Settler Colonialism in Victorian Literature

Settler Colonialism in Victorian Literature : Economics and Political Identity in the Networks of Empire

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Description

How did the emigration of nineteenth-century Britons to colonies of settlement shape Victorian literature? Philip Steer uncovers productive networks of writers and texts spanning Britain, Australia, and New Zealand to argue that the novel and political economy found common colonial ground over questions of British identity. Each chapter highlights the conceptual challenges to the nature of 'Britishness' posed by colonial events, from the gold rushes to invasion scares, and traces the literary aftershocks in familiar genres such as the bildungsroman and the utopia. Alongside lesser-known colonial writers such as Catherine Spence and Julius Vogel, British novelists from Dickens to Trollope are also put in a new light by this fresh approach that places Victorian studies in a colonial perspective. Bringing together literary formalism and British World history, Settler Colonialism in Victorian Literature describes how what it meant to be 'British' was re-imagined in an increasingly globalized world.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 246 pages
  • 159 x 235 x 17mm | 520g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises; 3 Tables, black and white; 3 Maps; 4 Halftones, black and white
  • 1108484425
  • 9781108484428

Table of contents

Introduction: settler colonialism and metropolitan culture; 1. The transportable pip: liberal character, territory, and the settled subject; 2. Gold and greater Britain: the Australian gold rushes, unsettled desire, and the Global British subject; 3. Speculative utopianism: colonial progress, debt, and Greater Britain; 4. Manning the imperial outpost: the invasion novel, geopolitics, and the borders of Britishness; Conclusion.
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Review quote

'This book consistently inspires deep thinking, offering new perspectives on materials our field would benefit from knowing better. The methodological innovations are an especially significant contribution that I trust will provoke future work.' Jason Rudy, Victorian Studies '... Steer demonstrates in this book a tough-minded, materialist analysis of form that draws its evidence from works of political economy as well as literature. The result is a deeply compelling argument that charts the 'reverse migration' (187) of economic and cultural forms from the settler colonies to metropolitan markets, both financial and literary ... Perhaps most compelling in larger conceptual terms, however, are his ruptures of the settled borders that govern many assumptions about our objects of study: borders of identity and character, of nation and empire, and especially of form and literature.' Lynn Voskuil, Nineteenth-Century Contexts 'One of the real pleasures of Settler Colonialism in Victorian Literature is its attentiveness to landscape and the complicated aesthetic relationship that many migrants experienced with their new environments ... Folding historians, artists and political economists into his incisive discussion to create a vivid sense of the cultural landscape and how it inflected the generic properties of both colonial literature and the English novel ... Steer adeptly weaves sociological, literary and economic theory throughout his analysis, tracking the entanglement of intellectual, literary and commodity culture to offer a rich and nuanced account of circulating influence, via a "network of mobile writers". Importantly, he reminds his readers in his sensitive and self-reflexive conclusion that the issues he raises cannot simply be consigned to the field of Victorian studies. Rather, they leave legacies which continue to shape life in Australia and New Zealand today, and with which we must all engage. This is a superbly intelligent and wonderfully researched book, showcasing the intricacy of colonial connectedness.' Grace Moore, Journal of New Zealand Studies
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About Philip Steer

Philip Steer is Senior Lecturer in English at Massey University, Auckland. He is co-editor with Nathan K. Hensley of Ecological Form: System and Aesthetics in the Age of Empire (2018), and his essays have appeared in Victorian Studies and Victorian Literature and Culture, as well as in Modernism, Postcolonialism, and Globalism (2018) and A History of New Zealand Literature (Cambridge, 2016). He completed his doctorate at Duke University after being awarded a Fulbright Scholarship. He is also the recipient of a Marsden Fund Fast-Start Grant from the Royal Society of New Zealand.
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