Civility and Empire: Literature and Culture in British by Anindyo Roy

By Anindyo Roy

This ebook addresses the assumption of 'civility' as a manifestation of the fluidity and ambivalence of imperial strength as mirrored in British colonial literature and tradition. Discussions of Anglo-Indian romances of 1880-1900, E.M. Forster's The lifestyles to Come and Leonard Woolf's writings express how the entice civility had an important impact at the structure of colonial subject-hood and divulges 'civility' as an incredible trope for the ambivalence of imperial energy itself.

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Extra resources for Civility and Empire: Literature and Culture in British India, 1821-1921

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This bursting of boundaries, I claim, has to be read in conjunction with Foucault’s idea of the “excess” attributed to “government,” which he claims provided the necessary condition for early nineteenth-century liberalism to rationalize its own disciplinary system. ” The simultaneous projection of the excess as both interior and exterior to governmentality is enabled by this discourse; in fact, the reality of colonial markets could be constructed as being intrinsic to the economic status of the British nation only when those markets are identified as lying beyond the pale of the metropolitan order.

Consequently, they were impelled to identify with an aristocratic past, inventing a new genealogy as a way to consolidate their dominance as a class of leaders and visionaries, instead of mere economic pragmatists. Throughout the late eighteenth century and well into the first two decades of the nineteenth, colonial mercenaries, merchants, and “nabobs,” including petty social climbers from the countryside and “foreigners”—primarily Jewish traders— had steadily accumulated power and privilege through their involvement with colonial enterprises, profiting from the vast resources available for trade and early industrial initiatives.

This development also signified the troubled relations that had resulted from the rising dependence of the Whig aristocracy on the new holders of wealth. Scott himself appears to have shared some of these anti-Semitic sentiments. As his biographer Sutherland has indicated, Scott’s personal grudges towards the Jewish gold merchant Abud, about whom the writer reputedly made some “venomously racist remarks,” may have been prompted by Abud’s threat to sue him for not repaying his debts (Sutherland 1995: 315).

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