Empire, the National, and the Postcolonial, 1890-1920 explores the political co-operations and textual connections which linked anti-colonial, nationalist, and modernist groups and individuals in the empire in the years 1890-1920. By developing the key motifs of lateral interaction and colonial interdiscursivity, Boehmer builds a picture of the imperial world as an intricate network of surprising contacts and margin-to-margin interrelationships, and of
modernism as a far more constellated cultural phenomenon than previously understood. Individual case studies consider Irish support for the Boers in 1899-1902, the path-breaking radical partnership of the Englishwoman Sister Nivedita and the Bengali extremist Aurobindo Ghose, Sol Plaatje's conflicted South
African nationalism, and the cross-border, cosmopolitan involvements of W. B. Yeats, Rabindranath Tagore, and Leonard Woolf. Underlining Frantz Fanon's perception that 'a colonized people is not alone', Boehmer significantly questions prevailing postcolonial paradigms of the self-defining nation, syncretism and mimicry, and dismantles still-dominant binary definitions of the colonial relationship.
`... stunning book ... Boehmer threads together different strains of thinking, attending to the common biographical and literary elements as well as local political and cultural alliances.'
the minnesota review
`Review from other book by this author a sustained, intelligent and refreshingly sceptical discussion about what constitutes the focus of postcolonial literary studies ... This is an excellent introduction to an admittedly unwieldy subject.'
Times Higher Education Supplement
1: Anti-imperial interaction across the colonial borderline: Introduction, The Irish Boer War and The United Irishman.
2: India the starting point: cross-national self-translation in 1900s Calcutta.
3: 'But Transmitters'?: The interdiscursive alliance of Aurobindo Ghose and Sister Nivedita.
4: 'Able to sing their songs': Solomon Plaatje's many-tongued nationalism.
5: 'Immeasurable strangeness' between empire and modernism: W. B. Yeats and Rabindranath Tagore, and Leonard Woolf.