Home » The Inordinately Strange Life of Dyce Sombre: Victorian Anglo-Indian MP and Chancery Lunatic by Michael Fisher
The Inordinately Strange Life of Dyce Sombre: Victorian Anglo-Indian MP and Chancery Lunatic Michael Fisher

The Inordinately Strange Life of Dyce Sombre: Victorian Anglo-Indian MP and Chancery Lunatic

Michael Fisher

Published May 1st 2010
ISBN : 9780231701082
Hardcover
396 pages
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 About the Book 

The descendent of German and French Catholic mercenaries, a Scots Presbyterian subaltern, and their secluded Indian wives, David Ochterlony Dyce Sombre (1808-1851) defied all classification in the North Indian principality where he grew up. He alsoMoreThe descendent of German and French Catholic mercenaries, a Scots Presbyterian subaltern, and their secluded Indian wives, David Ochterlony Dyce Sombre (1808-1851) defied all classification in the North Indian principality where he grew up. He also lived as the adopted child of a Muslim courtesan, a woman who would transform herself into the wildly successful, Catholic ruler of a small, cosmopolitan kingdom.In his youth, Sombre took great advantage of his privilege, yet upon his mothers death he lost all political power. Nevertheless, Sombre continued to live lavishly while in exile, touring India, China, and Europe on his inheritance. Sombre eventually settled in London and married the daughter of an English Protestant Viscount. He bought himself election to Parliament, but was expelled for acts of corruption.Accusations of spousal mistreatment led to Sombres arrest and confinement. Termed a chancery lunatic, he fled to France and spent years reclaiming his sanity and fortune. Sombres efforts set new precedents for international and medical law. Trials revolved around whether Sombre was sane or crazy, Indian or European, with doctors and jurists clashing over the very definition of these terms. Sombres heritage sparked debate decades after his death. In this absorbing biography, Michael H. Fisher recovers this strange life. Through Sombres incredible story, modern conceptions of race, privilege, and empire begin to take shape.