The Arte do Lingoa Canarim was perhaps based on an earlier work already being undertaken at Rachol and documented as having been in use at the College of St. Paul, Old Goa. His manuscript of the Arte remained unpublished and is believed to be in the possession of the School of Oriental and African Studies, SOAS, London. It was enlarged by Fr. Diogo Ribeiro who, according to Manoharrai Sardessai in his book “A History of Konkani Literature: From 1500 to 1992”, is said to have added to it “the fruits of his fifty years’ study of Indian languages”. But neither Fr. Stephens nor Fr. Ribeiro lived to see it in print, for it was only in 1640 that it was issued from the Press of what was then called the St. Ignatius College of Rachol.This book is a facsimile reprint of this edition, along with an introduction by Fr Ivo Coelho S.J.
Born at Clyffe Pipard, Bushton, Wiltshire, England in 1549, Thomas Stephens fled to Lisbon to escape religious persecution wrought by Henry VIII against the Catholics. In 1575, he joined the Society of Jesus and opted for the Indian mission, arriving in Goa in October 1579. He seems to have fallen in love with the land of Goa, writing extensively about the land and life here. In one letter, he wrote that “the tall coconut trees in Goa were completely different from anything he had seen before”. Thomas Stephens is primarily known for three works of literature: The Krista Purana, a re-telling of the Bible in Puranic form, which today is still considered one of the finest specimens of Marathi penmanship, Doutrina Christam em Lingoa Bramana Canarim and The Arte de Lingoa Canarim.