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Exploring Victorian Travel LiteratureDisease, Race and Climate$
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Jessica Howell

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748692958

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748692958.001.0001

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Conclusion: The Afterlife of Climate

Conclusion: The Afterlife of Climate

(p.164) Conclusion: The Afterlife of Climate
Exploring Victorian Travel Literature

Jessica Howell

Edinburgh University Press

Analysis of the work of five Victorian writers – Mary Seacole, Richard Burton, Africanus Horton, Mary Kingsley and Joseph Conrad – has shown how images of climate morphed and changed through the latter half of the nineteenth century. The longevity of climate in the literature of Empire, therefore, shows that Victorian authors were not only concerned with containing risk, but also with unbinding it, allowing disease to float in the air or travel on the tides. The Conclusion shows how later writers have reinterpreted the relationship between of tropical environments and illness. W. Somerset Maugham uses tropes of tropical illness in his early twentieth-century novel of imperial nostalgia, The Explorer. In contrast, postcolonial authors both seek to lay to rest colonial portrayals of threatening tropical landscapes and to reinvigorate these landscapes with their own associations. As an example, the Conclusion ends by analysing Wilson Harris’s novel Palace of the Peacock.

Keywords:   Postcolonial literature, Caribbean literature, Imperial nostalgia, Adventure literature, race and climate

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