Now showing 1 - 10 of 21
  • Publication
    'Some Genuine Chinese Authors': literary appreciation, comparatism, and universalism in the Straits Chinese Magazine
    (Manchester University Press, 2021-07-06) ; ;
    This chapter considers the ways in which Straits Chinese elites in Singapore strategically used discourses of comparatism and universalism both to marginalise ‘native’ Malays and ‘sojourning’ Chinese diasporas, and to point to colonialism’s inherent contradictions. Examining the political stakes of comparatism and its relationship to anticolonial, postcolonial, and ethnic nationalism in the context of Nanyang South Sea and Indian Ocean spaces, it reads the Straits Chinese Magazine (est. 1897) as an anticolonial project. Despite its apparent investment in the logic and rhetoric of imperial liberalism, Straits Chinese contributors to the magazine ultimately turn European comparatism on its head, encouraging a reversal of the comparative gaze and an exposition of the defective use of Enlightenment methodologies by European comparatists. If Straits Chinese authors often fall back on arguments for the universality of human experience, the Straits Chinese Magazine demonstrates the extent to which competing Sinocentric and Islamocentric civilisational accounts could disrupt European modes of seeing, destabilising what is considered natural and self-reflexively exposing the Eurocentric grounds on which comparisons are made.
  • Publication
    Culture, Counter-culture, and the Subversion of the Comic in Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
    (Penn State University Press, 2007-01-01)
    Theoretical interest in the relationship between literature and society is invested with particular purpose in the comic-parodic novel, as a form in which a recurrent oscillation of genres and narrative perspectives occurs only within a hierarchy where positioning is relational and perpetually contested, and where apparently "common" languages and values are revisisted throughout the course of the novel. The Middle Ages, as Umberto Eco reminds us, is a popular site of ironic revisitation for the comic-parodic novelist, providing the opportunity to "speculate about our infancy, of course but also about the illusion of our senility." As Eco goes on to point out, however, writers such as Ariosto and Cervantes do not revisit the Middle Ages as antiquarians but rather as purveyors of a period already refashioned by the romance tradition. To this company he might have added Mark Twain, who has been described by more than one critic as the "American Cervantres." The sixth century Middle Ages to which Twain sends Hank Morgan, his nineteenth-century middle class American hero in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, is in fact the fictive Middle Ages of Malory - the "highly unreal and literary world of the idealistic, anachronistic romance" (Kordecki 338), itself a fifteenth-centure revisitation of the "real" sixth century.
  • Publication
    Queering the Imperial Romance: Settler Colonialism, Heteronormativity, and Interracial Intimacy in Sygurd Wiśniowski’s Tikera
    (Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, 2021-12-15)
    Building on the idea of queer studies as a ‘subjectless’ critique that has no fixed political referent, this article considers the politics of interracial romance in Sygurd Wiśniowski’s novel Tikera or Children of the Queen of Oceania (Dzieci królowej Oceanii), first published in serial and codex form in Poland in 1877. It argues that the novel’s queering of British/Māori mixed-race bodies and Māori kinship structures is revealing of the biopolitics of modern sexuality: first, by showing how sexuality is entangled with discourses relating to ethnographic primitivity; second, by framing mixed-race and Indigenous peoples as queer populations marked for death; and third, by regulating and replacing Indigenous sexual and gender norms with the sexual modernity of European settler subjects, in particular, with western European understandings of heteronormative couplehood and privatised intimacy. Yet despite the eventual containment of Jenny/Tikera’s transgressive energies within the heteronormative reproductive structures of the nuclear family unit, the novel represents something of a test and a limit case for nineteenth-century novelistic genre conventions. Uneasily straddling the generic features of the imperial romance, the gawęda folk form, the tropes of Polish Romanticism, and the seriality of periodical fiction, the novel’s formal, representational, and ideological dissonance works to test the conventions of the imperial romance and the impulse towards salvage ethnography it tends to inscribe. In so doing, it replays the ongoing dialectic between realism and romance as part of a displaced relationship between coloniser and colonised, metropolitan and colonial fiction, and between British, American, and Polish novelistic conventions.
  • Publication
    British Cultures of Reading and Literary Appreciation in Nineteenth-Century Singapore
    (Edinburgh University Press, 2020-04)
    This chapter considers the complex relationship between reading, literary appreciation and civic participation in nineteenth-century Singapore. Its specific focus is on three very different types of reading by British audiences: recreational reading or reading for pleasure; reading for reference or knowledge; and reading and translating Malay manuscripts. Each of these types or practises of reading corresponds to a particular reading place: the first is the colonial subscription library – here the Singapore Library (established 1844) – which, I argue, was instrumental in selecting and promoting the kinds of habitus-forming literature deemed desirable for British colonists and, to some extent, for wealthy non-European elites; the second is the creation of reference, manuscript and archival libraries – here the Raffles Library and Museum (established 1874) and the library of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (SBRAS) (established 1877) – which transformed the kind of scholarly and scientific reading that was possible for British and other European readers in Singapore; and the third is the translation and evaluation of Malay literature by European readers in the ‘virtual’ reading spaces of the Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia (JIA) (1847–55; 1856–63) and the Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (JSBRAS) (1879–1922). While I concentrate on the racialised constructions of reading that emerged from within these British cultures of reading, I also briefly examine the alternative reading cultures that persisted and developed among local-born and diasporic Malay and Chinese communities, particularly those surrounding an emerging middle-class literati of teachers, scholars, translators, copyists, printers and publishers.
  • Publication
    Early Public Libraries and Colonial Citizenship in the British Southern Hemisphere
    This introduction outlines the primary arguments and methodologies of the book, including new imperial history models, networked conceptualisations of empire, and comparative and transnational history. It argues both for the existence of transnational institutional connections and reading audiences across the colonial southern hemisphere, and for the importance of local and regional variations in the reproduction of the British public library model. It concludes by outlining the book’s primary sources, as well as introducing its six case study libraries from colonial Australia, South Africa, and Southeast Asia.
  • Publication
    Introduction: southern worlds, globes, and spheres
    This collection brings together for the first time literary studies of British colonies in nineteenth-century Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific Islands. Drawing on hemispheric studies, Indigenous studies, and southern theory to decentre British and other European metropoles, the collection offers a groundbreaking challenge to national paradigms and traditional literary periodisations and canons by prioritising southern cultural networks in multiple regional centres from Cape Town to Dunedin. Worlding the south examines the dialectics of literary worldedness in ways that recognise inequalities of power, textual and material violence, and literary and cultural resistance. The collection revises current literary histories of the 'British world' by arguing for the distinctiveness of settler colonialism in the southern hemisphere, and by incorporating Indigenous, diasporic, and south-south perspectives.
  • Publication
    Review of the Edinburgh Edition of Walter Scott's 'Peveril of the Peak'
    (Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, Cardiff University, 2009-10)
    Peveril of the Peak has never been regarded as one of Walter Scott’s greatest novels and its relative failure to achieve critical success is often attributed to the ‘over-production and money-spinning’ that many see as characteristic of his writing in the 1820s. In the ‘Historical Note’ to the current edition, Alison Lumsden puts this judgement in context: while 1821–23 marked a period of phenomenal output for Scott, she emphasises the extent to which he was in command of his historical material, despite his denial of any attempt at strict historical veracity in the ‘Prefatory Letter’ to the work. Scott’s novels may have been written quickly and under commercial pressure, but their characters, themes, and contexts usually evolved more slowly over extended periods of time. As Lumsden points out, Scott had long been interested in the seventeenth century, and had already treated the Civil War in a Scottish context in Old Mortality (1816) and The Heart of Mid-Lothian (1818), as well as coming across relevant material in his editions of Dryden (1808), Somers’ Tracts (1809–14), and Anthony Hamilton’s Memoirs of Count Grammont (1811). It was, or so it seems, only a matter of time before he turned his attention to the period in an English context.
  • Publication
    The ultimate romantic
    (The Irish Times, 2009-01-24)
    Meeting Lord Byron in Athens in 1810, the 35-year-old Lady Hestor Stanhope, a well-known wit and traveller, was one of the few ladies (or gentlemen for that matter) not to fall under his spell. Byron’s effect on women was, by all accounts, extraordinary. Lady Rosebery almost fainted on meeting him; a demented Lady Caroline Lamb dressed up as a page boy in order to gain admission to his rooms and sent him a cutting of her pubic hair; and even his misused wife of only one year, Annabella Milbanke, was distressed by news of his death in 1824.
  • Publication
    The Enlightenment and History
    (Cambridge University Press, 2017-07)
    John Keats (1795–1821) continues to delight and challenge readers both within and beyond the academic community through his poems and letters. This volume provides frameworks for enhanced analysis and appreciation of Keats and his work, with each chapter supplying a succinct, informed, and accessible account of a particular topic. Leading scholars examine the life and work of Keats against the backdrop of his influences, contemporaries, and reception, and explore the interaction of poet and world. The essays consider his enduring but ever-altering appeal, engage with critical discussion and debate, and offer revisionary close reading of the poems and letters. Students and specialists will find their knowledge of Keats's life and work enriched by chapters that survey subjects ranging from education, relationships, and religion to art, genre, and film.
  • Publication
    Rethinking nineteenth-century literary culture: British worlds, southern latitudes and hemispheric methods
    (Sage, 2021-01-20) ;
    Drawing on hemispheric, oceanic, and southern theory approaches, this article argues for the value of considering the nineteenth-century literary cultures of the southern settler colonies of Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa from within an interconnected frame of analysis. First, because of their distinctive historical and structural conditions; second, because of the density of their interregional networks and relations across intersecting oceanic spaces; and third, because of the long history of racialized imperialist imaginaries of the south. This methodological position rethinks current approaches to “British world” studies in two important ways: first, by decoupling the southern settler colonies from studies of settler colonialism in North America; and second, by rebalancing its metropolitan and northern locus by considering south-south networks and relations across a complex of southern islands, oceans, and continents. Without suggesting either that imperial intercultural exchanges with Britain are unimportant or that there is a culturally homogenous body of pan-southern writing, we argue that nineteenth-century literary culture from colonial Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa — what we call a “southern archive” — can provide a counterbalance to northern biases and provide new purchase on nation-centred literary paradigms — one that reveals not just south-south transnational exchanges and structural homologies between southern genres, themes, and forms, but also allows us to acknowledge the important challenges to foundational accounts of national literary canons initiated by southern theory and Indigenous studies scholars.
      110Scopus© Citations 1