Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants

Title

Imperial Sentiment: Colonialism and Consequences in Owensons The Missionary

Department

English Department

College

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Disciplines

Arts and Humanities

Abstract

In The Missionary, Sydney Owensons critique of Empire hinges on emotional affect to mask individuated cultural identities. The doomed love of the Hindu Luxima and the Catholic Hilarion--the imaginary union of East and West--is both literally impotent and figuratively fruitless, culminating not in an act of union, but in Luximas decision to commit sati. The imprint of empire on Luxima is entirely traumatic, unredeemed even by the sentimentalism of the chaste love she bears Hilarion. Posing imperial union as sentiment, Owenson suggests, will stamp out individual desire, and thus individual personhood, leaving behind only alienation, madness, and death.

Conference Name

Feminism Unbound: Imagining a Feminist Future

Conference Location

Oakland, CA

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