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Congo Utopia
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of English.
2016 (English)In: English Studies in Africa, ISSN 0013-8398, E-ISSN 1943-8117, Vol. 59, no 1, 63-75 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The pairing of Congo and utopia seems wilfully perverse in the context of nineteenth-century colonialism. The Congo Free State was the political outcome of a colonial discourse that represented Africa as the antithesis of civilization, a view subsequently reinforced by the sensational expose by Edmund Morel and others of the regime's own reliance upon coercion and violence. And yet, as this essay shows, the Congo has a long history as the object of utopian thought in fiction. Surveying this overlooked sub-genre of fantasy, I argue that the representation of the Congo by writers such as William Mayo, David Ker, William Le Queux, John Brisben Walker, and especially William Thomas Stead reveals not only the unique status of this colonial space in the European imagination but invites us to revisit the ideological underpinnings of colonial literature more generally.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 59, no 1, 63-75 p.
National Category
Specific Literatures General Literature Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-294705DOI: 10.1080/00138398.2016.1173279ISI: 000384911500007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-294705DiVA: diva2:931246
Available from: 2016-05-27 Created: 2016-05-27 Last updated: 2016-11-17Bibliographically approved

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