1852-54: Brown's two landmark dictionaries of Telugu
A Dictionary, Telugu and English,
explaining the colloquial style used in business and the poetical dialect, with explanations in English and in Telugu. [with:] A dictionary of the mixed dialects and foreign words used in Telugu. With an explanation of the Telugu alphabet. Madras printed at the Christian Knowledge Society's Press 1852-1854
First editions. Two works bound in one. Small 4to, 25 x 18 cm; pp.[ii, half-title], xvi, 1303, [1, blank]; [ii, half-title], xxviii, 131, [1, blank]. A very good copy bound in contemporary half calf over marbled boards; all edges marbled; neatly rebacked, boards rubbed, corners bumped.
Brown was able to support a 'college' of pandits to assist him in the preparation of his linguistic works and editions of Telugu literature, thanks to his lucrative position as Postmaster General of Madras. In the preface to the first work he describes the wide range of lexical sources he encountered during his twelve years as a magistrate: "I had intercourse with all classes, from the learned pandit or raja, to the illiterate prosecutor or prisoner. Tradesmen, doctors, hunters and sailors, poets and painters all became my instructors as they fell in my way". The second work, intended as a supplement to the dictionary, focuses on loan words in contemporary Telugu: "The long continued dominion of the Musulmans introduced many foreign words into the various Hindu languages. Thus the modern Telugu contains a variety of Persian and Arabic expressions. In later years, some English words have crept into use". Despite his apparent disdain for such alien vocabulary and the casual nature of colloquial Telugu, Brown was at pains to document both literary and contemporary Telugu.