Writing the Urban Jungle: Reading Empire in London from Doyle to Eliot

Writing the Urban Jungle: Reading Empire in London from Doyle to Eliot

by Joseph McLaughlin
     
 

ISBN-10: 081391972X

ISBN-13: 9780813919720

Pub. Date: 03/29/2000

Publisher: University of Virginia Press

Much has been written about cultural imperialism and the effects of Britain and British culture on colonized people, but Joseph McLaughlin suggests that the influence worked both ways. Focusing on the relationship between the literature of British imperialism and turn-of-the-century metropolitan culture, Writing the Urban Jungle offers an account of the cultural

Overview

Much has been written about cultural imperialism and the effects of Britain and British culture on colonized people, but Joseph McLaughlin suggests that the influence worked both ways. Focusing on the relationship between the literature of British imperialism and turn-of-the-century metropolitan culture, Writing the Urban Jungle offers an account of the cultural confusion caused by bringing the foreign home.

Narrative, plots, and language formerly used to describe the colonies, McLaughlin argues, became ways of reading and writing about life in London, "that great cesspool into which all loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained," as Arthur Conan Doyle's Dr. Watson describes it in A Study in Scarlet (1887), the initial Sherlock Holmes tale. Canonical and popular literature by Doyle, Margaret Harkness, Joseph Conrad, and T. S. Eliot, and the literature of social reform and urban ethnography by General William Booth of the Salvation Army and Jack London all display this inversion of colonial rhetoric. By deploying the metaphor of "the urban jungle," these writers reconfigure the urban poor as "a new race of city savages" and read urban culture as a "Darkest England," an Africa-like place rife with danger and novel possibilities.

Drawing from and extending the field of criticism pioneered by Edward Said, Writing the Urban Jungle presents a powerful new paradigm for reading late-Victorian, modernist, and postcolonial literary and historical texts. It also provides a fresh tool for urban anthropologists working in our own fin-de-siècle.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813919720
Publisher:
University of Virginia Press
Publication date:
03/29/2000
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
234
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsxi
1An Irritation to Metaphor: Late-Victorian London as Urban Jungle1
2Holmes and the Range: Frontiers Old and New in A Study in Scarlet27
3The Romance of Invasion: Cocaine and Cannibals in The Sign of Four53
4Colonizing the Urban Jungle: General Booth's In Darkest England and the Way Out79
5Writing London: East End Ethnography in Jack London's The People of the Abyss104
6Where Does the East End?: With Conrad in Darkest Soho133
7"What Are the Roots That Clutch?": Money, Migration, and The Waste Land168
Notes195
Bibliography221
Index229

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