Article

Empire

Grace Moore

in Victorian Literature

ISBN: 9780199799558
Published online April 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199799558-0028
Empire

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The publication of Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978) heralded the beginning of a scholarly interest in the literature of imperialism. As the British Empire was gradually dismantled in the 20th century, much of the writing generated in response to Britain’s sense of an imperial “mission” was neglected as an uncomfortable reminder of the jingoistic pride of the nation’s imperial heyday. Said’s work offered the chance to revisit the literature of empire and to examine the role it played in upholding and disseminating imperial values. The rise of postcolonial literature in conjunction with the development of cultural studies has meant that influential writing consumed by large numbers of readers—such as the adventure story, or the imperial romance—has become the object of serious study, as commentators seek to understand how Britons from all walks of life interacted with or resisted their nation’s growing sense of imperial mission. Critics from decolonized nations and cultures, such as Gayatri Spivak, have played important roles in scrutinizing the representation of “others” in literature and popular culture, probing what is and is not addressed in works that are sometimes curiously unwilling to face up to Britain’s exploitation of its overseas subjects and holdings.

Article.  13057 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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