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British India and Victorian Literary Culture$
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Máire ní Fhlathúin

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748640683

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748640683.001.0001

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(p.24) Chapter 2 Exile
British India and Victorian Literary Culture

Máire ní Fhlathúin

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines the ways in which the émigré community of British India conceived of their absence from ‘home’ as a kind of exile. While apparently artless, the trope of ‘home’ was not simple. The nostalgic or picturesque representation (privileging aesthetics over experience or memory) of the homeland served to reinforce affective connections between the exile and those left behind; in addition, sentimentalized images of the homeland were projected onto the Indian landscape, again effacing or limiting the value of the authentic experience of exile. Ambivalence was also at the heart of how ‘home’ was understood: it was seen, for instance, as a place of loss, death, and alienation – a place to which the exile could never return – as well as a place of innocence and lost childhood.

Keywords:   Exile, Émigré community, Picturesque, Nostalgia, Home, Childhood

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