Fieldwork of Empire, 1840-1900: Intercultural Dynamics in the Production of British Expeditionary Literature examines the impact of non-western cultural, political, and social forces and agencies on the production of British expeditionary literature; it is a project of recovery. The book argues that such non-western impact was considerable, that it shaped the discursive and material dimensions of expeditionary literature, and that the impact extends to diverse materials from the expeditionary archive at a scale and depth that critics have previously not acknowledged. The focus of the study falls on Victorian expeditionary literature related to Africa, a continent of accelerating British imperial interest in the nineteenth century, but the study’s findings have the potential to inform scholarship on European expeditionary, imperial, and colonial literature from a wide variety of periods and locations. The book’s analysis is illustrative, not comprehensive. Each chapter targets intercultural encounters and expeditionary literature associated with a specific time period and African region or location. The book suggests that future scholarship – especially in areas such as expeditionary history, geography, cartography, travel writing studies, and book history – needs to adopt much more of a localized, non-western focus if it is to offer a full account of the production of expeditionary discourse and literature.
"The broader insights generated by this comparative approach are precisely what makes the book a must-read for historical geographers working on the his-tory of travel, exploration and empire."
- Edward Armston-Sheret, Royal Holloway, London, UK, Journal of Historical Geography
This series publishes monographs and essay collections on literature, art, and culture in the context of the diverse aesthetic, political, social, technological, and scientific innovations that arose among the Victorians and Modernists. Viable topics include, but are not limited to, artistic and cultural debates and movements; influential figures and communities; and agitations and developments regarding subjects such as animals, commodification, decadence, degeneracy, democracy, desire, ecology, gender, nationalism, the paranormal, performance, public art, sex, socialism, spiritualities, transnationalism, and the urban. Studies that address continuities between the Victorians and Modernists are welcome. Work on recent responses to the periods such as NeoVictorian novels, graphic novels, and film will also be considered.