Allegories of Empire was first published in 1993.“Allegories of Empire re-constellates a metropolitan masterpiece, Forster’s A Passage to India, within colonial discourse studies. Sharpe, a materialist feminist, is scrupulous in her use of theory to articulate nationalism, historical race-gendering, and contemporary feminist critique.” -Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Columbia University“Jenny Sharpe has done a great service in opening up the virtually taboo subject of the rape of the white woman by the colored man, and, furthermore, in teaching us theory - making by locating this frenzy of fantasy and reality within a specific crisis of European colonialism in India. ... In showing how a ‘wild anthropology’ must continuously rework feminism in the face of racism, and vice versa, she shows how the margins of empire were and still are at its center.” -Michael Taussig, New York UniversityAllegories of Empire introduces race and colonialism to feminist theories of rape and sexual difference, deploying women’s writing to undo the appropriation of English (universal) womanhood for the perpetuation of Empire.Sharpe brings the historical memory of the 1857 Indian Mutiny to bear upon the theme of rape in British adn Anglo-Indian fiction. She argues that the idea of Indian men raping white women was not part of the colonial landscape prior to the revolt that was remembered as the savage attack of mutinous Indian soldiers on defenseless English women.By showing how contemporary theories of female agency are implicated in an imperial past, Sharpe argues that such models are inappropriate, not only for discussion of colonized women, but for European women as well. Ultimately, she insists that feminist theory must begin from difference and dislocation rather than from identity and correspondence if it is to get beyond the race-gender-class impasse.Jenny Sharpe received her Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of Texas at Austin and is currently a professor of English at the University of California at Los Angeles. She has contributed articles to Modern Fiction Studies, Genders, and boundary 2.
Anomalous States is an archeology of modern Irish writing. David Lloyd commences with recent questioning of Irish identity in the wake of the northern conflict and returns to the complex terrain of nineteenth-century culture in which those questions of identity were first formed. In five linked essays, he explores modern Irish literature and its political contexts through the work of four Irish writers—Heaney, Beckett, Yeats, and Joyce. Beginning with Heaney and Beckett, Lloyd shows how in these authors the question of identity connects with the dominance of conservative cultural nationalism and argues for the need to understand Irish culture in relation to the wider experience of colonized societies. A central essay reads Yeats's later works as a profound questioning of the founding of the state. Final essays examine the gradual formation of the state and nation as one element in a cultural process that involves conflict between popular cultural forms and emerging political economies of nationalism and the colonial state. Modern Ireland is thus seen as the product of a continuing process in which, Lloyd argues, the passage to national independence that defines Ireland's post-colonial status is no more than a moment in its continuing history. Anomalous States makes an important contribution to the growing body of work that connects cultural theory with post-colonial historiography, literary analysis, and issues in contemporary politics. It will interest a wide readership in literary studies, cultural studies, anthropology, and history.
In a radically new interpretation and synthesis of highly popular 18th- and 19th-century genres, Michelle Burnham examines the literature of captivity, and, using Homi Bhabha's concept of interstitiality as a base, provides a valuable redescription of the ambivalent origins of the US national narrative. Stories of colonial captives, sentimental heroines, or fugitive slaves embody a "binary division between captive and captor that is based on cultural, national, or racial difference," but they also transcend these pre-existing antagonistic dichotomies by creating a new social space, and herein lies their emotional power. Beginning from a simple question on why captivity, particularly that of women, so often inspires a sentimental response, Burnham examines how these narratives elicit both sympathy and pleasure. The texts carry such great emotional impact precisely because they "traverse those very cultural, national, and racial boundaries that they seem so indelibly to inscribe. Captivity literature, like its heroines, constantly negotiates zones of contact," and crossing those borders reveals new cultural paradigms to the captive and, ultimately, the reader.
Since Germany became a colonial power relatively late, postcolonial theorists and histories of colonialism have thus far paid little attention to it. Uncovering Germany’s colonial legacy and imagination, Susanne Zantop reveals the significance of colonial fantasies—a kind of colonialism without colonies—in the formation of German national identity. Through readings of historical, anthropological, literary, and popular texts, Zantop explores imaginary colonial encounters of "Germans" with "natives" in late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century literature, and shows how these colonial fantasies acted as a rehearsal for actual colonial ventures in Africa, South America, and the Pacific. From as early as the sixteenth century, Germans preoccupied themselves with an imaginary drive for colonial conquest and possession that eventually grew into a collective obsession. Zantop illustrates the gendered character of Germany’s colonial imagination through critical readings of popular novels, plays, and travel literature that imagine sexual conquest and surrender in colonial territory—or love and blissful domestic relations between colonizer and colonized. She looks at scientific articles, philosophical essays, and political pamphlets that helped create a racist colonial discourse and demonstrates that from its earliest manifestations, the German colonial imagination contained ideas about a specifically German national identity, different from, if not superior to, most others.
The rewritings of the Mexican colonia discussed in this book question a present reality of marginalities and inequality, of imposed political domination, and of hybrid subjectivities. In their examination of the novels, films, poetry, and chronicles produced in and outside of Mexico since 2000, the critics included in Colonial Itineraries of Contemporary Mexico produce new interpretations, alternative readings, and different angles of analysis that extend far beyond the theories of the new historical novel of the eighties and nineties, and well beyond the limits of the novel as re-creative genre.
Through a transformative interdisciplinary lens, this book studies the ultra-contemporary chronicles of Carlos Monsiváis, the poetry of Carmen Boullosa and Luis Felipe Fabre, and the novels of Enrique Serna, Héctor de Mauleón, Mónica Lavín, and Pablo Soler Frost, among others. The book also pays close attention to a good sample of recent children’s literature that revisit Mexico’s colonia. It includes the transatlantic perspective of Spanish novelist Inma Chacón, and a detailed analysis of the strategies employed by Laura Esquivel in the creation of a best seller. Other chapters are devoted to the study of transnational film productions, a play by Flavio González Mello, and a set of novels set in the nineteenth-century colonia that problematize static notions of both personal and national identity within specific cultural palimpsests. Taken together, these incisive readings open broader conversations about Mexican coloniality as it continues well into the twenty-first century.
Colonial Strangers revolutionizes modern British literary studies by showing how our interpretations of the postcolonial must confront World War II and the Holocaust. Phyllis Lassner’s analysis reveals how writers such as Muriel Spark, Olivia Manning, Rumer Godden, Phyllis Bottome, Elspeth Huxley, and Zadie Smith insist that World War II is critical to understanding how and why the British Empire had to end.
Drawing on memoirs, fiction, reportage, and film adaptations, Colonial Strangers explores the critical perspectives of writers who correct prevailing stereotypes of British women as agents of imperialism. They also question their own participation in British claims of moral righteousness and British politics of cultural exploitation. These authors take center stage in debates about connections between the racist ideologies of the Third Reich and the British Empire.
Colonial Strangers reveals how the literary responses of key artists represent not only compelling reading, but also a necessary intervention in colonial and postcolonial debates and the canons of modern British fiction.
Conrad and Empire
Stephen Ross University of Missouri Press, 2004 Library of Congress PR6005.O4Z7883 2004 | Dewey Decimal 823.912
In Conrad and Empire, Stephen Ross challenges the orthodoxy of the last thirty years of Conrad criticism by arguing that to focus on issues of race and imperialism in Conrad’s work is to miss the larger and more important engagement with developing globalization undertaken there. Drawing on the conceptual model provided by Arjun Appadurai and by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Ross maintains that Conrad’s major novels confront an emergent new world order that replaces nation-state-based models of geopolitics with the global rule of capitalism, and shows how Conrad supplements this conceptualization by tracing the concrete effects of such a change on the psyches of individual subjects. Borrowing from Slavoj Žižek and Jacques Lacan, Ross contends that Conrad’s major novels present us with an astute vision of a truly global world order.
Devoting a chapter to each novel, the author analyzes Heart of Darkness,Lord Jim, Nostromo, and The Secret Agent to expose their social vision, their concern with individual experience, and their philosophical synthesis of the two. After showing how Conrad sets the stage, Ross considers selected characters’ personal histories and the family romances by which Conrad sheds light on individual characters’ motives, exposing the penetration of ideological forces into personal lives. He then shows how the drama of slave morality in each of the novels synthesizes their critique of social organization and their attention to personal history by revealing how each novel follows an individual character’s doomed attempt to transcend the totalizing dimensions of Empire.
Ross claims that though postcolonial criticisms of Conrad’s work have produced excellent insights, they remain inadequate to understanding its complexity. Instead, he argues, Conrad’s novels should be read for their compellingly prescient vision of a postnational world under the sway of global capitalism. Although Conrad’s vision of that world is undeniably bleak, Ross believes, his almost willful reaffirmation of the very values he has shown to be bankrupt constitutes a “weak idealism.” Consequently, Ross argues, Conrad’s fiction is profoundly ethical and pertinent to the pressing project of how to live in a bewilderingly variable world.
Cruising with Robert Louis Stevenson: Travel, Narrative, and the Colonial Body is the first book-length study about the influence of travel on Robert Louis Stevenson’s writings, both fiction and nonfiction. Within the contexts of late-Victorian imperialism and ethnographic discourse, the book offers original close readings of individual works by Stevenson while bringing new theoretical insights to bear on the relationship between travel, authorship, and gender identity.
Oliver S. Buckton develops “cruising” as a critical term, linking Stevenson’s leisurely mode of travel with the striking narrative motifs of disruption and fragmentation that characterize his writings. Buckton follows Stevenson’s career from his early travel books to show how Stevenson’s major works of fiction, such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Ebb-Tide, derive from the innovative techniques and materials Stevenson acquired on his global travels.
Exploring Stevenson’s pivotal role in the revival of “romance” in the late nineteenth century, Cruising with Robert Louis Stevenson highlights Stevenson’s treatment of the human body as part of his resistance to realism, arguing that the energies and desires released by travel are often routed through resistant or comic corporeal figures. Buckton also focuses on Stevenson’s writing about the South Seas, arguing that his groundbreaking critiques of European colonialism are formed in awareness of the fragility and desirability of Polynesian bodies and landscapes.
Cruising with Robert Louis Stevenson will be indispensable to all admirers of Stevenson as well as of great interest to readers of travel writing, Victorian ethnography, gender studies, and literary criticism.
In Detecting the Nation, Reitz argues that detective fiction was essential both to public acceptance of the newly organized police force in early Victorian Britain and to acclimating the population to the larger venture of the British Empire. In doing so, Reitz challenges literary-historical assumptions that detective fiction is a minor domestic genre that reinforces a distinction between metropolitan center and imperial periphery. Rather, Reitz argues, nineteenth-century detective fiction helped transform the concept of an island kingdom to that of a sprawling empire; detective fiction placed imperialism at the center of English identity by recasting what had been the suspiciously un-English figure of the turn-of-the-century detective as the very embodiment of both English principles and imperial authority. She supports this claim through reading such masters of the genre as Godwin, Dickens, Collins, and Doyle in relation to narratives of crime and empire such as James Mill's History of British India, narratives about Thuggee, and selected writings of Kipling and Buchan. Detective fiction and writings more specifically related to the imperial project, such as political tracts and adventure stories, were inextricably interrelated during this time.
During the nineteenth century, as millions of British citizens left for the New Worlds, hearth and home were physically moved from the heart of the empire to its very outskirts. In Domesticity, Imperialism, and Emigration in the Victorian Novel, Diana Archibald explores how such demographic shifts affected the ways in which Victorians both promoted and undermined the ideal of the domestic woman. Drawing upon works by Elizabeth Gaskell, Anthony Trollope, Samuel Butler, Charles Dickens, Charles Reade, and William Makepeace Thackeray, the author shows how the ideals of womanhood and home promoted by domestic ideology in many ways conflict with the argument in favor of immigration to imperial destinations.
According to Coventry Patmore and John Ruskin, and some of their contemporaries, woman’s natural domain is the home, and a woman’s fulfillment lies at the hearthside. But would any hearth do as long as it was hallowed by the presence of a domestic goddess, or was this Victorian definition of home more discriminating? Although the ideal of the domestic woman was certainly affected by these mass movements, in many texts the definition of her becomes narrow and unattainable, for she must not only be an “angel,” but she must also be English and remain at home.
A rather predictable pattern emerges in almost every Victorian novel that encounters the New Worlds: if an English hero is destined for a happy ending, he either marries an English angel-wife and brings her with him to the New World or, more often, abandons thoughts of settling abroad and returns to England to marry and establish a home. This pattern seems to support the supposedly complementary ideologies of domesticity and imperialism. England, according to imperialist dogma, was the righteous center of a powerful empire whose mission was to “civilize” the rest of the world. The purpose of the domestic “angel” was to provide the moral center of a sacred space, and what is more sacred to such a scheme than English soil? A true “angel” should be English. Despite the mass migrations of the nineteenth century, home remains fundamentally English.
The literary texts, however, reveal much ambivalence toward this domestic ideal. Often the colonial and native women were seen as foils for the English “angels” because they were much more interesting and attractive. At times, domestic and imperialist ideologies themselves conflicted. Female emigrants were desperately needed in the colonies; thus, a woman’s imperial duty was to leave England. Yet her womanly duty
told her to remain an untainted idol beside an English hearthside. The domestic ideal, then, because of its firm alliance with nationalism, seems to have been more in conflict with imperialistic ideology than heretofore supposed.
Folded Selves radically refigures traditional portraits of seventeenth-century New England literature and culture by situating colonial writing within the spatial, transnational, and economic contexts that characterized the early-modern “world system” theorized by Immanuel Wallerstein and others. Michelle Burnham rethinks American literary history and the politics of colonial dissent, and her book breaks new ground in making the economic relations of investment, credit, and trade central to this new framework for early American literary and cultural study. Transcontinental colonialism and mercantile capitalism underwrote not just the emerging world system but New World writing—suggesting that early modern literary aesthetics and the early modern economy helped to sponsor each other. Burnham locates in New England’s literature of dissent—from Ma-re Mount to the Salem witchcraft trials – a persistent use of economic language, as well as competing economies of style. The brilliance of Burnham’s study is that it exposes the transoceanic material and commercial concerns of colonial America’s literature and culture of dissent.
Anjali Arondekar considers the relationship between sexuality and the colonial archive by posing the following questions: Why does sexuality (still) seek its truth in the historical archive? What are the spatial and temporal logics that compel such a return? And conversely, what kind of “archive” does such a recuperative hermeneutics produce? Rather than render sexuality’s relationship to the colonial archive through the preferred lens of historical invisibility (which would presume that there is something about sexuality that is lost or silent and needs to “come out”), Arondekar engages sexuality’s recursive traces within the colonial archive against and through our very desire for access.
The logic and the interpretive resources of For the Record arise out of two entangled and minoritized historiographies: one in South Asian studies and the other in queer/sexuality studies. Focusing on late colonial India, Arondekar examines the spectacularization of sexuality in anthropology, law, literature, and pornography from 1843 until 1920. By turning to materials and/or locations that are familiar to most scholars of queer and subaltern studies, Arondekar considers sexuality at the center of the colonial archive rather than at its margins. Each chapter addresses a form of archival loss, troped either in a language of disappearance or paucity, simulacrum or detritus: from Richard Burton’s missing report on male brothels in Karáchi (1845) to a failed sodomy prosecution in Northern India, Queen Empress v. Khairati (1884), and from the ubiquitous India-rubber dildos found in colonial pornography of the mid-to-late nineteenth century to the archival detritus of Kipling’s stories about the Indian Mutiny of 1857.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, representations of Poland and the Slavic East cast the region as a primitive, undeveloped, or empty space inhabited by a population destined to remain uncivilized without the aid of external intervention. These depictions often made direct reference to the American Wild West, portraying the eastern steppes as a boundless plain that needed to be wrested from the hands of unruly natives and spatially ordered into German-administrated units.
While conventional definitions locate colonial space overseas, Kristin Kopp argues that it was possible to understand both distant continents and adjacent Eastern Europe as parts of the same global periphery dependent upon Western European civilizing efforts. However, proximity to the source of aid translated to greater benefits for Eastern Europe than for more distant regions.
Tales of child sacrifice, demon lovers, incestual relations, and returns from the dead are part of English and Irish gothic literature. Such recurring tropes are examined in this pioneering study by Margot Gayle Backus to show how Anglo-Irish gothic works written from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries reflect the destructive effects of imperialism on the children and later descendents of Protestant English settlers in Ireland. Backus uses contemporary theory, including that of Michel Foucault and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, to analyze texts by authors ranging from Richardson, Swift, Burke, Edgeworth, Stoker, and Wilde to contemporary Irish novelists and playwrights. By charting the changing relations between the family and the British state, she shows how these authors dramatized a legacy of violence within the family cell and discusses how disturbing themes of child sacrifice and colonial repression are portrayed through irony, satire, “paranoid” fantasy, and gothic romance. In a reconceptualization of the Freudian family romance, Backus argues that the figures of the Anglo-Irish gothic embody the particular residue of childhood experiences within a settler colonial society in which biological reproduction represented an economic and political imperative. Backus’s bold positioning of the nuclear family at the center of post-Enlightenment class and colonial power relations in England and Ireland will challenge and provoke scholars in the fields of Irish literature and British and postcolonial studies. The book will also interest students and scholars of women’s studies, and it has important implications for understanding contemporary conflicts in Ireland.
Illuminates the intersections between colonial thought and homosexuality.
An exploration of the intersection of colonialism and homosexuality in fiction and travel writing from Robinson Crusoe to the present, this volume brings together two dynamic fields of academic inquiry: colonial discourse analysis, which considers literary texts as expressions of colonial power; and queer theory, which interrogates the representation, enforcement, and subversions of sexualities in literature and culture.
These writers reexamine the work of Kipling, Conrad, Forster, Lessing, and others, ranging from male adventure stories to postcolonial novels. This volume will provoke and inform readers concerned with gender and sexuality, colonial history and literature, or with any of the works and authors revisited-and reexperienced-here.
Contributors: Anjali Arondekar, John C. Beynon, Joseph A. Boone, Sarah Cole, Lois Cucullu, Maria Davidis, Dennis Denisoff, Mark Forrester, Terry Goldie, Christopher Lane, Tim Middleton, Hans Turley.
Philip Holden is assistant professor of English at the National University of Singapore. Richard J. Ruppel is professor and chair in the Department of English at Viterbo University.
In Indian Angles, Mary Ellis Gibson provides a new historical approach to Indian English literature. Gibson shows that poetry, not fiction, was the dominant literary genre of Indian writing in English until 1860 and that poetry written in colonial situations can tell us as much or even more about figuration, multilingual literacies, and histories of nationalism than novels can. Gibson recreates the historical webs of affiliation and resistance that were experienced by writers in colonial India—writers of British, Indian, and mixed ethnicities.
Advancing new theoretical and historical paradigms for reading colonial literatures, Indian Angles makes accessible many writers heretofore neglected or virtually unknown. Gibson recovers texts by British women, by non-elite British men, and by persons who would, in the nineteenth century, have been called Eurasian. Her work traces the mutually constitutive history of English language poets from Sir William Jones to Toru Dutt and Rabindranath Tagore. Drawing on contemporary postcolonial theory, her work also provides new ways of thinking about British internal colonialism as its results were exported to South Asia.
In lucid and accessible prose, Gibson presents a new theoretical approach to colonial and postcolonial literatures.
The postcolonial spread of democratic ideals such as freedom and equality has taken place all over the world despite the widespread cultural differences that would seem to inhibit such change. In her new book, Literatures of Liberation: Non-European Universalisms and Democratic Progress, Mukti Lakhi Mangharam questions how these “universalisms” came to be and suggests that these elements were not solely the result of Europe-based Enlightenment ideals. Instead, they also arose in context-specific forms throughout the world (particularly in the Global South), relatively independently from Enlightenment concepts. These translatable yet distinct cognitive frameworks, or “contextual universalisms,” as she argues, were central to the spread of modern democratic principles in response to the relentless expansion of capital.
In this way, she posits that these universalisms reconceptualize democratic ideals not as Western imports into precolonial societies but as regional phenomena tied to local relations of power and resistance. In charting these alternative democratic trajectories, Mangharam examines oft-overlooked regional and vernacular literary forms and provides a fresh approach to current theorizations of postcolonial and world literatures.
Colonialism left an indelible mark on writers from the Caribbean. Many of the mid-century male writers, on the eve of independence, looked to England for their models. The current generation of authors, many of whom are women, have increasingly looked—and relocated—to the United States. Incorporating postcolonial theory, West Indian literature, feminist theory, and African American literary criticism, Making Men carves out a particular relationship between the Caribbean canon—as represented by C. L. R. James and V. S. Naipaul, among others—and contemporary Caribbean women writers such as Jean Rhys, and Jamaica Kincaid, Paule Marshall, and Michelle Cliff, who now live in the United States.
Discussing the canonical Caribbean narrative as it reflects national identity under the domination of English cultural authority, Belinda Edmondson focuses particularly on the pervasive influence of Victorian sensibilities in the structuring of twentieth-century national identity. She shows that issues of race and English constructions of masculinity not only are central to West Indian identity but also connect Caribbean authorship to the English literary tradition. This perspective on the origins of West Indian literary nationalism then informs Edmondson’s search for female subjectivity in current literature by West Indian women immigrants in America. Making Men compares the intellectual exile of men with the economic migration of women, linking the canonical male tradition to the writing of modern West Indian women and exploring how the latter write within and against the historical male paradigm in the continuing process of national definition. With theoretical claims that invite new discourse on English, Caribbean, and American ideas of exile, migration, race, gender identity, and literary authority, Making Men will be informative reading for those involved with postcolonial theory, African American and women’s studies, and Caribbean literature.
Why should Salman Rushdie describe his truth telling as an act of swallowing impure “haram“ flesh from which the blood has not been drained? Why should Rudyard Kipling cast Kim, the imperial child–agent, as a body/text written upon and damaged by empire? Why should E. M. Forster evoke through the Indian landscape the otherwise unspeakable racial or homosexual body in his writing? In Making Words Matter: The Agency of Colonial and Postcolonial Literature, Ambreen Hai argues that these writers focus self–reflectively on the unstable capacity of words to have material effects and to be censored, and that this central concern with literary agency is embedded in, indeed definitive of, colonial and postcolonial literature.
Making Words Matter contends that the figure of the human body is central to the self–imagining of the text in the world because the body uniquely concretizes three dimensions of agency: it is at once the site of autonomy, instrumentality, and subjection. Hai’s work exemplifies a new trend in postcolonial studies: to combine aesthetics and politics and to offer a historically and theoretically informed mode of interpretation that is sophisticated, lucid, and accessible.
This is the first study to identify and examine the rich convergence of issues and to chart their dynamic. Hai opens up the field of postcolonial literary studies to fresh questions, engaging knowledgeably with earlier scholarship and drawing on interdisciplinary theory to read both well known and lesser–known texts in a new light. It should be of interest internationally to students and scholars in a variety of fields including British, Victorian, modernist, colonial, or postcolonial literary studies, queer or cultural studies, South Asian studies, history, and anthropology.
This innovative look at previously neglected poetry in British America represents a major contribution to our understanding of early American culture. Spanning the period from the Glorious Revolution (1690) to the end of King George's War (1750), this study critically reconstitutes the literature of empire in the thirteen colonies, Canada, and the West Indies by investigating over 300 texts in mixed print and manuscript sources, including poems in pamphlets and newspapers.
British America's poetry of empire was dominated by three issues: mercantilism's promise that civilization and wealth would be transmitted from London to the provinces; the debate over the extent of metropolitan prerogatives in law and commerce when they obtruded upon provincial rights and interests; and the argument that Britain's imperium pelagi was an ethical empire, because it depended upon the morality of trade, while the empires of Spain and France were immoral empires because they were grounded upon conquest. In discussing these issues, Shields provides a virtual anthology of poems long lost to students of American literature.
The Pleasures of Exile
George Lamming University of Michigan Press, 1992 Library of Congress PR9230.9.L25Z466 1992 | Dewey Decimal 813
In The Pleasures of Exile, as in his other works, George Lamming embraces the intricate issues of colonization and decolonization with a canny combination of playfulness and seriousness, irony and commitment. “[It] is a reciprocal process,” Lamming observes, “to be a colonial is to be a man in a certain relation; and this relation is an example of exile.”
Through a series of interrelated essays, The Pleasures of Exile explores the cultural politics and relationships created in the crucible of colonization. Drawing on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and C. L. R. James’s The Black Jacobins, as well as his own fiction and poetry, Lamming deftly locates the reader in a specific intellectual and cultural domain while conjuring a rich and varied spectrum of physical, intellectual, psychological, and cultural responses to colonialism. “My subject,” he writes, “is the migration of the West Indian writer, as colonial and exile, from his native kingdom, once inhabited by Caliban, to the tempestuous island of Prospero’s and his language. This book is a report on one man’s way of seeing.”
In Reading the East India Company, Betty Joseph offers an innovative account of how archives—and the practice of archiving—shaped colonial ideologies in Britain and British-controlled India during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Drawing on the British East India Company's records as well as novels, memoirs, portraiture and guidebooks, Joseph shows how the company's economic and archival practices intersected to produce colonial "fictions" or "truth-effects" that strictly governed class and gender roles—in effect creating a "grammar of power" that kept the far-flung empire intact. And while women were often excluded from this archive, Joseph finds that we can still hear their voices at certain key historical junctures. Attending to these voices, Joseph illustrates how the writing of history belongs not only to the colonial project set forth by British men, but also to the agendas and mechanisms of agency—of colonized Indian, as well as European women. In the process, she makes a valuable and lasting contribution to gender studies, postcolonial theory, and the history of South Asia.
“The strength of Empire,” wrote Ben Jonson, “is in religion.” In Reforming Empire, Christopher Hodgkins takes Jonson’s dictum as his point of departure, showing how for more than four centuries the Protestant imagination gave the British Empire its main paradigms for dominion and also, ironically, its chief languages of anti-imperial dissent. From Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene to Rudyard Kipling’s “The Man Who Would Be King,” English literature about empire has turned with strange constancy to themes of worship and idolatry, atrocity and deliverance, slavery and service, conversion, prophecy, apostasy, and doom.
Focusing on the work of the Protestant imagination from the Renaissance origins of English overseas colonization through the modern end of England’s colonial enterprise, Hodgkins organizes his study around three kinds of religious binding—unification, subjugation, and self-restraint. He shows how early modern Protestants like Hakluyt and Spenser reformed the Arthurian chronicles and claimed to inherit Rome’s empire from the Caesars: how Ralegh and later Cromwell imagined a counterconquest of Spanish America, and how Milton’s Satan came to resemble Cortés; how Drake and the fictional Crusoe established their status as worthy colonial masters by refusing to be worshiped as gods; and how seventeenth-century preachers, poets, and colonists moved haltingly toward a racist metaphysics—as Virginia began by celebrating the mixed marriage of Pocahontas but soon imposed the draconian separation of the Color Line.
Yet Hodgkins reveals that Tudor-Stuart times also saw the revival of Augustinian anti-expansionism and the genesis of Protestant imperial guilt. From the start, British Protestant colonialism contained its own opposite: a religion of self-restraint. Though this conscience often was co-opted or conscripted to legitimize conquests and pacify the conquered, it frequently found memorable and even fierce literary expression in writers such as Shakespeare, Daniel, Herbert, Swift, Johnson, Burke, Blake, Austen, Browning, Tennyson, Conrad, Forster, and finally the anti-Protestant Waugh. Written in a lively and accessible style, Reforming Empire will be of interest to all scholars and students of English literature.
The white man's burden, darkest Africa, the seduction of the primitive: such phrases were widespread in the language Western empires used to talk about their colonial enterprises. How this language itself served imperial purposes--and how it survives today in writing about the Third World--are the subject of David Spurr's book, a revealing account of the rhetorical strategies that have defined Western thinking about the non-Western world. Despite historical differences among British, French, and American versions of colonialism, their rhetoric had much in common. The Rhetoric of Empire identifies these shared features—images, figures of speech, and characteristic lines of argument—and explores them in a wide variety of sources. A former correspondent for the United Press International, the author is equally at home with journalism or critical theory, travel writing or official documents, and his discussion is remarkably comprehensive. Ranging from T. E. Lawrence and Isak Dineson to Hemingway and Naipaul, from Time and the New Yorker to the National Geographic and Le Monde, from journalists such as Didion and Sontag to colonial administrators such as Frederick Lugard and Albert Sarraut, this analysis suggests the degree to which certain rhetorical tactics penetrate the popular as well as official colonial and postcolonial discourse. Finally, Spurr considers the question: Can the language itself—and with it, Western forms of interpretation--be freed of the exercise of colonial power? This ambitious book is an answer of sorts. By exposing the rhetoric of empire, Spurr begins to loosen its hold over discourse about—and between—different cultures.
The Rhetoric of English India
Sara Suleri Goodyear University of Chicago Press, 1992 Library of Congress PR9484.3.S85 1992 | Dewey Decimal 820.93254
Tracing a genealogy of colonial discourse, Suleri focuses on paradigmatic moments in the multiple stories generated by the British colonization of the Indian subcontinent. Both the literature of imperialism and its postcolonial aftermath emerge here as a series of guilty transactions between two cultures that are equally evasive and uncertain of their own authority.
"A dense, witty, and richly allusive book . . . an extremely valuable contribution to postcolonial cultural studies as well as to the whole area of literary criticism."—Jean Sudrann, Choice
In The Ruling Passion, Christopher Lane examines the relationship between masculinity, homosexual desire, and empire in British colonialist and imperialist fictions at the turn of the twentieth century. Questioning the popular assumption that Britain’s empire functioned with symbolic efficiency on sublimated desire, this book presents a counterhistory of the empire’s many layers of conflict and ambivalence. Through attentive readings of sexual and political allegory in the work of Kipling, Forster, James, Beerbohm, Firbank, and others—and deft use of psychoanalytic theory—The Ruling Passion interprets turbulent scenes of masculine identification and pleasure, power and mastery, intimacy and antagonism. By foregrounding the shattering effects of male homosexuality and interracial desire, and by insisting on the centrality of unconscious fantasy and the death drive, The Ruling Passion examines the startling recurrence of colonial failure in narratives of symbolic doubt and ontological crisis. Lane argues compellingly that Britain can progress culturally and politically only when it has relinquished its residual fantasies of global mastery.
In The Sign of the Cannibal Geoffrey Sanborn offers a major reassessment of the work of Herman Melville, a definitive history of the post-Enlightenment discourse on cannibalism, and a provocative contribution to postcolonial theory. These investigations not only explore mid–nineteenth century resistance to the colonial enterprise but argue that Melville, using the discourse on cannibalism to critique colonialism, contributed to the production of resistance. Sanborn focuses on the representations of cannibalism in three of Melville’s key texts—Typee, Moby-Dick, and “Benito Cereno.” Drawing on accounts of Pacific voyages from two centuries and virtually the entire corpus of the post-Enlightenment discourse on cannibalism, he shows how Melville used his narratives to work through the ways in which cannibalism had been understood. In so doing, argues Sanborn, Melville sought to move his readers through stages of possible responses to the phenomenon in order to lead them to consider alternatives to established assumptions and conventions—to understand that in the savage they see primarily their own fear and fascination. Melville thus becomes a narrator of the postcolonial encounter as he uncovers the dynamic of dread and menace that marks the Western construction of the “non-savage” human. Extending the work of Slavoj Zizek and Homi Bhabha while providing significant new insights into the work of Melville, The Sign of the Cannibal represents a breakthrough for students and scholars of postcolonial theory, American literary history, critical anthropology, race, and masculinity.
“Slow violence” from climate change, toxic drift, deforestation, oil spills, and the environmental aftermath of war takes place gradually and often invisibly. Rob Nixon focuses on the inattention we have paid to the lethality of many environmental crises, in contrast with the sensational, spectacle-driven messaging that impels public activism today.
The Subaltern Ulysses
Enda Duffy University of Minnesota Press, 1994 Library of Congress PR6019.O9U6383 1994 | Dewey Decimal 823.912
The Subaltern Ulysses was first published in 1994. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
How might an IRA bomb and James Joyce's Ulysses have anything in common? Could this masterpiece of modernism, written at the violent moment of Ireland's national emergence, actually be the first postcolonial novel? Exploring the relation of Ulysses to the colony in which it is set, and to the nation being born as the book was written, Enda Duffy uncovers a postcolonial modernism and in so doing traces another unsuspected strain within the one-time critical monolith. In the years between 1914 and 1921, as Joyce was composing his text, Ireland became the first colony of the British Empire to gain its independence in this century after a violent anticolonial war. Duffy juxtaposes Ulysses with documents and photographs from the archives of both empire and insurgency, as well as with recent postcolonial literary texts, to analyze the political unconscious of subversive strategies, twists on class and gender, that render patriarchal colonialist culture unfamiliar.
Ulysses, Duffy argues, is actually a guerrilla text, and here he shows how Joyce's novel pinpoints colonial regimes of surveillance, mocks imperial stereotypes of the "native," exposes nationalism and other chauvinistic ideologies of "imagined community" as throwbacks to the colonial ethos, and proposes versions of a postcolonial subject. A significant intervention in the massive "Joyce industry" founded on the rhetoric and aesthetics of high modernism, Duffy's insights show us not only Ulysses, but also the origins of postcolonial textuality, in a startling new way.
Enda Duffy is assistant professor of English at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
The early settlers in America had a special relationship to the theater. Though largely without a theater of their own, they developed an ideology of theater that expressed their sense of history, as well as their version of life in the New World. Theater Enough provides an innovative analysis of early American culture by examining the rhetorical shaping of the experience of settlement in the new land through the metaphor of theater. The rhetoric, or discourse, of early American theater emerged out of the figures of speech that permeated the colonists’ lives and literary productions. Jeffrey H. Richards examines a variety of texts—histories, diaries, letters, journals, poems, sermons, political tracts, trial transcripts, orations, and plays—and looks at the writings of such authors as John Winthrop and Mercy Otis Warren. Richards places the American usage of theatrum mundi—the world depicted as a stage—in the context of classical and Renaissance traditions, but shows how the trope functions in American rhetoric as a register for religious, political, and historical attitudes.
In Tropicopolitans Srinivas Aravamudan reconstructs the colonial imagination of the eighteenth century. By exploring representations of peoples and cultures subjected to colonial discourse, he makes a case for the agency—or the capacity to resist domination—of those oppressed. Aravamudan’s analysis of texts that accompanied European commercial and imperial expansion from the Glorious Revolution through the French Revolution reveals the development of anticolonial consciousness prior to the nineteenth century. “Tropicalization” is the central metaphor of this analysis, a term that incorporates both the construction of various dynamic tropes by which the colonized are viewed and the site of the study, primarily the tropics. Tropicopolitans, then, are those people who bear and resist the representations of colonialist discourse. In readings that expose new relationships between literary representation and colonialism in the eighteenth century, Aravamudan considers such texts as Behn’s Oroonoko, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Captain Singleton, Addison’s Cato, and Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and The Drapier’s Letters. He extends his argument to include analyses of Johnson’s Rasselas, Beckford’s Vathek, Montagu’s travel letters, Equiano’s autobiography, Burke’s political and aesthetic writings, and Abbé de Raynal’s Histoire des deux Indes. Offering a radical approach to literary history, this study provides new mechanisms for understanding the development of anticolonial agency. Introducing eighteenth-century studies to a postcolonial hermeneutics, Tropicopolitans will interest scholars engaged in postcolonial studies, eighteenth-century literature, and literary theory.