Narrating Africa: George Henty and the Fiction of Empire

Synopsis

Narrating Africa: George Henty and the Fiction of Empireoffers a critique of colonialist discourse and focuses on George Henty's novels as a prototype of the literature that emerged with the rise of British imperialism, in an attempt to assess the role of nineteenth-century literature both in the perpetuation of stereotypes vis--vis Africa and in the socialization of young adults. Its approach is "postcolonial" inasmuch as it breaks traditional disciplinary boundaries by analyzing and critiquing literature within historical, political, economic, and cultural contexts that enable the production, reception, and import of literary texts. Indeed today's cultural, economic, and political hegemony of Europe and the United States over Africa has a legacy deeply rooted in nineteenth-century ideologies of imperialism, colonialism, and "race," as well as in repercussions of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Thus the image of Africa as the "Dark continent," resulting from the activities of the Atlantic Slave Tradeand early Victorian explorers and missionaries, won further popularity among Victorians from all walks of life through adventure stories which became one of the vehicles for the dissemination of imperialist ideologies and concept. Narrating Africa: George Henty and the Fiction of Empireunveils the legacy, endurance, and impact of colonial stereotyping with these factors in perspective.