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Out of Bounds

Out of Bounds: Anglo-Indian Literature and the Geography of Displacement

Copyright Date: 2011
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    Out of Bounds
    Book Description:

    Out of Boundsfocuses on the crucial role that conceptions of iconic colonial Indian spaces-jungles, cantonments, cities, hill stations, bazaars, clubs-played in the literary and social production of British India. Author Alan Johnson illuminates the geographical, rhetorical, and ideological underpinnings of such depictions and, from this, argues that these spaces operated as powerful motifs in the acculturation of Anglo-India. He shows that the bicultural, intrinsically ambivalent outlook of Anglo-Indian writers is acutely sensitive to spatial motifs that, insofar as these condition the idea of home and homelessness, alternately support and subvert conventional colonial perspectives.

    Colonial spatial motifs not only informed European representations of India, but also shaped important aesthetic notions of the period, such as the sublime. This book also explains how and why Europeans' rhetorical and visual depictions of the Indian subcontinent, whether ostensibly administrative, scientific, or aesthetic, constituted a primary means of memorializing Empire, creating an idiom that postcolonial India continues to use in certain ways. Consequently, Johnson examines specific motifs of Anglo-Indian cultural remembrance, such as the hunting memoir, hill station life, and the Mutiny, all of which facilitated the mythic iconography of the Raj. He bases his work on the premise that spatiality (the physical as well as social conceptualization of space) is a vital component of the mythos of colonial life and that the study of spatiality is too often a subset of a focus on temporality.

    Johnson reads canonical and lesser-known fiction, memoirs, and travelogues alongside colonial archival documents to identify shared spatial motifs and idioms that were common to the period. Although he discusses colonial works, he focuses primarily on the writings of Anglo-Indians such as Rudyard Kipling, John Masters, Jim Corbett, and Flora Annie Steel to demonstrate how conventions of spatial identity were rhetorically maintained-and continually compromised. All of these considerations amplify this book's focus on the porosity of boundaries in literatures of the colony and of the nation.

    Out of Boundswill be of interest to not only postcolonial literary scholars, but also scholars and students in interdisciplinary nineteenth-century studies, South Asian cultural history, cultural anthropology, women's studies, and sociology.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6028-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Time Line
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Maps
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. xvii-xxxiv)

    So reported the fourteenth-century chroniclers of the Liao dynastic history, theLiaoshi.¹ The Liao and Jin states, on China’s northeastern borders, were dominated by forceful, horse-riding, militaristic aristocracies of steppe and forest. Historically, the Liao (907–1125), founded by Kitan tribesmen, and the Jin (1115–1234), established by Jurchen tribes, were the first of four conquest dynasties that originated in inner Asia. Together they successively dominated the late imperial period, which included the Mongol Yuan (1264–1368) and the Manchu Qing (1644–1912). Each conquest carved out a larger portion of China, until first the Mongols and later the Manchus...

  8. ONE Womanly Ideals in the Liao and Jin Periods
    (pp. 1-25)

    Well-behaved women did indeed make history in the pages of Chinese texts.¹ Since the publication of theHou Hanshu(History of the Latter Han Dynasty) in the fifth century, biographical sketches of virtuous women have been featured in the dynastic histories in a special section titledLienü zhuan(Biographies of Exemplary Women). Women in these pages are praised as good mothers and wise counselors, for practicing filial piety, or for other examples of conspicuous virtue. A number of histories published between the fifth and tenth centuries containlienüchapters. In addition to theHou Hanshu, historian Richard Davis lists the...

  9. TWO Liao Women’s Daily Lives
    (pp. 26-53)

    The daily lives of the peoples in northern China nearly a thousand years ago are not easily discovered today. While dynastic histories and inscriptions provided the main sources for the discussion of exemplary women in the first chapter, information on daily life comes mainly from tomb artifacts, tomb wall paintings, or a few extant works of the period. This chapter examines the pastoralist lifestyle, daily life of Kitan women, and the lifestyles of haner women living under Liao rule.

    The lands of the Liao and Jin states were centered in present-day Inner Mongolia and Jilin and Liaoning provinces, with the...

  10. THREE Jin Women’s Daily Lives
    (pp. 54-79)

    From the examination of Jinlienüin chapter 1 we know that Jurchen women were praised for martial acts, and eyewitness reports of Jurchen society describe how Jurchen girls were free to walk the streets singing of their accomplishments. They participated in raucous parties and drank with men, rode astride, and hunted, and they took part in abduction or elopement marriages—willingly or otherwise. Betrothals and marriages were serious commitments, in which most wives became—in effect—the property of the groom and his family. Dowries, which in other contexts provided married women with a certain degree of security, were...

  11. FOUR Sexuality and Marriage
    (pp. 80-105)

    Sometime during the tonghe period (983–1012), the Liao emperor Shengzong married off his daughter, Princess Yueguo, to the nobleman Xiao Xiaozhong (983–1012). We do not know the exact date of the wedding, but since the emperor was twelve when he began his reign, a daughter born to him could not have attained marriageable age much before the year 1000, and the marriage must have taken place before 1012, when Xiaozhong died. Very little is known of Princess Yueguo, but she might have been as young as thirteen or fourteen at the time of her marriage. According to Xiao...

  12. FIVE Widowhood and Chastity
    (pp. 106-120)

    Emperor taizu, the first emperor of the Liao dynasty, died in the late summer of 926 and was laid to rest after a long period of mourning.¹ One can imagine the scene of the concluding ceremony, held on a bleak afternoon of a bitterly cold day in the last month in the second year of Taizong’s reign. The sky was dark with low, scudding clouds and stinging snow was blown horizontal by the wind—then suddenly red blood stained the white ground! According to theLiaoshi, when the emperor died, his wife, Empress Chunqin, took the title of Yingtian as...

  13. SIX Warrior Women
    (pp. 121-140)

    As theliaoshireports, Liao women, including empresses and imperial concubines, were skilled in military affairs, shooting, and riding. Many were well educated, and some proved to be skilled and capable administrators as well. Considered fully in their time and place, the warrior women of the Liao were truly unprecedented. Among the most remarkable were three women discussed in this chapter. The first is Empress Yingtian, wife of the first Liao emperor, Abaoji, who assisted the emperor on numerous occasions in military affairs and commanded her own military division. The second is the Liao empress dowager Chengtian, who ran the...

  14. SEVEN Private Affairs
    (pp. 141-164)

    This chapter takes up three areas of women’s lives in the Liao and Jin periods that have been mentioned in passing in earlier chapters but that deserve more thorough treatment: first, the question of women’s education; second, religion, with particular attention to Liao and Jin women’s participation in Buddhism; and last an alleged romance between Empress Chengtian and Grand Councilor Hann Derang.

    As discussed in the preceding chapters, many notable women had a love of learning, wrote poetry and prose, read the classics, and were skilled in argumentation based on Confucian texts. Women’s education was clearly important in the Liao...

  15. Conclusion
    (pp. 165-182)

    The preceding chapters have been organized topically, each dealing with a single issue, such as women’s daily lives, aspects of betrothal and marriage, widowhood, warrior women, and so forth. The internal organization of each chapter attempts to follow persons or topics sequentially, but the data is often imprecise in terms of date or relative chronology. The range of the book is broad, covering over three hundred years, and the synchronic method is not ideal for attempting to answer questions of how changes occurred over time and what factors influenced or precipitated change. At the same time that Liao and Jin...

  16. Notes
    (pp. 183-208)
  17. Glossary
    (pp. 209-222)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 223-240)
  19. Index
    (pp. 241-252)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 253-255)