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Sex, Sailors and Colonies

Burgh, Hélène de

Sex, Sailors and Colonies

Narratives of ambiguity in the works of Pierre Loti

Series: Europäische Hochschulschriften / European University Studies / Publications Universitaires Européennes - Volume 277

Year of Publication: 2005

Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2005. 322 pp.
ISBN 978-3-03910-601-1 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.430 kg, 0.948 lbs

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Book synopsis

This book focuses on the œuvre of nineteenth-century author and naval captain Julien Viaud (1850-1923) who wrote under the pseudonym Pierre Loti. Considered a best-seller in his day and a distinguished naval figure, Loti’s contribution to French naval and literary history is significant. This work suggests a new reading of Loti’s literature that positions his texts within the critical theoretical paradigms of Postcolonialism and Queer Theory.
This study examines both Loti’s fictional and non-fictional opus. It explores the dominant themes relayed throughout his œuvre including his portrayal of exotic sexuality as being underpinned by a desire to elude articulation, his uncertain approach to colonialism given the constant shift between his identity as a colonising sailor and sympathising exoticist and Loti’s own self-representation in both his fictional and non-fictional works. His constant re-invention of «Pierre Loti» as a persona in his writing creates a question about who Loti really is and how much of the man is represented in the so-called autobiographical text. These seemingly disparate themes of sexuality, colonialism and personal identity are all interrogated as posssible sites of ambiguity, thus revealing the general scope and complexity of Loti’s work.


Contents: Exotic desire and the subversion of the femme orientale as sexual heroine in the early fiction – Ambiguity and slippage as narrative in the search for an object of desire – Subliminal narratives of anti-colonialism in the fictional and non-fiction works – Identity in the Colonies: Transgressions in the Orient and the subversion of the Self.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Author: Hélène de Burgh completed her B.A. (Hons.), M.A and doctoral theses in Nineteenth-Century French culture at the University of Melbourne, Australia. In addition, she completed a Diplôme d’études approfondies at the Université de Versailles. Her research interests include applied critical theory and subcultural participation.


European University Studies: Series 13, French Language and Literature. Vol. 277