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Imagined StatesLaw and Literature in Nigeria, 1900-66$
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Katherine Isobel Baxter

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474420839

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474420839.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 07 July 2022

‘Seeking a Legal Form’: Joyce Cary’s

‘Seeking a Legal Form’: Joyce Cary’s

Mister Johnson

(p.54) 3 ‘Seeking a Legal Form’: Joyce Cary’s
Imagined States

Katherine Isobel Baxter

Edinburgh University Press

Chapter Three examines a later incarnation of the District Commissioner in Joyce Cary’s Mr Johnson. The chapter shows how, despite the novel’s ironic critiques of the figure of the District Commissioner and the policy of indirect rule, Cary reinstates the heroized exceptionalism dramatized in earlier popular District Commissioner fiction. The chapter also explores the precarious position of Mr Johnson himself as educated southerner within the administration of the North. The chapter presents the novel in terms of its animation of legal questions and the state of exception that underpinned indirect rule. The chapter’s discussion is contextualised through reference to W. R. Crocker’s scathing memoir of colonial service, Nigeria: A Critique of British Colonial Administration (1936).

Keywords:   Joyce Cary, Mr Johnson, District Commissioner, State of Exception, Indirect Rule, Colonialism, Law, Nigeria

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