978-0-7546-5848-1 / 9780754658481

Enacting Englishness in the Victorian Period





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About the book:

Angelia Poon examines the ways in which British colonial authority in the nineteenth century was predicated on its being rendered in ways that were recognizably 'English'. Reading a range of texts by authors that include Charlotte Bronte, Mary Seacole, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, and H. Rider Haggard, Enacting Englishness in the Victorian Period focuses on the strategies - narrative, illustrative, and rhetorical - used to perform English subjectivity during the time of the British Empire.Characterizing these performances, which ranged from the playful, ironic, and fantastical to the morally serious and determinedly didactic, was an emphasis on the corporeal body as not only gendered, racialized, and classed, but as (in)visible, desiring, bound in particular ways to space, and marked by certain physical stylizations and ways of thinking. As she shines a light on the English subject in the act of being and becoming, Poon remains casts new light on the changing historical circumstances and discontinuities in the performances of Englishness to disclose both the normative power of colonial authority as well as the possibilities for resistance.

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