Outpost Aesthetics: The Literary Culture of British-Occupied Java, 1811-1816

James Mulholland


This essay examines the “outpost literature” of Britain’s Asian colonies and its relation to India. The occupants of these trading ports and seaside towns defined their writing on their own terms and, rather than to reproduce the imperial dynamics of distant European authors, sought to champion their local literary cultures. By focusing on the literary culture of British Java, occupied from the Dutch during the end of the Napoleonic wars, it offers a new sense of the emergence of the multilingual colonial public spheres and raises questions about the translocal imaginations and physical realities of institutionalized print cultures that created a regional orientation for anglophone literature in Asia. With these examinations in mind, it raises new questions about how scholars should define British or English literature in an Indian Ocean and colonial framework.


Anglo-India; literature; Britain; empire; Java; nineteenth century; outpost;

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