Imagined Geographies: Mapping the Oriental Habitus in the Nineteenth Century British Novel

Savi Munjal


This paper is premised on a rejection of the liberal humanist paradigm, which prioritizes the subjectivity of the protagonist(s). I will look at the novel as a spatial narrative and dwell on the use of space as a constitutive category in the nineteenth century British novel. I intend to use the neologisms coined by sociologist Pierre Bourdieu to examine the matrix between domesticity, feminine subjectivity and Orientalism in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park (1814), Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre (1847) and Wilkie Collin's The Moonstone (1868). The essay will contest post-colonial reading by Said, Bhabha and Spivak by examining the various parameters which influenced the English constitution of the Orient during the long nineteenth century. The argument is essentially two pronged: I will look at the generation of 'truth', embroiled within the Foucauldian matrix of knowledge and power and go on to examine the ruptures(if any) which generate 'dissent' in the novels under consideration.


Space; Domesticity; Empire; Orientalism; Austen; Brontë; Collins; Historiography

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