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ELT 49 :1 2006 informed by an awareness of Forster's writings on Indian art and architecture , focusing on the recurrent use of architecture to establish and expand its ideas. Plato's cave jostles against the Jain ones of central India, Castor and Pollux with the Vedic horsemen, in a rich and heady (and ultimately somewhat over-egged) combination. With the conclusion of A Passage to India Forster's "Orientalist project" comes to an end, and, as Jeffreys would have it, Forster "flew back to his old Hellenic habits again with the composition of his 'Priapic' short stories." The compartments here seem too hermetically sealed, perhaps a tendency overly present throughout where the writer is sometimes content to pronounce this "Hellenic," that "Orientalist." This is nonetheless an interesting study, through a kaleidoscope at moments, of Cavafy, a writer whom Forster famously saw as standing at "a slight angle to the universe," and of Forster himself, who, less angular and at a time before multiculturalism was not a tired buzzword, took in a surprisingly large part of it. J. H. STAPE ________________ Vancouver A Raj Quartet A Raj Collection. Saros Cowasjee, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. 1 + 1,032 pp. $35.00 THIS VOLUME is a Raj quartet: it is a collection of four AngloIndian novels, which were published in 1896, 1912, 1943 and 1947, and which cover events in the Raj over a century. The novels are On the Face of the Waters, Siri Ram—Revolutionist, Indigo, and The Wild Sweet Witch, and the editor, Saros Cowasjee, says that they are "four outstanding Raj novels not readily available" (v). These four novels cover an even wider period and an even wider range of subjects than Paul Scott's The Raj Quartet, which, as Saros Cowasjee says at the start of his introduction, "mirrors a spectrum of British views of India from Kipling to Independence." The four novels in A Raj Collection are not, however, as important as Scott's, although they are frequently interesting , well written, and insightful, not least the two novels that belong to the period 1880-1920. Flora Annie Steel's On the Face of the Waters (1896) and Edmund Candler's Siri Ram—Revolutionist (1912) are striking novels partly because of the attention they give to the natural world. Indeed, nature stands as an important metaphor for the Empire when we are repeatedly reminded of the English flowers planted in India. For instance, Kate Erlton in On the Face of the Waters "loved her poor clumps of English annuals more than all the scented and blossoming shrubs 76 Book reviews which, in those late March days, turned the garden into a wilderness of strange perfumed beauty," so "if a visitor remarked that anything in her environment was reminiscent of the old country, she rejoiced." Englishmen have estates "kept like an English garden" with "lines of English annuals in pots." The flowers are not suited to the environment, though: when Major Erlton picks some of his wife's English flowers for the grave of the child of Alice Gissing, his mistress, it is noted that the flowers will die very quickly. We are even told by Violet Powell, in her preface to On the Face of the Waters, that when Steel's husband retired "he left behind him the pleasant reputation as having been 'the Sahib who planted gardens,' for his fingers were of the greenest"—and, of course, he was, appropriately, married to Flora. Similarly, in Christine Weston's Indigo (1943), Colonel Macbeth "built his house on a speck of Empire which once supported only the missionaries' tent," and "pushed away the deodar forest and laid out his English garden": "Whenever the Colonel returned from his campaigns he discovered some patch of earth which might be persuaded to yield something better than stones or lizards." Edmund Candler's novel provides some wonderful descriptions of the countryside of India. On a political pilgrimage, Siri Ram passes through beautiful green lands that Candler describes in detail: "Siri Ram might have seen a pageant of English flowers if he had had eyes for anything besides his wrongs, borage and milfoil and mullein and bladder campion and the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 76-79
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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