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Romantic Literature and Postcolonial Studies

Elizabeth A Bohls

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This book examines the relationship between Romantic writing and the rapidly expanding British Empire. Literature played a crucial role in constructing and contesting the modern culture of empire that was fully in place by the start of the Victorian period. Postcolonial criticism's concern with issues of geopolitics, race and gender, subalternity and exoticism shape discussions of works by major authors such as Blake, Coleridge, both Shelleys, Austen and Scott, as well as their less familiar contemporaries.

Key Features:

  • Explains how key theoretical concerns of postcolonial studies - its analyses of imaginary geography, the construction of otherness or difference, and cultural hybridity - have dramatically changed our understanding of Romantic literature
  • Provides accessible yet sophisticated in-depth analyses of selected texts, in a range of genres, whose interpretation is illuminated by postcolonial criticism
  • Includes a bibliographical essay along with up-to-date bibliography of criticism, editions of primary works, and selected historical materials

About the Author

Elizabeth A. Bohls, Associate Professor of English at the University of Oregon, is the author of Women Travel Writers and the Language of Aesthetics, 1716-1818 (CUP, 1995; paperback, 2004) and articles on travel, aesthetics, gender, colonialism and slavery. She co-edited the anthology Travel Writing 1700-1830 (OUP, 2005)and is completing Captive Spaces: The Politics of Place in the British Caribbean 1772-1833.


...offers highly useful material for students embarking on the study of both Romantic and postcolonial literatures. [Is] also an indispensible part of the library of scholars with a serious intent on understanding the complexities of the empire from which much Romantic literature sprang.
- The BARS Review
[A] very worthy, lucid analysis of how colonial and sub-imperialized relationships were configured and represented (or refracted) in various texts of the Romantic era in Britain.
- Bruce Harding, Ngai Tahu Research Centre, University of Canterbury, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 50:4
Bohls provides a thorough, accessible, and up-to-date account of this field. Her book will be of enormous value to students and scholars wishing to get a sense of how empire and colonialism have impacted on Romantic period writing as well as bringing more established scholars up to speed in areas of Romantic postcolonial criticism they may not be familiar with.
- Peter J. Kitson, University of East Anglia, Romanticism, Vol 22, No3

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