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Lands of Desire and Loss

British Colonial and Postcolonial Spaces

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Nicoletta Brazzelli

Lands of Desire and Loss develops an interdisciplinary approach connecting the literary and geographical imagination which shape British perception and representation of colonial and postcolonial spaces. Through her readings of literary works belonging to the dawn of colonial enterprises (Walter Raleigh’s The Discoverie of Guiana and Shakespeare’s The Tempest), the heyday of the British Empire (H. Rider Haggard’s She and W.H. Hudson’s Green Mansions) and the postcolonial consciousness refashioning old myths and cultural tropes (V.S. Naipaul’s A Way in the World), the author highlights the crucial role of ideology in narrative plots and literary metaphors concerning space. The imaginative focus of the book is El Dorado, a geographical and literary construction created and recreated at different times, shaped and reshaped in British colonial and postcolonial writing.

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PREFACE. Geography, imagination and literature ................................. 9 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ....................................................................... 15 PART ONE. Spatial dynamics CHAPTER ONE. Geopoetics: representing space ................................. 19 Intersections between geography and culture The spatial turn ............................................................................ 19 Textuality and narration .............................................................. 28 Perception and subjectivity .......................................................... 34 Space, identity and theory Colonial discourse ....................................................................... 38 Critical analysis and ideological constructions ........................... 43 The role of the imagination ......................................................... 47 Multiple perspectives Female geographies ..................................................................... 52 Writing marginality ..................................................................... 55 Desire and loss ............................................................................. 59 Visual and written spaces ............................................................ 64 CHAPTER TWO. Colonial and postcolonial geographies ..................... 69 Maps of otherness British mastery of space .............................................................. 69 Cartographies of the empire ........................................................ 78 Exploration, travels and texts ..................................................... 83 6 Unstable zones Complicity and resistance ............................................................ 87 The encounter with the other ....................................................... 92 PART TWO. Narrative frames CHAPTER THREE. The fascination with the New World ................... 101 Renaissance tropes of discovery El Dorado and the discourse of wonder ..................................... 101 The Discoverie of Guiana by Walter Raleigh: a golden utopia .......................................................................... 107 An island nowhere: Shakespeare’s The Tempest ....................... 120 CHAPTER FOUR. Imperial eyes: the lands of colonial desire ............ 133 Empire, adventure and Victorian romance Literary structures and spatial dislocation ................................. 133 The pattern of the treasure hunt ................................................. 141 Haggard’s South Africa: the landscape of dreams Henry Rider Haggard in Zululand ............................................. 148 She: the empire of imagination .................................................. 159 Topographies of desire .............................................................. 169 Hudson’s South America: the lost world of the forest W.H. Hudson from Argentina to Great Britain ......................... 179 Green Mansions: colonial and anti-colonial fantasies ............... 190 An ecological dream .................................................................. 199 CHAPTER FIVE. The postcolonial gaze: visions of loss ..................... 211 Imaginary homelands Conrad’s fictional geography .................................................... 211 Postcolonial displacement ......................................................... 223 7...

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