THOMPSON, Edward John

THOMPSON, Edward John. Hazel Grove, Stockport 9.4.1886 — Bledlow, Buckinghamshire 28.4.1946. British Wesleyan Missionary and Author in India. Son of John Moses Th. (d. 1894), a missionary in South India, born during the family’s furlough in England. Studies at Richmond Theological College (ordained 1910) and London (M.A.). Came to India in 1910, worked as teacher of English, later Vice-Principal at Bankura Wesleyan College. In 1916-18 war service in Mesopotamia. He became friend of Tagore (later estranged) and, as a critic of the colonial rule, personally knew Gandhi, Nehru and Iqbal. Returned to England in 1923 and resigned from priesthood. University Lecturer in Bengali at Oxford from 1923. Ph.D. 1926. Several visits to India. Married 1919 Theodora Jessup, two sons.

Publications: Transl. from Bengali with A. M. Spencer: Bengali Religious Lyrics. Śākta. 103 p. Calcutta & Oxford 1923.

Rabindranath Tagore. His Life and Works. 1921; Rabindranath Tagore. Poet and dramatist. 12+327 p. L. 1926; Suttee. A Historical and Philosophical Enquiry into the Hindu Rite of Widow-Burning. 107 p. L. 1928.

A Farewell to India. 1925, and other novels, five collections of poetry.

with Theodosia Thompson: Three eastern plays with a terminal essay on “Suttee”. 128 p. L. 1927.

Oma Das Gupta: A Difficult Friendship: Letters of Edward Thompson and Rabindranath Tagore 1913–1940. 8+243 p. N.D. 2003.

Sources: M. Lago, India’s Prisoner. A Biography of E.J.T. Columbia & London 2001; Wikipedia.

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