Postcolonialism, Psychoanalysis and Burton
Power Play of Empire
By Ben Grant
Routledge – 2009 – 210 pages
By engaging closely with the work of Richard Francis Burton (1821-90), the iconic nineteenth-century imperial spy, explorer, anthropologist and translator, Postcolonialism, Psychoanalysis and Burton explores the White Man’s ‘imperial fantasies’, and the ways in which the many metropolitan discourses to which Burton contributed drew upon and reinforced an intimate connection between fantasy and power in the space of Empire. This original study sheds new light on the mechanisms of imperial appropriation and pays particular attention to Burton’s relationship with his alter ego, Abdullah, the name by which he famously travelled to Mecca and Medina disguised as a Muslim pilgrim. In this context, Grantalso provides insightful readings of a number of Burton’s contemporaries, such as Müller, du Chaillu, Darwin and Huxley, and engages with postcolonial and psychoanalytic theory in order to highlight the problematic relationship between the individual and imperialism, and to encourage readers to think about what it means to read colonial history and imperial narrative today.
"Ben Grant makes a valuable contribution to the scholarship on Burton with this book." -Victorian Studies (52:1)
List of Figures. List of Abbreviations. Acknowledgments. Introduction. 1. No Doubt We’re Underway: With Our Man in Scinde, and Elsewhere. 2. Translating / ‘The’ Kama Sutra. 3. En-crypt-ing: Burton / Abdullah. 4. Playing With Words: The Negro Question, from ‘Race’ to ‘Geographical Morality’. 5. Outside the City Walls: Gorillas and Cannibals. 6. Ending Up – Lost in the Nights. Notes. Bibliography. Index.
Ben Grant completed his PhD in Postcolonial Studies at the University of Kent, where he now teaches. He has published articles in Journal of European Studies and Third World Quarterly.