Empire, the National, and the Postcolonial, 1890-1920 explores the political co-operations and textual connections which linked anti-colonial, nationalist, and modernist groups and individuals in the empire in the years 1890-1920. By developing the key motifs of lateral interaction and colonial interdiscursivity, Boehmer builds a picture of the imperial world as an intricate network of surprising contacts and margin-to-margin interrelationships, and of modernism as a far more constellated cultural phenomenon than previously understood. Individual case studies consider Irish support for the Boers in 1899-1902, the path-breaking radical partnership of the
Englishwoman Sister Nivedita and the Bengali extremist Aurobindo Ghose, Sol Plaatje's conflicted South African nationalism, and the cross-border, cosmopolitan involvements of W. B. Yeats, Rabindranath Tagore, and Leonard Woolf. Underlining Frantz Fanon's perception that 'a colonized people is not alone', Boehmer significantly questions prevailing postcolonial paradigms of the self-defining nation, syncretism and mimicry, and dismantles still-dominant binary definitions of the colonial relationship.
Readership: Scholars and students of Victorian, Imperial, Modernist, American, and Postcolonial Writing
Elleke Boehmer, Elleke Boehmer is Hildred Carlile Professor of English, Royal Holloway, University of London
Review(s) from previous edition"This formidably well-researched and carefully documented book demonstrates the strengths of a complex comparative methodology in postcolonial studies. - The Yearbook of English Studies
"Empire, the National, and the Postcolonial strikes an excellent balance between theory and historical documentation. Boehmer analyses new materials alongside canonical texts, making it a very original contribution to the postcolonial field. Most importantly, it decentres the monologic narrative of imperialism, whose success greatly depended upon imposing a framework of binary opposition between the centre and its peripheries. . . . The book provides us with a fresh alternative, and a possibility of reading resistance between the margins." - Wasafiri
"This book is infinitely rich in detail, but sustains it with a broad and challenging thesis. It invites us to begin to think about the Empire not only as a discrete series of colonial events linked only through their common resistance to the imperial center, but also as a network of interacting nodes in a living and shifting historical and cultural exchange with multiple routings and dimensions." - Interventions
"Boehmer's most challenging and rewarding book to date. Her encyclopaedic knowledge and sensitivity to textual detail . . . combine excitingly with her impressive theoretical dexterity and ambition." - Journal of Southern African Studies
1. Anti-Imperial Interaction across the Colonial Borderline
Networks of Resistance
The Irish Boer War and The United Irishman
2. India the Starting Point: Cross-National Self-Translation in 1900s Calcutta
'From all points do the paths converge': A Unique Encounter
A Warlike Spirituality
The Cross-Meshed Calcutta Context
Interdiscursivity: Of Kali and the Gita
'She is in me as she is in you': Nivedita's Kali-Worship
3. 'But Transmitters'?: The Interdiscursive Alliance of Aurobindo Ghose and Sister Nivedita
Aurobindo Ghose in England: 'the spirit alone that saves'
The Young Margaret Noble: 'the ocean through an empty shell'
A Joint 'Cry for Battle'
'To assail and crush the assailant': Intertextual Links
4. 'Able to sing their songs': Solomon Plaatje's Many-Tongued Nationalism
A Barolong, a Gentleman: An Exemplary Career
Nationalism and the Transatlantic 'People's Friend'
5. 'Immeasurable Strangeness' between Empire and Modernism: W. B. Yeats and Rabindranath Tagore, and Leonard Woolf
Towards a Theory of Modernism in the Imperial World
Leonard Woolf: Reluctant Imperialism
The Cultural Nationalist as Modernist
Conclusion: A Narrative Claim upon the Jungle