SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Mourato, Nuno Miguel Courela (2010) The life and work of Juan Mascaro 1898-1987, Mallorcan translator of the "Bhagavad Gita". PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

PDF - Submitted Version
Download (15MB) | Preview


There is considerable agreement that the publication of Edward W. Said's Orientalism in 1978 inaugurated the field known as "postcolonial studies." Building upon the work of Said and other historians and translation theorists, who have written on the social and cultural implications of European colonialism, this doctoral thesis attempts to place the English, Catalan and Spanish writings of the Mallorcan Orientalist and translator Juan Mascaro (1897-1987) - in particular- his translation of the Bhagavad Gita for the Penguin Classics series - in their proper context and thus provide a more comprehensive understanding of the Oriental- ist/Eurocentric premises underlying his work. Though best known for his translations from the Sanskrit and Pali, Mascaro was also a prolific letter-writer whose letters, manuscripts, diaries and notebooks are preserved in three different archives. The principal motivation for pm-suing this PhD project lies in the realization that Mascaro has never received any critical attention in England and that an assessment of his work can contribute to broaden the terms of the debate over the question of Orientalism and Western appropriations of non-European cultures. The thesis is divided into five chapters, preceded by a general introduction and followed by a short conclusion. The first chapter examines the period Mascaro spend as vice-principal of a Hindu college in the British colony of Ceylon; the second studies Mascaro's Orientalist conceptions of Indian culture; the third gives an overview of Western and Indian inteipretations of the Bhagavad Gita and analyses Mascaro's reading of the text within this larger hermeneutical enterprise; the fourth presents a theoretical and practical study of Mascaro's translation of the Gita; the fifth and last chapter covers several subjects, but is mainly concerned with Mascaro's religious viewpoint and his involvement in the inter-faith dialogue. Although the association of Orientalism with Western colonial aspirations does not seem evident in the case of a Catalan-speaking Orientalist, Mascaro's writings attest to the universalist tendencies of Orientalism and are pail of this hegemonic European movement.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:01

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item