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date: 19 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

What would it mean to think of empire as a challenge and an opportunity for narrative, rather than as the inevitable subtext of literary works of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? Might ‘mythology’ be used to describe a condition and aim of the novel’s development, rather than self-serving accounts of imperial purpose? These are questions posed in the present chapter, which considers Olive Schreiner’s The Story of an African Farm (1883); Rudyard Kipling’s Kim (1901); and Joseph Conrad’s Almayer’s Folly (1895) and An Outcast of the Islands (1896). These novels are read in relation to a range of texts of the period, including reviews published in the periodical press; research in comparative mythology; and debates about the relative merits of novels of romance and realism.

Keywords: colonial literature, context of intelligibility, empire, mythology, narrative, realism, romance, Rudyard Kipling, Olive Schreiner, Joseph Conrad

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