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Title: The Rural Turn in Contemporary Writing by Black and Asian Britons: The Case of English Country Houses’ Colonial Connections
Authors: Fowler, Corinne
First Published: 20-Oct-2016
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Citation: Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 2017, 19(3), pp. 395-415
Abstract: In recent years historians have highlighted country houses’ colonial connections. Such work is animated by a new approach to British imperial history, which emphasizes colonialism’s impact on domestic architecture, material culture and national wealth. Since the late 1970s, literary critics have contributed substantially to such discussions. Raymond Williams broached the topic in The Country and the City (1973), Gayatri Spivak produced her postcolonial critique of Jane Eyre in 1984 and Edward Said wrote the seminal essay ‘Jane Austen and Empire’ in 1993. This late twentieth-century criticism has been addressed and modified by both Austen and postcolonial scholars. This multifaceted critical response serves as a reminder that canonical English literature has long been preoccupied by country houses’ imperial dimensions. My essay revisits a number of canonical works in order to explore how contemporary writing by black Britons responds to earlier writing about country houses and empire. Works such as The West Indian (1771), Jane Eyre (1847), The Moonstone (1868) and The Way We Live Now (1875) provide an important literary context for a rural turn in writing by black and Asian Britons, a turn which was inaugurated by V. S. Naipaul’s The Enigma of Arrival (1987). My essay situates post-millennial writing by John Agard, David Dabydeen, Sene Seneviratne, Tanika Gupta and Tyrone Huggins in the context of the current renaissance in country house research, which substantially resources post-millennial writing, increasingly allowing historically nuanced critical engagements with the politics of rural entitlement.
DOI Link: 10.1080/1369801X.2016.1231589
ISSN: 1369-801X
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2016, Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy.
Description: The file associated with this record is under an 18 month embargo from publication in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of English

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