p. Oxford 1927.

two books about rowing trips in Germany and elsewhere. 1890, 1893.

Sources: *JRAS 1916, 577-590; Buckland, Dictionary; F. W. Thomas, D.N.B. 1922–1930, 530f.; Wikipedia with photo; photo in Sardesai 1938.


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