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The construction of Anglo-Indian spaces in middlebrow works of Raj fiction, 1880-1914

Caddick, S (2020) The construction of Anglo-Indian spaces in middlebrow works of Raj fiction, 1880-1914. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Abstract

Although bestsellers in their time, works of Raj fiction produced by women such as Maud Diver, Sara Jeannette Duncan, Alice Perrin, and Bithia May Croker have since fallen into obscurity with the general reading public and as a source of academic inquiry. This thesis readdresses this oversight through a reading of women-authored works of Raj fiction, a field of colonial literature that this thesis identifies as being fiction produced between 1857-1949 that in some way is related to the British Raj. The thesis suggests that in their depiction of the spaces of Anglo-Indian life these works shaped impressions of the Raj, but also contributed towards the maintenance of the Empire. Analysis of the imaginative organisation of space reveals both the limitations and nuances of Anglo-Indian women’s lives and the ideological expectations of Anglo-Indian femininity which is encoded through these spaces. Through an acknowledgement that these texts are part of the conservative middlebrow genre, the thesis argues that Raj fiction functioned as a form of anxiety management, containing and resolving anxieties around about the place of European women in the Raj and of a broader imperial decline. Each chapter of the thesis focuses on key spatial locations in this fiction. The Anglo-Indian home of the bungalow was considered as to be the responsibility for Anglo-Indian women and a space where fears of transgression may be depicted and then assuaged by the narrative. The traditionally masculine club space is decentralised from its emblematic position in Anglo-Indian life and is instead read as one that must be carefully navigated by female characters. The summer capital of Simla has similar connotations to the club social scene, but the feminine reputation of that city allows a more stable imagined space to be constructed. The picnic emerges as a space from which anxieties of decline emerge; the temporary nature of the space allows for more permanent spaces to function as sites of resolution. The imperial centre of England is read as a space that can accommodate and possibly resolve anxieties that are disruptive in the less stable space of the Raj. An analysis of these specific, reoccurring spaces allows for both an alternate conception of the Raj to emerge as well as offering a method for analysing the anxiety-management function of the Raj fiction genre.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anglo-Indian fiction; Maud Diver; Sara Jeanette Duncan; Alice Fleming; Bithia May Croker; Alice Perrin; Rudyard Kipling; space; colonial anxiety; British Raj; middlebrow fiction
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Humanities & Social Science
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2020 12:22
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2020 12:22
DOI or Identification number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00012212
Supervisors: Norquay, G, Walchester, K and Morris, M
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12212

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