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His sense of the precariousness of such home missions, founded as they were on the unstable binaries of the empire itself, arms a discussion of major texts from the entire nineteenth century with important new insights - and with penetrating wit before the spectacle of one culture's attempt to set itself above and beyond general humanity. Help Centre. My Wishlist Sign In Join. Be the first to write a review. Add to Wishlist.

Victorian Studies

Ships in 15 business days. Link Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. Description Table of Contents Product Details Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Industry Reviews 'Tim Carens' Outlandish English Subjects in the Victorian Domestic Novel makes a commanding contribution to the burgeoning study of the reflux of imperialism in metropolitan England. List of Illustrations p. All Rights Reserved. The subject was believed to be slightly remote — as vulgar and inessential as the technology of underground trains, telephones and internal-combustion engines.

There was always a little man for such things, an oily-fingered mechanic. It seemed to be an agreeable parlour-game — like stamp-collecting'. Herbert George Wells astonished this elite, the weavers of labyrinthine paragraphs, with his boisterous energy, his ability to understand, explain and exploit the substance of the contemporary world. He had emerged from nowhere, the suburbs, without family, a failed shopboy, pupil and later teacher at Midhurst Grammar School, sickly student on a scholarship at the Normal School of Science, a disciple of T H Huxley, a jobbing scientific journalist.

Then, in that miraculous period between the publication of The Time Machine and The First Men on the Moon , he produced the stories, novels, conjectures, that laid out the emerging field of science fiction: interplanetary adventure, time travel, genetic engineering. H G Wells, populist, fits neatly alongside his anonymous, fictional narrator in The War of the Worlds : substance and shadow. They both live in Woking. They keep up with current events. Like his narrator, Wells works long, regular hours.

The impact of this novel lies in its realism, its forensic examination of the comfortably mundane, the complacency of Surrey suburbia, railway towns surrounded by golf links, tame heathland, somewhere to walk a dog. With his brother Frank, so science-fiction anthologist Mike Ashley tells us, Wells explored the lanes and pilgrim paths of Surrey and Kent, debating and discussing.

Usage terms Public Domain Reportage, tabloid speed and the language of the commonplace The War of the Worlds is told with tabloid speed and the lovely poetry of the commonplace. Episodes unfold at their own pace, allowing space for lengthy digressions. The War of the Worlds happens in the world of fast news, telegrams, electricity. The false dynamic — of stock-market reports, global investments — is superimposed on slow-moving village life pubs, horses, hedgerows. Railways are now more significant features than rivers which prove no barrier to the advance of the Martian tripods.

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Terse reportage works like radio before its time. Cutting is rapid. Suspension of disbelief is immediate. The model is immaculate and can be adapted to any period at any time. Byron Haskin's film shifts the invasion to California, where the lumbering tripods becoming the flying saucers of cold war paranoia. In the broad context of postcolonial criticism, it heeds a call for readings attuned to the features of narratives that destabilize the dichotomies naturalized by imperial ideology.

Early in his essay, Freud observes that the German words unheimlich, uncanny or strange, and heimlich, homely or familiar, are not so distinct as their antithetical construction implies. This approach also enables a constructive synthesis of two persuasive lines of analysis that have been applied to The Moonstone. John R. The Moonstone , he argues, more disturbingly inverts the distribution of power while continuing to align India with moral depravity.

The novel does so by focusing attention on forces that erupt from the dark otherworldly terrain of English subjectivity, where dwell impulses fully as irrational, violent, and passionate as those projected onto India. Collins offsets the depiction of Indian subjects in Mutiny narratives by representing the mutinous instincts and impulses that disrupt the rational government of the English mind.

Both evangelical Christianity and Victorian evolutionary anthropology, for example, promoted a universalist approach to human subjectivity that eroded clear-cut racial differences. To be sure, both movements were themselves shaped by, and in notable ways reconfirmed, British imperial power.

In its paternalistic mission to convert the benighted heathen, evangelical Christianity supplied an ethical justification for empire. Rather, they assumed that colonial subjects represented primitive stages in the line of human development that reached its apex in northern Europe. Adhering to the biblical account of creation, evangelical Christians held that all humans descended directly from Adam and Eve. Those with darker skins, they believed, had simply indulged unregenerate human nature to a greater extent. As a result, Christian faith had degenerated into abject idolatry and its ethical system had succumbed to unrestrained instincts.

Also asserting the common ancestry of different races, Victorian evolutionary anthropologists explained cultural and racial differences as the outcome of unequal progress from a common state of bestial wildness. This belief prepares the ground for uncanny reminders of family ties. Evangelical Christianity and evolutionary anthropology similarly trace the genealogy of the modern English subject back to a point of origin preceding racial and cultural differentiation, to a period when the savage other was the self.

According to evangelical doctrine, Christian subjects harbored the same degenerate propensities given freer rein in tropical climes. Just as biological organisms furnished vestigial evidence of earlier formations, so too did modern civilization disclose surviving relics of its savage past. By no means a rigorous student of either discipline, Collins nonetheless absorbed their broadly disseminated ideas. He was particularly intrigued by the notion that the supposedly civilized modern English self harbored primitive impulses antagonistic to the religious and ethical dictates of Victorian culture.


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In The Moonstone , he shows slight sympathy for the evangelical movement itself, which was by the s a waning cultural force. His novels in general confirm her understanding of the ongoing internalized conflict between the forces of self-command and an intractable natural element. While Clack and Sir Patrick express very different points of view, both understand the modern English self as a precariously balanced governmental structure. Confirming this understanding of subjectivity throughout his work, Collins contests imperial dichotomies by questioning the ability of the modern English self to control the eruption of its primitive instincts and impulses.

He might have suggested that only the aberrant criminal few at the center of empire lack the capacity for self-restraint. Yet he emphasizes instead a broad unreliability of self-control. The fact that she describes the passions with terms drawn from the lexicon of peripheral otherness suggests a vain effort to preserve a sense of the foreignness of desires and rages that disrupt the government of the imperial self. Collins certainly demonstrates familiarity with conventional depictions of India as the nightmarish antithesis of orderly domestic life in England.

Yet the disconcerting irony is that the English home, inspected closely, fails to oppose itself to strange colonial otherness.

The prologue represents India as the native ground of rapacious violence and fanatical idolatry, characteristics that, particularly after , were typically associated with the colony. According to the unnamed Herncastle cousin who relates the history of the Moonstone, the gem is for many centuries worshipped as an integral part of a Hindu idol that resides in a temple in Somnauth. Before they do so, of course, John Herncastle steals the diamond and removes it to England.

In the Hindu priests, the self-indulgence of the Oriental despot gives place to dutiful self-renunciation. Their pursuit of the Moonstone exemplifies unrestrained devotion, subjectivities governed by zealous idolatry. To the Mohammedan, the diamond is treasure, valuable for its beauty and monetary value. To the Hindu idolaters, the diamond is sacred talisman, valuable because it belongs to the deity before whose will they bow. How interesting! This scene confirms that the Hindu priests are violent, deceptive, and unreservedly devoted to their idol, but it also shows how Betteredge intensifies the otherness of those he fears.

Just as he guards the circumference of the estate to secure it against the intrusive ploys of the Indians, so too does Betteredge patrol the ideological borders of the imperial nation, defending them against rebellious otherness. But sometimes, as Freud indicates, disturbing secrets are hidden in apparently quiet houses. Mutinous English passions may be more deeply repressed and their forms of expression more cleverly hidden, but they nonetheless become visible over the course of the narrative.

As they erupt within the familiar social realm, they expose the artificiality of the racial oppositions that sustain the imperial project. In the Shivering Sands, Collins constructs a symbol that both acknowledges and repudiates the tendency to estrange disruptive passions by projecting them onto racial others. Its disturbing power emanates from the knowledge it discloses about the structure of human subjectivity in England as well as in India.

She reinforces the symbolic import of the Shivering Sands by sinking herself and her confession in its unquiet depths. Her death, however, leads Betteredge to a broadly relevant insight about the nature of the self and its repressed passions.

Outlandish English subjects in the Victorian domestic novel /

Although Betteredge assumes that members of the upper classes can afford to indulge their feelings, his insight is not restricted to a particular class, gender, or race. The prologue of the novel foregrounds not just the outlandishness of India, but also its forceful appeal to a character invested with imperial authority.

John Herncastle, an officer in the imperial army, proves easily susceptible to irrational and passionate impulses associated with the colony. This first English chapter in the story of the Moonstone notably extends a motif established by events that precede the intervention of the purportedly civilized nation. Back in England, the Herncastle family takes decisive action to disavow their unsavory relative. Yet the effort to ostracize the wayward son, to close the family doors against him, suggests fearful complicity as much as disapproval.

The Herncastles repudiate John because he extravagantly indulges impulses that they still attempt to hide. Nor is this dash of savagery limited to blood relatives of Herncastle. Ablewhite denounces the Herncastle family, implicitly representing his own line as superior. Never less than detestable, Herncastle does perceive the hypocrisy of those who bar their doors against passions already lodging comfortably within.

When the diamond arrives in the Herncastle home as a birthday gift to Rachel, the superstitious regard it enjoys begins to indicate the fragility of the distinction between those allotted opposing positions on imperial lines of demarcation. His first reaction to the diamond compounds this irony:. The gem erodes barriers and distinctions that Betteredge elsewhere invests with much importance. He finds himself, as he admits, helplessly expressing the giddy enthusiasm of the Ablewhite sisters.