China and the Victorian Imagination

China and the Victorian Imagination : Empires Entwined

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What happens to our understanding of 'orientalism' and imperialism when we consider British-Chinese relations during the nineteenth century, rather than focusing on India, Africa or the Caribbean? This book explores China's centrality to British imperial aspirations and literary production, underscoring the heterogeneous, interconnected nature of Britain's formal and informal empire. To British eyes, China promised unlimited economic possibilities, but also posed an ominous threat to global hegemony. Surveying anglophone literary production about China across high and low cultures, as well as across time, space and genres, this book demonstrates how important location was to the production, circulation and reception of received ideas about China and the Chinese. In this account, treaty ports matter more than opium. Ross Forman challenges our preconceptions about British imperialism, reconceptualizes anglophone literary production in the global and local contexts, and excavates the little-known Victorian history so germane to contemporary debates about China's 'rise'.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 3 b/w illus. 2 maps
  • 1139003801
  • 9781139003803

Review quote

'... an immensely valuable and rewarding piece of scholarship.' Mia Chen, Review 19 'Ross Forman's China and the Victorian Imagination compellingly exposes China's critical role in Britain's imperial self-fashioning ... What Forman does exceptionally well - and what is perhaps the most important work of his book - is his careful but firm revision of a concept of Orientalism that has proven increasingly outdated and faulty.' Shanyn Fiske, Journal of British Studiesshow more

Table of contents

Introduction: topsy-turvy Britain and China; 1. The manners and customs of the modern Chinese: narrating China through the treaty ports; 2. Projecting from Possession Point: James Dalziel's chronicles of Hong Kong; 3. Peking plots: representing the Boxer Rebellion of 1900; 4. Britain 'knit and nationalised': Asian invasion novels in Britain, 1898-1914; 5. Staging the celestial; 6. A cockney Chinatown: the literature of Limehouse, London; Conclusion: no rest for the more

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