Under Western Eyes: India from Milton to Macaulay
Duke University Press, 1999 - 267 sider
Spanning nearly two and a half centuries of English literature about India, Under Western Eyes traces the development of an imperial discourse that governed the English view of India well into the twentieth century. Narrating this history from its Reformation beginnings to its Victorian consolidation, Balachandra Rajan tracks this imperial presence through a wide range of literary and ideological sites. In so doing, he explores from a postcolonial vantage point collusions of gender, commerce, and empire—while revealing the tensions, self-deceptions, and conflicts at work within the English imperial design.
Rajan begins with the Portuguese poet Camões, whose poem celebrating Vasco da Gama's passage to India becomes, according to its eighteenth-century English translator, the epic of those who would possess India. He closely examines Milton's treatment of the Orient and Dryden's Aureng-Zebe, the first English literary work on an Indian subject. Texts by Shelley, Southey, Mill, and Macaulay, among others, come under careful scrutiny, as does Hegel's significant impact on English imperial discourse. Comparing the initial English representation of its actions in India (as a matter of commerce, not conquest) and its contemporaneous treatment of Ireland, Rajan exposes contradictions that shed new light on the English construction of a subaltern India.
Giving postcolonial thought a historical dimension, Under Western Eyes also places literary history in new perspective through postcolonial readings. It will interest scholars of cultural history, particularly British imperial history, and those engaged with postcolonial, literary, subaltern, South Asian, and cultural studies.
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Side 63 - Whereto thus Adam fatherly displeased. "O execrable son so to aspire Above his brethren, to himself assuming Authority usurped, from God not given; He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl Dominion absolute; that right we hold By his donation; but man over men He made not lord; such title to himself Reserving, human left from human free.
Side 53 - As, when far off at sea, a fleet descried Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring Their spicy drugs; they, on the trading flood, Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape, Ply stemming nightly toward the pole : so seem'd Far off the flying fiend.
Side 51 - HIGH on a throne of royal state, which far Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind, Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold...
Side 192 - ... medical doctrines which would disgrace an English farrier, astronomy which would move laughter in girls at an English boarding school, history abounding with kings thirty feet high and reigns thirty thousand years long, and geography, made up of seas of treacle and seas of butter.
Side 201 - To whom the patriarch of mankind replied : O favourable spirit, propitious guest, Well hast thou taught the way that might direct Our knowledge, and the scale of nature set From centre to circumference, whereon, In contemplation of created things, By steps we may ascend to God.
Side 165 - The loathsome mask has fallen, the man remains Sceptreless, free, uncircumscribed, but man Equal, unclassed, tribeless, and nationless. Exempt from awe, worship degree, the king Over himself; just, gentle, wise...
Side 115 - America is therefore the land of the future, where, in the ages that lie before us, the burden of the World's History shall reveal itself— perhaps in a contest between North and South America.
Side 83 - The discovery of America, and that of a passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope, are the two greatest and most important events recorded in the history of mankind.
Side 53 - As when far off at sea a fleet descried Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles Of Ternate and Tidore, 2 whence merchants bring Their spicy drugs: they on the trading flood Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape Ply stemming nightly toward the pole. So seemed Far off the flying fiend...