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Rule of Darkness


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Table of Contents

Introduction PART I. DAWN 1. From Dawn Island to Heart of Darkness 2. Bringing Up the Empire: Captain Marryats Midshipmen PART II. NOON 3. Thackeray's India 4. Black Swans; or, Botany Bay Eclogues 5. The New Crusades 6. The Genealogy of the Myth of the "Dark Continent" 7. The Well at Cawnpore: Literary Representations of the Indian Mutiny of 1857 PART III. DUSK 8. Imperial Gothic: Atavism and the Occult in the British Adventure Novel, 1880-1914 9. Epilogue: Kurtz's "Darkness" and Conrad's Heart of Darkness Notes Index

About the Author

Patrick Brantlinger is James Rudy Professor of English (Emeritus) at Indiana University. He is the author of many books, including Dark Vanishings, Fictions of State, Rule of Darkness, and Bread and Circuses, all from Cornell.


Rule of Darkness a title with a point of viewexplores imperialist ideology in 19th-century England from 1830 onward. Brantlinger draws on a wide range of materials to make his case: the boys' adventure novels of Captain Marryat, the fiction of Thackeray and Disraeli, personal narratives by explorers. The book concludes with a revisionist reading of Heart of Darkness. Brantlinger's argument is imposing and well documented, but this book has an ax to grind. Furthermore, the pattern of imperialistic thinking Brantlinger discerns in Victorian literature and culture is hardly astonishing. The author generally suppresses his judgmental attitude, but it lurks close enough to the surface to make Rule of Darkness somewhat tiresome. Keith Cushman, Univ. of North Carolina, Greensboro

"An outstanding analysis of imperialism in 19th-century British literature... Brantlinger deploys a real wealth of material, providing fresh insights at every turn."-Times Higher Education Supplement "The path-breaking work Brantlinger has done opens up the terrain of Victorian culture in refreshing and remarkable ways. His analysis of the imperialist impulse in many heretofore isolated phases of Victorian culture is both inspiring and dependable, a rare combination. Rule of Darkness will undoubtedly be complemented and extended by the work of others in the near future, but it is hard to see how it could be surpassed."-Novel "This learned and incisive study shows how deeply imperialist assumptions pervade Victorian narratives from the adventure yarn through the realist novel and the 'Imperial Gothic' of fantasy fiction. Brantlinger both colonizes a range of noncanonical texts and explores the imperialist darkness at the heart of such standard authors as Macaulay and Thackeray, Kipling and Conrad... His mapping of overgrown paths between Victorian liberalism and imperialism, abolitionism and racism, are invaluable guides to the imaginative politics of the last century."-Virginia Quarterly Review "Rule of Darkness is a significant contribution to studies seeking to reveal how the English in the nineteenth century created demeaning and often destructive images of Mrica and the East, images that continue to haunt twentieth-century writing, films, and attitudes."-Conradiana "An unusually full treatment of the imperialist idea as that idea developed and altered during seven decades of the nineteenth century. Patrick Brantlinger gives us a fresh and valuable discussion of the novels of Marryat, approaches Thackeray from an unusual angle, and demonstrates how crucial to the justification of the colonialist project were such matters as the Indian Mutiny and the emergence of Africa as a metaphor for savagery and darkness."-Elliot L. Gilbert, University of California, Davis

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