Dear reader, we all owe an immense debt to Project Gutenberg.

The present remarkable and fascinating  multivolume work by Robert Kerr is one of Project Gutenberg's more recent undertakings. But of course, in the nature of things their plain-vanilla approach to texts makes their material hard to use in its raw form. This problem is especially acute in a very long and complexly organized work like this one.

I realized that I needed to download some of the volumes onto my own computer, and hyperlink their headings for easy retrievability in the future. And then of course I realized if I was going to do that, I might as well take a little extra trouble and organize them carefully, and share the results with you. (Well, actually it's turning out to be more than a little extra trouble. But never mind-- I'm a willing volunteer, so I can't complain.)

The decorative borders come from "A Prospect of the Castle of Surat, a great City of Indostan, commonly called the Mogul Empire in India," engraved by Goldar, published in Millar's New Complete & Universal System of Geography, about 1780.

Editing has consisted mostly of correcting a few remaining OCR errors and other typos, and a very few archaisms of spelling, and some errors or eccentricities of punctuation. Kerr's fondness for italicizing what we would now consider an extraordinary number of words has also been held in check a bit. In some cases extremely long paragraphs have been broken into two; in a few cases bits of two adjacent paragraphs have been consolidated into a new one, for clarity. Comments or queries by me are in [[double brackets]].

The most serious and specialized scholars-- the ones who want access to every detail in precise original form-- will naturally want to use the printed texts. But for my own purposes, and for other interested general readers, I think this version will be satisfactory; it is certainly as close to the original as most readers would ever need or want to go. The internal inconsistencies of spelling and usage within the original itself, from chapter to chapter and volume to volume, are in any case considerably greater than any that I might have created through small editing choices; and I haven't at all sought to regularize them.

The organizational system of the original work is quite complex, with three huge Parts, and within them Books, and within the Books, Volumes (these latter are the actual physical objects). My own labeling system favors the Volumes, since these are both the smallest and the most concrete units. Sometimes, however, the larger analytical units don't manage to fit cleanly into the printed volumes, but have to start in one volume and finish in the next. Cases where this occurs are clearly indicated in the index pages. In these cases, to avoid possible confusion for the reader (and myself!), my labeling has followed Kerr's organizational logic rather than actual printing facts. The indices make the actual volume divisions clear, and also provide links to the original Gutenberg e-texts.

The whole set is gigantic! I've therefore put on my website only the early volumes, and those parts concerned especially with South Asia. For the rest, I've provided a complete index, so that you can easily see which Gutenberg volume contains what narratives.

The footnotes are numerous, and I haven't undertaken the huge task of hyperlinking them. But if you really want to keep track of the notes in some of those very long sections, just open two browser windows, and keep up with the footnotes in one and the text in the other.

If you'd like to go back to the great Project Gutenberg wellspring and check the originals for yourself, here are the links.

 *Volume 1, Project Gutenberg text*
*Volume 2, Project Gutenberg text*
*Volume 3, Project Gutenberg text*
*Volume 4, Project Gutenberg text*
*Volume 5, Project Gutenberg text*
*Volume 6, Project Gutenberg text*
*Volume 7, Project Gutenberg text*
*Volume 8, Project Gutenberg text*
*Volume 9, Project Gutenberg text*
*Volume 10, Project Gutenberg text*
*Volume 11, Project Gutenberg text*
*Volume 12, Project Gutenberg text*
*Volume 13, Project Gutenberg text*
*Volume 14, Project Gutenberg text*
*Volume 15, Project Gutenberg text*
*Volume 16, Project Gutenberg text*
*Volume 17, Project Gutenberg text*
*Volume 18, Project Gutenberg text*

Frances Pritchett
Columbia University
October 2004-February 2008


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