Heat and lust: desire and intimacy across the (post)colonial divide

St George, Philippa (2016) Heat and lust: desire and intimacy across the (post)colonial divide. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Download (1MB)


My thesis focuses on a group of novels dealing with Indo-British interracial marriage, written at the turn of the 20th century. The novels belong to the large corpus of popular literature produced at this time about India by male and female Anglo-Indian writers whose purpose in writing was not only entertainment but also, importantly, instruction.¹ This literature has been neglected by the literary critics but repays close attention for it is a valuable archive for the study of female perspectives on British rule in India. There has been work by historians on Anglo-Indian women recently but the womens’ own fictional writing has been largely neglected. Using a historical materialist approach, one of my aims in this study is also to examine the differences of perspective on British rule evident in male and female writing on India.
The narrative trajectory is invariably the same: an ignorant British protagonist marries an Indian with whom s/he sets up home, prompted by desires which are gendered. The depiction of intimacy, I argue, is intended to illuminate the hidden space of Indian life (the home) so that marital and domestic practices which were considered to degrade Indian women may be exposed to the British reader. The link made by the British between the treatment of women and the fitness of Indian men for self-rule is important here. The representation of the Indian home as a hidden space about which the British knew very little but imagined much, offers a reading of the anxiety felt by the British about the limits of their control in India, both over the Indians and over themselves.

¹These writers include Alice Perrin, Maud Diver, Fanny Penny, E.W. Savi, Victoria Cross and Pamela Wynne; several male Anglo-Indian writers and non-Anglo-Indians are included.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > English
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary history
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2016 13:26
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:49
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/65079

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update