‘Bramin, Bramine’: Sterne, Eliza Draper and the Passage to India

Carol Watts

in The Cultural Work of Empire

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780748625642
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671717 | DOI:
‘Bramin, Bramine’: Sterne, Eliza Draper and the Passage to India

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This chapter considers Laurence Sterne's relations with Eliza Draper in India. It examines Sterne's Continuation of the Bramine's Journal. Eliza's absence is experienced as a death. The alterity of India undergoes a continuous and sometimes paradoxical translation within a prismatic imaginary that makes its difference recognisable to British eyes. The exchange between Laurence Sterne and Eliza Draper, ‘Bramin’ and ‘Bramine’, occurs within the ‘period of delirium’. It finally places the scandalousness of the exchange between Sterne and Draper, ‘Bramin’ and ‘Bramine’: at a point of insurrection within the oeconomy of imperial sensibility. The exchange between Sterne and Eliza is a negotiation and overcoming of mortal limits, most immediately those of the self. Life in India afforded her the imaginative opportunity to extend her sense of self, but it also clearly brought home to Draper the cost of her sociable ‘consent’ and the form of her inevitable exclusion.

Keywords: Laurence Sterne; Eliza Draper; India; Bramine; Bramin; oeconomy; imperial sensibility

Chapter.  20698 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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