Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Postcolonial Studies


In this volume Suvir Kaul addresses the relations between literary culture, English commercial and colonial expansion, and the making of 'Great Britain' in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He argues that literary writing played a crucial role in generating the vocabulary of British nationalism, both in inter-national terms and in attempts to realign political and cultural relations between England, Scotland, and Ireland. The formal innovations and practices characteristic of eighteenth-century English literature were often responses to the worlds brought into view by travel writers, merchants, and colonists. Writers (even those suspicious of mercantile and colonial expansion) worked with a growing sense of a 'national literature' whose achievements would provide the cultural capital adequate to global imperial power, and would distinguish Great Britain for its twin success in 'arms and arts'. The book ranges from Davenant's theatre to Smollet's Roderick Random to Phillis Wheatley's poetry to trace the impact of empire on literary creativity.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Edinburgh
Publication year:
  • 2009