Colonial Strangers: Women Writing the End of the British Empire

Synopsis

Colonial Strangers revolutionizes modern British literary studies by showing how our interpretations of the postcolonial must confront World War II and the Holocaust. Lassner's analysis reveals how writers such as Muriel Spark, Olivia Manning, Rumer Godden, Phyllis Bottome, Elspeth Huxley, and Zadie Smith insist that World War II is critical to understanding how and why the British Empire had to end. These authors revised modern fictional form by linking the end of the empire to the end of fascism. Drawing on memoirs, fiction, reportage, and film adaptations, Colonial Strangers explores the critical perspectives of women who are passionately engaged with Britain's struggle to yield the last vestiges of imperial power. Lassner also examines how these writers correct prevailing stereotypes of British women as agents of imperialism by questioning their own participation in British claims of moral righteousness and British politics of cultural exploitation. The authors discussed take center stage in debates about connections between the racist ideologies of the Third Reich and the British Empire. Colonial Strangers reveals how the literary responses of key artists represent not only compelling reading, but also a necessary intervention in colonial and postcolonial debates and the canons of modern British fiction.

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