Out of Place: Englishness, Empire and the Locations of Identity
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The Intimacies of Four Continents. Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin. Review Honorable Mention for the First Book Prize of the Modern Language Association Out of Place is an impressive volume, ambitious in its scope, sophisticated in its argument, and elegant in its execution.
Out of Place: Englishness, Empire and the Locations of Identity. By Ian Baucom
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Mr Baucom likes the falsely scientific vocabulary of theory so much that he both occasionally says the obvious in a way that sounds precious and also sometimes follows the logic of a wrongly framed argument far away from the primary text he purports to discuss. For example, instead of writing the obvious fact that maps were important to the Raj, the reader finds this: Kim is then resurrected as "the zombielike R Kim's identity as a British agent remains as vivid as it was before he takes service with the Raj and his devotion to the lama as intense.
And even at the book's opening Kim unwittingly enforces British dominance in bullying an Indian child. That said, "another reader's" review should be taken as a warning by any potential purchaser who is not interested in a scholarly engagement with these topics.
Baucom is a professor at Duke University--it therefore makes all the sense in the world that his work engages with an academic discourse that may frustrate some readers as jargonistic. My advice to casual readers then is to understand the Prof. Baucom's context before deciding to read this book. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.
Book Review: Out of place. Englishness, empire, and the locations of identity
Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Set up a giveaway. There's a problem loading this menu right now. This excellent book will remain on my desktop for as long as I teach postcolonial literatures, and it was a great resource from which I read and quoted regularly in my recent graduate seminar on texts from Conrad to Naipaul. James, and, finally, Naipaul and Rushdie, and he sees these works against a background of symbolic, psychological, and architectural statements: As one reviewer quoted on the cover summarizes, Baucom's book is an analysis "of imperial crisis zones.
Project MUSE - Out of Place: Englishness, Empire, and the Locations of Identity (review)
The greatest crisis was the imperialist project itself, the aftermath of which has radically changed England's politics and its population, the racial configuration, the sense of identity, the reality of a concept of "Englishness. The imperial architecture of the manor house, built by the proceeds of what Baucom describes as the trade in slaves and rum, is also represented [End Page ] in Rhys's novel in which the Romantic English house becomes a mad house, a "prison house of memory" Baucom's analysis of Rhys's novel is the best I have read, and my comparison includes an essay by Gayatri Spivak, who currently ranks in critical circles with Homi Bhabha, Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, and Salman Rushdie, among others, whom Baucom consults and understands, in my opinion, better than they understand themselves.
Throughout my reading of this text, I wondered why the author had seemingly neglected Shakespeare, that standard of "Englishness" and the English language, itself historically seen as an argument for imperialism.
In the last chapter, however, Baucom makes impressive political and poetic use of Shakespeare's The Tempest to illustrate his own political argument, that England is not doomed or damned but benefited by the "sea change" of its immigrant population from the "Empire," which becomes "a continuing liquid principle of cultural exchange" that will, I think Baucom believes, lead to the "something rich and strange" that Shakespeare imagined for England and for the world.
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