Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
New interface
Journal articles

Robert Knox captif du roi de Kandy 1659-1680 : regard puritain sur un nouveau monde, Ceylan au XVIIe siècle

Abstract : Within the wider framework of British Cultural Studies, this paper seeks to investigate the extraordinary story of Robert Knox (1640-1720), an Englishman held prisoner by Rajasingha II, King of Kandy, in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) after a shipwreck in November 1659. Knox’s father as well as 14 members of the crew were arrested by the king’s troops. If the ocean was his ground of predilection, Knox’s strange destiny will alienate him from what was his natural environment, the sea, during his captivity in the central highlands of Ceylon, between 1659 and 1680. Knox will return to the sea once he manages to escape from the grips of the Kandyan monarch, with the help of the Dutch who escort him to Batavia. Meanwhile, exchanging maritime expeditions for a sedentary and solitary life, how does our sailor-turned-farmer translate the memories of his two decades of lived experience amongst the poverty-stricken peasantry of an enclaved upcountry kingdom ? What is the improbable story of a man who went from freedom to incarceration and, on his return to England, presented the first Anglo-Saxon representation of an Indian Ocean population, the Sinhalese? Between realities and the imaginary, both a travel narrative and an anthropological study, Knox's work presents, in encyclopaedic detail, an exotic world, in the process of being conquered by European colonial powers...
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadata

Cited literature [4 references]  Display  Hide  Download
Contributor : Réunion Univ Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 4:59:50 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 5, 2022 - 10:29:12 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - 4:05:16 PM


Publisher files allowed on an open archive


  • HAL Id : hal-02474943, version 1


Jacques Tual. Robert Knox captif du roi de Kandy 1659-1680 : regard puritain sur un nouveau monde, Ceylan au XVIIe siècle. Carnets de Recherches de l'océan Indien, 2018, Varia, 2, pp.1-12. ⟨hal-02474943⟩



Record views


Files downloads