By Jane Stafford
This publication is the 1st research of writers who're either Victorian and indigenous, who've been informed in and write when it comes to Victorian literary conventions, yet whose indigenous association is a part of their literary personae and material. What occurs whilst the colonised, indigenous, or ‘native’ topic learns to write down within the literary language of empire? If the romanticised topic of colonial literature turns into the writer, is a brand new type of writing produced, or does the local writer agree to the versions of the coloniser?
By investigating the ways in which nineteenth-century issues are followed, accommodated, rewritten, challenged, re-inscribed, faced, or assimilated within the paintings of those authors, this examine offers a singular exam of the character of colonial literary creation and indigenous authorship, in addition to suggesting to the self-discipline of colonial and postcolonial stories a possibly unsettling viewpoint with which to examine the bigger styles of Victorian cultural and literary formation.
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Additional resources for Colonial Literature and the Native Author: Indigeneity and Empire
It is their poetic personae – Indian, native, familial, foreign, Christian – and the fact that their work is offered, albeit apologetically, to literary London rather than provincial Calcutta, that is its claim to exceptionalism, its title to the critics’ attention. Just as Richardson’s denominations – ‘British-Indian’, ‘East Indian’, ‘Hindu’ – suggested differences which the poetry itself does not reﬂect, so the Dutts look to distinguish themselves not by their writing but by the variety of labels they as authors can claim – that which constitutes their ‘curiosity’.
Asks Dutt, ‘A sin to love! ’ The king’s mistake, she maintains, was not in loving the fawn but in going into the forest as a hermit in the ﬁrst place: [c]asting off all love By his retirement to the forest-shades; For that was to abandon duties high, And, like a recreant soldier, leave the post Where God had placed him as a sentinel. . The Vishnu Purana’s deeply Hindu narrative is modiﬁed, its sentimental detail – or what could be reinterpreted by a Westernised Victorian reader as sentimental detail – is extracted, and the piece as a whole is subjected to a Christian scrutiny which reverses the original story’s moral intent.
46 But the Indian archaic could also denote decadence and excess. Thus Gosse’s approval of Dutt’s ‘Vedic solemnity and simplicity of temper’ – her work is ancient, but restrained in a vaguely Protestant way that Gosse, lapsed though he was, might ﬁnd congenial. And in avoiding modern India’s ‘littleness and frivolity’, it made no inconvenient protonationalist claims on the present. Richardson’s 1840 Selections was designed to be the foundation stone of an Indian English curriculum. By the 1870s when Toru Dutt was writing, this curriculum was well established and had moved beyond the conﬁnes of the Hindu College.