The "disorderly Memsahib" : political domesticity in Alice Perrin's empire fiction

Title: The "disorderly Memsahib" : political domesticity in Alice Perrin's empire fiction
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2012, vol. 38, iss. 1, pp. [123]-138
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

Examining the fiction of Alice Perrin, this essay proposes that home and domesticity in English colonial writings on India constitute a "political domesticity" where ideologies of race and empire were played out and reinforced. The placeholder of this political domesticity was the English Memsahib. Reading the colonial social sphere, which is located somewhere between the public and private sphere, the essay examines the role of the Memsahib in arranging home, social events and interactions. It demonstrates how Perrin's characterization of a "disorderly Memsahib" encodes this culture of political domesticity. The essay argues that in Perrin only those Englishwomen who fit perfectly into the norms of the English social sphere have successful domestic spheres and any disruption in either of these spheres has tragic consequences in the other as well.
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