By Ben Grant
Through enticing heavily with the paintings of Richard Francis Burton (1821-90), the enduring nineteenth-century imperial undercover agent, explorer, anthropologist and translator, Postcolonialism, Psychoanalysis and Burton explores the White Man’s ‘imperial fantasies’, and the ways that the numerous metropolitan discourses to which Burton contributed drew upon and strengthened an intimate connection among fable and tool in the house of Empire. This unique examine sheds new mild at the mechanisms of imperial appropriation and can pay specific consciousness to Burton’s courting along with his regulate ego, Abdullah, the identify wherein he famously travelled to Mecca and Medina disguised as a Muslim pilgrim. during this context, Grant additionally offers insightful readings of a few Burton’s contemporaries, similar to M?ller, du Chaillu, Darwin and Huxley, and engages with postcolonial and psychoanalytic thought for you to spotlight the challenging dating among the person and imperialism, and to motivate readers to contemplate what it capacity to learn colonial historical past and imperial narrative at the present time.
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Extra info for Postcolonialism, Psychoanalysis and Burton: Power Play of Empire (Routledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures)
Thus, when he assumes native dress, Burton moves from being a voyeur—for whom the return of his gaze is both troubling, and, as it rejects his presence, necessary to maintain his position outside the scene—to being an exhibitionist. ’25 This description is an uncannily apt one of Burton, the imperial spy, when he assumes his disguise. However, while the flaneur is, as Benjamin puts it, an ‘unknown man,’26 Burton, in his very incognito, needs must stand out. This places him in stark contrast to the ideal figure of the European who has gone native, whose principal attribute in the eyes of the European viewer is his disappearance, or the fact that he has become ‘one flesh with the crowd’.
To this hybrid offspring of civilisation and barbarism they are, I repeat, so accustomed, that they look upon us only as some hitherto unseen variety of the species; and in their curiosity they press forward eagerly, as you have done, sir, to fi nd yourself face to face with an infant elephant, or an ourang-outang marvellous for hideousness. ’ However, for the European viewer, unlike the native, Burton and Bull are easily distinguishable from these other varieties of the species, and we might say that in the European metropolis, Burton has his revenge, for here only he will be heard, and he appears amongst his semblables only to take their place as an acceptable image of the mixing of civilization and barbarism.
Produces strategies of containment. ’14 In the case of India, many of the texts translated were presented as sacred in what was a concerted effort to create a religion of Hinduism and its representative figure, the Hindu. This contained, timeless subject could then become an object of European (colonial) discourse. The translated text of ‘The’ Kama Sutra might be in English, but it is nonetheless associated with the timeless religion and culture from which it was translated and which it represents, which the non-translation of ‘Kama Sutra’ emphasizes.