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Reflections on a British 're-civilising' mission: Sarah (Bowdich)Lee's 'Playing at Settlers, or the Faggot House'

Reflections on a British 're-civilising' mission: Sarah (Bowdich)Lee's 'Playing at Settlers, or the Faggot House'
Reflections on a British 're-civilising' mission: Sarah (Bowdich)Lee's 'Playing at Settlers, or the Faggot House'
Imperial and colonial juvenile literature is assumed to be ‘an excellent reflector of the dominant ideas of an age’ (Mackenzie). This article by contrast argues for a less mimetic view through close rereading of Mrs R. Lee’s Playing at Settlers, or the Faggot House (1855), particularly its unfinished critiques of high colonialism from within. The actions of its enlightened British juvenile protagonists to educate their peers, and adult interlocutors, makes this text ‘settler’ and ‘Robinsonade’ fiction with a difference, as much for Britons at home as for those overseas. The tensions, cultural specificities and multi-colonial dimensions of the text explored in this article then suggest avenues for further research on juvenile works of the period, whether British or other European. Recovery of other similar, yet forgotten, works for children not only invites more informed reappraisal of them, but also of over-zealous postcolonial readings of the ‘civilising mission’ that have denied vociferous counter-colonial voices in juvenile, next-generational form.
1755-6198
135-150
Orr, Mary
3eec40eb-479c-4c9a-b2da-7388a27f9d5c
Orr, Mary
3eec40eb-479c-4c9a-b2da-7388a27f9d5c

Orr, Mary (2012) Reflections on a British 're-civilising' mission: Sarah (Bowdich)Lee's 'Playing at Settlers, or the Faggot House'. International Research in Children's Literature, 5 (2), 135-150. (doi:10.3366/ircl.2012.0058).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Imperial and colonial juvenile literature is assumed to be ‘an excellent reflector of the dominant ideas of an age’ (Mackenzie). This article by contrast argues for a less mimetic view through close rereading of Mrs R. Lee’s Playing at Settlers, or the Faggot House (1855), particularly its unfinished critiques of high colonialism from within. The actions of its enlightened British juvenile protagonists to educate their peers, and adult interlocutors, makes this text ‘settler’ and ‘Robinsonade’ fiction with a difference, as much for Britons at home as for those overseas. The tensions, cultural specificities and multi-colonial dimensions of the text explored in this article then suggest avenues for further research on juvenile works of the period, whether British or other European. Recovery of other similar, yet forgotten, works for children not only invites more informed reappraisal of them, but also of over-zealous postcolonial readings of the ‘civilising mission’ that have denied vociferous counter-colonial voices in juvenile, next-generational form.

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Published date: December 2012
Organisations: Modern Languages

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 359372
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/359372
ISSN: 1755-6198
PURE UUID: 4c53c11a-f5a4-4476-b36d-4c3e49c0aca7

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Date deposited: 29 Oct 2013 10:05
Last modified: 16 Jul 2019 21:18

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