Anachronistic Periodization: Victorian Literature in the Postcolonial Era or Postcolonial Literature in the Victorian Era?

Chu-chueh Cheng


The intensive exchange between the British Empire and its colonies that was palpable across the nineteenth century, and the residues of the colonial past that lingers in the present evinces that between the Victorian period and postcolonial era rest multiple points of thematic interface and historical overlapping. This essay considers it vital to explore the Victorian colonial legacy in Postcolonial writing so as to elucidate the linkage of two literary periods. To begin with, it will explore how the placement of period markers shapes our understanding of the Victorian period, what constitute the epochal features of its literature, and what Victorian attributes remain in postcolonial literature. Disclosing the colonial legacy in V. S. Naipaul's The Enigma of Arrival and Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, the essay aims to propose that post-colonial writing such as the two be studied as a geographical and historical extension of Victorian literature.


anachronism, literary periodization, Victorian, postcolonial, Naipaul, Ishiguro

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