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Out of BoundsAnglo-Indian Literature and the Geography of Displacement$
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Alan Johnson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834838

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834838.001.0001

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Savage City

Savage City

Locating Colonial Modernity

(p.138) Chapter 4 Savage City
Out of Bounds

Alan Johnson

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter focuses on Kipling's travelogue of Calcutta, City of Dreadful Night, to demonstrate how Europe's experience of late nineteenth-century urbanism, particularly in regard to spectacle and to the figure of the flaneur, the strolling spectator, is echoed but also subverted in the colonial city. At once a copy and a betrayal of the quintessence of European urbanism, Kipling's uncanny versions of Calcutta expose fault lines that colonialism does not want to acknowledge. Drawing on the insights of Walter Benjamin, Kipling's version of Calcutta proves to be a copy of the imperial epicenter, London, but one that calls its very centrality into question. The chapter rounds out this discussion with a reading of Kipling's story “The Madness of Private Ortheris” to show how the author's fictional and non-fictional interests cohere around concerns with liminality.

Keywords:   travelogue, Calcutta, City of Dreadful Night, nineteenth-century urbanism, European urbanism, flaneur, The Madness of Private Ortheris, liminality, colonial city, Rudyard Kipling

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