‘Crushed Flounces and Broken Feathers’: British Women’s Fashions and their Indian Servants in Victorian India

‘We have had so many inquiries respecting Indian outfits, and necessary articles of dress for the Presidencies…’ (The Englishwoman’s Conversazione, Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine, 1 July 1869). Britain’s imperial control and power over India had reached its epitome in the nineteenth century, as the East India Company had become entrenched, and later, the colonial society was consolidated by the imposition of Crown Rule in 1858. The nineteenth century, especially the second half, witnessed many British women crossing the seas to reside

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Curry Tales of the Empire

Indian curry is an extraordinarily popular genre of food, visible not only in the shape of curry houses across the world but also as take-aways, frozen curry meals and curry powders sold in grocers’ stores. But what is the history of the Indian curry? Was it Indian to begin with or a colonial imposition evolving from a simplified and over-generalized understanding of local food cultures?  This essay traces the history of Indian curry as we know it today and the

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“A Shadow of a Magnitude”: Toru Dutt’s Writing and Nineteenth-Century Cross-Cultural Dialogue

This is an ode to one of those poets of the world literary tradition whose work captured and immortalized the everlasting magnanimity of the natural world, in the spirit of the Romantic poets of the nineteenth century, who strived for excellence in the literary arts, whose life was like a temporal spring that came to an end at the time when it was blossoming; like the nightingale’s voice of Keats’ poem, or the ‘golden autumn’ of Chatterton’s. Yet it was

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Sarojini Naidu, Cultural Exchange and Anti-Imperialism

Sarojini Naidu was a nineteenth century poet and political activist. Her upbringing was, in a sense, privileged because she was born into a middle-class family of well-educated Brahmins. Her father was a scientist and her mother a Bengali poet, so she also had strong literary ties. This gave her the space and opportunity to write and develop her English poetry and yet this was not the sum of her ambition. She used her connections, English education and social standing to

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Margery Masterson, ‘The green, green grass of home: Victorian landscapes and the remains of war’

Margery Masterson is a Teaching Fellow in Modern History at the University of Bristol. She specializes in the history of the Victorian army, civil-military relationships, and in the role of scandal in politics. Her current research is on middle-class masculine Victorian violence, including the persistence of duelling in nineteenth-century Britain. This post accompanies her recent Journal of Victorian Culture ‘Bombay Graveyards and British Beaches: The Tale of a Victorian Imperial Scandal’. You can download her article here. In an absorbing

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Rabindranath Tagore: The Poetics of Landscape

Supriya Chaudhuri  (Jadavpur University) The Tagore season has passed, with his 150th birth anniversary being celebrated in 2011, so it was refreshing to listen to Anita Desai’s reading of one of Rabindranath Tagore’s early short stories, ‘The Postmaster’, as a Guardian podcast. This is one of the three stories that were filmed by Satyajit Ray in a remarkable evocation of life in the Bengal countryside close to the turn of the nineteenth century. The stories that Ray chose were all

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Trev Lynn Broughton, ‘The Bengal Obituary: Reading and Writing Calcutta Graves in the Mid Nineteenth Century’

The Bengal Obituary published epitaphs and obituaries to European ‘departed worth’. In JVC 15.1, Trev Broughton explores what this volume reveals about mourning, sentiment, and the relationship between India and Britain, colony and metropole. Grave at South Park Cemetery, Calcutta http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4049/4318023315_c498a3cc9e.jpg Browse the 1852 edition of The Bengal Obituary by clicking here To read the full article, visit http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=1355%2d5502&volume=15&issue=1&spage=39.

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Supriya Chaudhuri, ‘Phantasmagorias of the Interior: Furniture, Modernity, and Early Bengali Fiction’

The Bengali novel, Supriya Chaudhuri finds in JVC 15.1, housed suspicion and distrust of European furnishings and the bourgeois individual that collected them. In the fiction of Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), this distrust manifests itself in a rejection of the bourgeois interior and a questioning of the very tools of realist representation. Yet Chaudhuri finds similarities as well as differences between the early Bengali novel and the classic realist experiment, for both shared a horror of fussy, over-stuffed apartments and the

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