British India and Victorian Culture extends current scholarship on the Victorian period with a wide-ranging and innovative analysis of the literature of British India.
The book traces the development of Anglo-Indian writing from its genesis in the 1820s and 1830s through the nineteenth century. Previously unstudied texts by women poets and travel-writers, members of the colonial administration and British and Indian contributors to the periodical press are examined alongside the well-known work of Rudyard Kipling and William Jones. Key events of Victorian India - the Indian Mutiny, the sati controversy, the rise of Bengal nationalism - are re-aligned within a dual literary and political context, emphasising the engagement of both colonizer and colonized writers with canonical British literature as well as their responses to their immediate surroundings. At the same time, the book explores the colonizers' enduring concern with their own representations of 'home'.
The book argues that the colonial literature of British India demonstrates the existence of a distinct Anglo-Indian cultural community, self-defined against Britain as well as against its colonial surroundings, and at times open to the inclusion of Indian as well as British participants. In doing so, it transforms our current understanding of the literature of British India and its relationship to Victorian culture.