Sex, Sailors and Colonies

Narratives of ambiguity in the works of Pierre Loti

by Hélène de Burgh (Author)
©2005 Thesis 324 Pages


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.


ISBN (Softcover)
Loti, Pierre Exotik Colonialism French Literature Transgressions /Orient Identity /Colonie Kolonialismus (Motiv)
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2005. 324 pp.

Biographical notes

Hélène de Burgh (Author)

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.


Title: Sex, Sailors and Colonies