In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Book Reviews, 32:2, 1988 fantasy. But Eby, carried away by biography, devotes much space to Barrie's well-known obsessions with young boys, the precise connection with martial spirit seemingly lost. In a chapter on Kipling, the martial spirit is fully operative, and Eby employs biography and critical analysis in an illuminating manner. But in a chapter involving A. Conan Doyle, he begins with four and a half pages on Sherlock Holmes, whose relevance to the "jingoist scaremongering associated with the 1890s," except for one possible tale, is not immediately apparent. Eby, however , moves into Doyle's writings on the Boer War (for which he was knighted) and his later fiction, including his final Holmes story in 1917, "a spy story in the worn groove of William Le Queux." Despite occasional wanderings (again, in the chapter on Rupert Brooke, miscellaneous biography goes on for many pages before the martial spirit emerges), Eby's amusing study illuminates a cultural angst of the transitional period intensified by the wave of literacy initiated by the Elementary Education Act of 1870, which established free secular schools. The result was an unprecedented number of magazines, newspapers, and books that were churned out to meet the new demand for entertainment, much of it jingoist. Karl Beckson __________________________________Brooklyn College, CUNY______________ LITERATURE OF EMPIRE D. C. R. A. Goonetilleke. Images of the Raj: South Asia in the Literature of Empire. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988. $29.95 Professor Goonetilleke, who teaches at the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, has written a short but useful book about the fiction of Rudyard Kipling, Leonard Woolf, E. M. Forster, George Orwell, and Paul Scott. Although the subtitle speaks of South Asia, considerations are largely focused on limited areas of India, Sri Lanka, and Burma. Even Kipling, the writer most often identified with a sense of India as a cultural entity, wrote only about the northern sectors and knew very little about, and never paid much attention to, South India, which in itself is a subcontinent. South Asia is simply too vast to be generalized about, either by Asians or by English novelists. An intense anger underlies Goonetilleke's concept of imperialism; it comes very close to the surface in such remarks as "Self-interested economic motives form the primary factor in imperialism, while selfinterested political considerations are the secondary factor" (5); and it damages his assessments of creative achievement. A reader would never gather from either the first chapter, "Early Responses," or the 214 Book Reviews, 32:2, 1988 last, "Beyond Stereotypes," that historians of the last half-century have been amassing a formidable amount of statistical evidence that documents the economic damage imposed on English commercial, social, and political structures by imperial responsibilities (expenditures for the Army and Navy, protection for English civilians, the expense of educational facilities, the building of railroads, the training of a civil service, etc.). Whether this money was well-spent or not is a matter for debate, and Goonetilleke may reasonably argue that it did not compensate for moral damage inflicted on native populations. Nevertheless, the budgets of the Chancellor for the Exchequer from the turn of the century were never realistic about the increasingly heavy costs of Empire. In Micawber's famous formulation, expenditures exceeded income long before World War II cancelled the notion of a permanent Empire covering one-third of the earth's land. (The Empire reached its maximum extent in 1921, by the way.) The days of the Raj were doomed fully as much by the fact that the British Empire did not pay its way as by the unrest and resistance of native populations. Much the same may be said about other empires constructed hastily during the nineteenth century; relatively little remains of the dynastic flags planted in Africa between 1870 and 1910; and Images of the Raj would benefit from fuller recognition of the quarrel among historians as to the true nature of imperialism, who gained and who lost from its existence, and which of Goonetilleke's chosen writers was best placed-during his stay in South Asia-to move up and down through social and administrative levels of the English ruling class as well as...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 214-217
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.