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

ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY: SARA JEANNETTE DUNCAN'S RESPONSE TO KIPLING KARYN HUENEMANN University ofLondon With the emergent importance of post-colonial criticism and colonial discourse analysis, there has been renewed critical consideration of Victorian Anglo-Indian1 authors; yet, in general, critics still base their opinions of Anglo-Indian society (as a fictional locale) on the images perpetuated most vociferously in Rudyard Kipling's early stories. Despite amply literary contradiction, the popularity of Kipling's works has led critics to agree with George Orwell that "tawdry and shallow though it is, Kipling's is the only literary picture that we possess of nineteenth-century Anglo-India" (50). Unfortunately, Kipling's "literary picture" was highly biased, even misogynist. Edward Buck noted in 1904 that "no writer has perhaps done more than [Kipling] to give the outside world the idea of Simla as a centre of frivolity, jealousy and intrigue" (qtd. in Barr and Desmond 35), and it is Kipling's "mythical picture of the British memsahib" that "has lived in the annals ever since" (Allen 177). While many Anglo-Indians took umbrage at both the tone and content of Kipling's works, the most effective opponent of his negative representations of Anglo-Indian women is Sara Jeannette Duncan who, like Kipling, was an AngloIndian journalist, sub-editor, and author. While in recent years Duncan has achieved considerable acclaim as one of the pioneers of Canadian women's fiction, insufficient attention has been paid to her Anglo-Indian writing, which exhibits a remarkably refined political acumen. Thomas Tausky comments that as "a pioneering woman journalist and a sophisticated novelist, Sara Jeannette Duncan was one of the most important literary witnesses to the post-Confederation, pre-World War I era" in Canada (97). Misao Dean, in A Different Point ofView, also presents Duncan as one of the most interesting authors of this period, who blends realism, idealism and feminism in what both Dean and Tausky perceive as a highly perceptive Victorian Review 21.1 (Summer 1995) 18Victorian Review if somewhat paradoxical representation of colonial realities. George Woodcock recognizes Duncan's "political vision" (211), echoing contemporary reviewers' opinions that she "is well-up on Anglo-Indian administration" (rev. of Set in Authority (SA), Saturday Rev.) and "understands very clearly" the political relationships between India and Britain and "how necessary it is that the colonial administrator should have a free hand" (Payne, rev. of His Honour, and a Lady (HHL) 94). Tausky similarly discusses her "intimate knowledge of the ways of Anglo-Indian government" and her focus on "the psychology of politics and race relations, the role of the artist, (and more generally, the person of imagination) in an unreceptive society, and the difficulties faced by women at a time of changing morality" (102-3). These subjects are intimately connected in Duncan's Anglo-Indian novels: Duncan's social dramas, played out against the backdrop of Anglo-Indian politics, convey her beliefs regarding idealism and literary realism. Like Kipling, Duncan was an intelligent and informed observer of British policies in India, as well as Anglo-Indian social activities and attitudes; yet Duncan's fictional representation of Anglo-Indian politics and society differ in both style and content from Kipling's version, which maintained a popularity "earned by the fascinating and apparently authoritative picture they presented of British India" (Page 12). Kipling, male and tending towards a literary naturalism, relates his tales with marked cynicism and a fear of women; Duncan, female and incorporating a refreshing idealism with her political realism, approaches her world with a humor and compassion seldom found in Kipling's works. Duncan and Kipling: Anglo-Indian journalists It is well-known that Kipling was bom in Bombay, was educated in England, and rejoined his parents in Lahore in 1882, at the age of 16. He worked as a journalist and sub-editor on the Civil and Military Gazette (Lahore) from 1882 to 1887, when he transferred to the Pioneer (Allahabad), where he worked until his departure in early 1889. What is less well-known is how his family, education, and chosen career placed him within Anglo-Indian society. As a journalist (neither a member of the "heaven born" Indian Civil Service nor of...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 17-35
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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.