This essay asks that we read E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India in light of its relationship to an eighteenth-century feminist Orientalism, signified by early female writers such as Eliza Fay and Phebe Gibbes. It argues that the novel, an example of modernist Orientalism, draws its archive from works of enlightenment Orientalism, including Fay’s Original Letters from India and Gibbes’s Hartly House, Calcutta. Far from trying to resolve questions of empire or offering a universal feminism, the novel negotiates and rewrites the place of the bourgeois woman to the metropolis by way of the colony.


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