The Postcolonial Jane Austen

By You-Me Park; Rajeswari Sunder Rajan | Go to book overview

of detail. We have different forms of residence in the United States; and the interest we share, as Asian women, in English literature and postcolonial feminist cultural studies, is inflected differently by the obvious differences of the histories of India and Korea in relation to the West. If my connections with the English language and with English literature are defined by the intimacy of the colonial connection, 3 You-me's are those of the bi-lingual, bi-cultural comparitist grounded in her 'national' literature. If my politics grew out of a liberal feminist women's movement and activism within the profession of university teaching in Delhi, You-me's oppositional politics was located in Korean uprisings against US imperialism in the 1980s in Seoul. These differences have turned out to be the basis of a productive discussion about and around (in this instance) Austen and her work.

The point is not to reduce location to autobiography, but to view it in terms of a representative historical trajectory. If we wish to prevent the naturalization of our identity as Asian women in an 'alien' field, equally we must guard against exoticizing it. Our collaboration, with each other and with the contributors to this volume, is after all historically made possible by a contemporary postcolonial situation, one of whose aspects is precisely the internationalization of cultural production. This has meant the opening up of possibilities of academic collaboration across borders. The conditions of the international academic industry - publication, travel, professional diaspora, international conferences, new technologies of communication, and the institutionalization of postcolonial studies - have made it possible for us to identify and invite those from different places but shared interests to contribute to this volume. That they responded to our invitation is primarily a reflection of their friendship, and their trust in us who are not the 'natural' repositories of scholarship about our object of study; for both we are grateful. It is also a sign of the acceptance within the profession of the extension of the boundaries of the study of canonical writers that the new frameworks of cultural studies have made possible within the discipline of 'English', and it is this space that this volume occupies.

Rajeswari Sunder Rajan

New Delhi/Washington, DC


Notes
1
As Arjun Appadurai observes about cultural studies today, 'In this postblur blur, it is crucial to note that the high ground has been seized by English literature (as a discipline) in particular and literary studies in general. This is the nexus where the word theory, a rather prosaic term in many fields for many centuries, suddenly took on the sexy ring of a trend.… Social scientists look on with bewilderment as their colleagues in English and comparative literature talk (and fight) about matters that, until as recently as fifteen years ago, would have seemed about as relevant to English departments as, say, quantum mechanics' (Appadurai 1996:51).
2
F.R. Leavis's outburst is revealing. Speaking of the Ph.D. degree in the English school at Cambridge (Leavis is writing in the 1960s), he stipulates that Cambridge must maintain standards: the ideal student should be a 'First class tripos man' [sic]. Instead, he finds a 'besieging host, ever-increasing, of Indians, Africans, Commonwealth people in general, who aspire to become university teachers of English literature, and must therefore have

-xii-

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The Postcolonial Jane Austen
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Figures vii
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgements xiv
  • Part I - Introduction 1
  • 1 - Austen in the World 3
  • Part II - Austen at Home 27
  • 2 - Jane Austen Goes to the Seaside 29
  • 3 - Learning to Ride at Mansfield Park 56
  • 4 - Austen's Treacherous Ivory 74
  • 5 - Domestic Retrenchment and Imperial Expansion 93
  • 6 - Of Windows and Country Walks 116
  • Part III - Austen Abroad 139
  • 7 - Reluctant Janeites 141
  • 8 - Jane Austen Goes to India 163
  • 9 - Farewell to Jane Austen 189
  • 10 - Father's Daughters 205
  • 11 - Clueless in the Neo-Colonial World Order 218
  • Part IV - Poem 235
  • To a 'Jane Austen' Class at Ibadan University 237
  • Index 239
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