This collection of essays examines the various encounters between Britain and the Other, from a cultural, racial, ethnic
171 101 3MB
English Pages 245  Year 2015
Hugh Kearney's classic account of the history of the British Isles from pre-Roman times to the present is distingui
125 113 22MB Read more
In-depth examinations of the role played by liberties across the British Isles.
272 107 5MB Read more
The very best of British and Irish nature writing selected by the natural history writer Patrick Barkham. The landscape
125 32 10MB Read more
247 17 21MB Read more
In this clear and authoritative introduction to the medieval history of the British Isles, England, Ireland, Scotland, a
195 62 30MB Read more
284 15 8MB Read more
A unique collection of concise but detailed information on 10,000 animals, plants, fungi and algae of the British Isles.
158 101 2MB Read more
A unique collection of concise but detailed information on 10,000 animals, plants, fungi and algae of the British Isles.
134 56 184MB Read more
Table of contents :
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
The Foreignness of Foreigners
The Foreignness of Foreigners Cultural Representations of the Other in the British Isles (17th-20th Centuries) Edited by
Vanessa Alayrac-Fielding and Claire Dubois
The Foreignness of Foreigners: Cultural Representations of the Other in the British Isles (17th-20th Centuries) Edited by Vanessa Alayrac-Fielding and Claire Dubois This book first published 2015 Cambridge Scholars Publishing Lady Stephenson Library, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 2PA, UK British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Copyright © 2015 by Vanessa Alayrac-Fielding and Claire Dubois and contributors All rights for this book reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. ISBN (10): 1-4438-7424-8 ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-7424-3
TABLE OF CONTENTS
List of Illustrations ................................................................................... viii Acknowledgements ..................................................................................... x Foreword .................................................................................................... xi Vanessa Alayrac-Fielding and Claire Dubois Part I: Fashioning Englishness in the 17th and 18th Centuries Chapter One ................................................................................................. 2 Otherness and English Identity in the Colony of New York in the 17th Century Anne-Claire Faucquez Chapter Two .............................................................................................. 16 ெNull’altra Musica è qui gradita che la nostra? Cultural Politics, Anti-Catholic Anxiety, and the Italian Operatic Community in London in the 1720s Xavier Cervantes Part II: Picturing Orientalisms Chapter Three ............................................................................................ 34 Robertson’s Studio. Contradictory Orients: A British Photographer in Constantinople in the Mid-Victorian Period Daniel Foliard Chapter Four .............................................................................................. 52 “Never the Twain Shall Meet”: The Impossible Encounter of Self and Other in the Illustrations of Nineteenth-Century British Travel Books on Egypt Caroline Lehni
Table of Contents
Chapter Five .............................................................................................. 74 Beyond the Screen: Encountering Otherness in W. Somerset Maugham’s On a Chinese Screen (1922) Xavier Lachazette Part III: Encounters with the Other, Exoticism and Identity Chapter Six ................................................................................................ 90 (Per)forming the Self through the Other: Gender, Transgression, Writing in Anna Jameson’s Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada (1838) Anne-Florence Quaireau Chapter Seven.......................................................................................... 105 The Role of Missionaries in Forging British Identity: The Church Missionary Society and the London City Mission, 1870-1900 Maud Michaud Chapter Eight ........................................................................................... 125 Men of Aran, Strangers on the Fringe of Europe: Authentic or Aesthetic Forms of Otherness? Valérie Morisson Part IV: Articulating Difference, Negotiating Identity Chapter Nine............................................................................................ 148 An Army of Invisible Men? Pakistani Workers in Britain (1945-1968) Olivier Esteves and Philippe Vervaecke Chapter Ten ............................................................................................. 163 Schadenfreude and Anglo-French Relations in the 20th Century: Knocking Pauvre France, Building up Great Britain: A French Foil for British Identity Richard Davis Chapter Eleven ........................................................................................ 176 Markers, Borders, Crossings: On the Representation of a Divided Space in Northern Ireland Gabriel N. Gee
The Foreignness of Foreigners
Notes........................................................................................................ 196 Contributors ............................................................................................. 225 Index ........................................................................................................ 229
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Figure 3-1: James Robertson, Porte de Sérail et Fontaine du sultan Sélim, salted paper print from a wet collodion plate, circa 1853, 25 x 30 cm, George Sirot collection, Bibliothèque nationale de France, (accession n° RESERVE VH- 273 –FOL). Figure 3-2: James Robertson and the Beato brothers, Vue du temple de Philae, paper print from a wet collodion plate, 23, 5 x 30, 1857, comte de Paris album, Bibliothèque nationale de France. Figure 3-3: James Robertson, Derviche, salted paper, hand-colored; 18 x 13.5 cm, on mount 30 x 22 cm, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (96.R.14(A2)). Figure 3-4: James Robertson, Vue de l’Arsenal, salted paper print from a wet collodion plate, 1859, 24 x 30 cm, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, collection George Sirot, circa 1855 (accession n° EO- 89 – FOL). Figure 4-1: “Temple of Luxor”. In Edwards, A Thousand Miles up the Nile (1877). London, 1993, 138. Personal collection. Figure 4-2: “Temple of Wâdi Sebû’a”. In Wilkin, On the Nile with a Camera. London, 1896, 174. “The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford” (20740 e.28). Figure 4-3: “Abdullah and the Author Setting out for the Pyramids”. In Meriwhether, Afloat and Ashore on the Mediterranean. London, 1892, facing 308. “The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford” (2034 e.54). Figure 4-4: “Noon in a Nile Boat”. In Bartlett, The Nile Boat. London, 1850, facing 34. “The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford” ((OC) 203 h.314). Figure 4-5: “Haji A. Browne (seated) and His Servant”. In Browne, Bonaparte in Egypt and the Egyptians of To-Day. London, 1907, frontispiece. Personal collection. Figure 4-6: “Omar, 1864 (from a photograph)”. In Gordon, Lady Duff Gordon’s Letters from Egypt. London, 1902, facing 174. “The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford” (247213 e.7). Figure 7-1: Inside cover of The East in the West, Joseph Salter, Religious Tract Society, London, 1895.
The Foreignness of Foreigners
Figure 7-2: Detail from The Gleaner Pictorial Album, CMS, London, 1888: a British missionary reading the Bible to a crowd of Central Africans at camp. © Church Mission Society. Figure 7-3: “The Races and Peoples among which the CMS works”, CM Gleaner, April 1880: 100. © Church Mission Society. Figure 7-4: Sketches of African Scenery: From Zanzibar to the Victoria Nyanza, Thomas O’Neill, CMS, London, 1878 (facing page 10). © Church Mission Society. Figure 7-5: “Mission to the Coalies and Carmen” LCM Magazine, 1894. © London City Mission. Figure 7-6: “Road-Sweepers in Shacklewell Lane, Dalston” LCM Magazine, 1894. © London City Mission. Figure 8-1: Haddon, Alfred Cort. The Ethnography of the Aran Islands, County Galway, A Paper Read before the Royal Irish Academy, December, 12, 1892, reprinted from the proceeding, 3rd Ser. vol. II, N° 5. Dublin: University Press, Ponsonby and Weldrick, 1893, Plates 6 and 9, black and white photograph. Figure 8-2: Seàn Keating, The Kelp Burners, Limerick City Art Gallery. Figure 8-3: Dorothy Cross, Tea Cup 1997, video still, video (3 min loop, 1hr duration), edition of 3, Image courtesy the artist and Kerlin Gallery, Dublin. Figure 11-1: Kerry Trengrove, Points of Defense IV, Berlin (1984), reproduced in the 1985 Orchard Gallery publication: Kerry Trengrove. Points of Defense (courtesy of Derry City Council). Figure 11-2: Philip Roycroft, A stay in two parts (1979), map featuring in the 1979 Orchard Gallery publication: Philip Roycroft: A stay in two parts (courtesy of Derry City Council). Figure 11-3: Philip Roycroft, A stay in two parts (1979), text featuring in the 1979 Orchard Gallery publication: Philip Roycroft: A stay in two parts (courtesy of Derry City Council). Figure 11-4: Gerry Gleason, Stalemate, 72 x 53, oil on canvas, 1988 (courtesy of the artist). Figures 11-5 and 11-6: Alastair MacLennan, Layer A Dair (1991), Actuation at the Diamond, Derry, Northern Ireland, 1pm-2pm, Saturday, 27th July 1991 (courtesy of the artist). Figure 11-7: Brian Connolly, In remembrance (1991), Installation, William Adair parlour, Derry (courtesy of the artist).
This volume grew out of a conference convened at Université Lille 3 – Charles de Gaulle in March 2011. Thanks are due to the delegates, participants and chairs of the conference for their enriching contributions. The editors would like to express their gratitude to all of those who have been involved with both the conference and the ensuing publication, especially all the contributors for their articles and for their collaboration during the editing process. We would also like to thank our colleagues from the English Department Angellier, University of Lille, for their support, in particular Catherine Maignant, Guyonne Leduc, Fiona McCann, Thomas Dutoit, Olivier Esteves, Philippe Vervaecke and Richard Davis. We are very grateful to the research centre Cecille (Centre d’études en civilisations, langues et littérature étrangères), University of Lille, for the provision of the venue and financial support. We would like to thank JeanFrançois Delcroix for his invaluable help in the various stages of this project. Finally, we wish to acknowledge the assistance of Cambridge Scholars Publishing in the development of this book.
This collection of essays gathers articles revised from the conference “The Foreignness of Foreigners: Cultural Representations of the Other in the British Isles” held at the University of Lille 3 in 2011. It aims at examining how the various figures of the foreigner have been constructed in Britain through representations and discourses in the political and literary fields, as well as in the visual arts from the 17th century to the contemporary period. These essays focus in particular on the way Otherness has participated in the shaping of a national, religious or regional identity, through ambivalent relations of domination or admiration, integration or rejection, idealisation or demonisation. Thus the question of cultural transfers is addressed to explore the particular ways in which British identity has been enriched by contacts with the Other. The relationship between the British and foreigners/others has played a crucial role in Britain’s search for a national identity and in its construction for centuries, and is still relevant today. British identity has always been forged through contacts with various cultural influences or through encounters with other nations. Those contacts, however, were often perceived as potentially threatening the supposed “essence” of the British nation. In 1785, an essay published in the Lounger n°19 bemoaned the heterogeneous, composite and hybrid nature of Britishness, seeing foreignness already oozing out of British identity. A well-educated British gentleman, it may be truly said, is of no country whatever, he unites in himself the characteristics of all the foreign nations; he talks and dresses French, and sings Italian; he rivals the Spaniard in indolence, and the German in drinking, his house is Grecian, his offices Gothic, and his furniture Chinese. He preserves the same impartiality in his religion; and, finding no solid reason for preferring Confucius to Brama, or Mahometanism to Christianity, he has for all their doctrines an equal indulgence. (The Lounger n°19, 11 June 1785.)
Of course, what the author criticises here is British identity expanding beyond geographical linguistic and religious boundaries and consequently being contaminated, so to speak, from outside, not only from Continental Europe, but also from much more distant Oriental countries. Of great
concern here in the text is the influence of foreign models and manners on the British self, the seeming lack of insularity in constructing the sociocultural, political, artistic and even religious identity of Britain. What the essay reveals is the increasing presence of cross-cultural transfers and contacts between Britain and other parts of the world from the 18th century onwards. This tells us how much British national history must be approached not just from a domestic inward-looking perspective but from a global one. It tells us that national histories cannot be understood without looking at the circulation of ideas and the various forms of friction that emerge from discoveries of and encounters with the Other, be they confrontational or leading to imitation, appropriation, cultural syncretism and combinatorial processes of identity-building. This implies the need to encompass European, as well as colonial, imperial and post-colonial histories. Anti-gallican, anti-Italian and anti-Catholic feeling; the fear of Jacobitism; the fascination for and also fear of Orientals; the tensions within the empire, then its disintegration; the UK’s relationship with Europe, or the new multicultural landscape of British society today constitute some of many phenomena that raise issues about what it means to be a British subject or citizen or to be considered foreign, alien, and why foreigners can be perceived from without the British isles but also from within. Cultural exchange can also occur through rejection and fiction mediated by the construction of difference, or by the attempt at negotiating one’s identity. As revealed by Edward Said’s seminal work on Orientalism1, the Other is always “a construction”, but as Homi Bhabha showed2, from this seemingly monolithic construction stems the Other’s voice sending contradictory signs of resistance. From the foundation of the East India Company in 1600 with its profound desire to travel eastwards through, to give a few examples, the Act of Union of 1707, the creation of the British Empire, the impact of the arrival of the Empire Windrush in 1948, Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech in April 1968, to the more recent suggestions made by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown to define and celebrate Britishness as a sum of differences yet to be united under a common sense of belonging through the emblematic Union Flag,3 it seems fair to say that the history of Britain has always had to face anxieties over what defines and constitutes identity, underlining the aporia of essentialist theories to move towards a more recomposed kind of identity.4 This volume aims at examining why and how Otherness was thus fabricated and used. It looks at the performance and staging of foreignness
The Foreignness of Foreigners
and selfhood through visual practises and discourses with their possible effects of distortions and stereotyping. This demands at times that we should decenter ourselves, even tropicalise ourselves or endorse the position of tropicopolitans, to use Srinivas Aravamudan’s words,5 to engage in a double optic – that of distance and proximity – to study the relationship between race, ethnicity and nationality. The concept of Otherness is abstract and fluctuating. Its indeterminacy allows for various modes of representation which blend myth and reality. More often than not, the perception of the foreigner spawns a feeling of strangeness, unease, even defamiliarisation when the “native” is confronted with geographical, cultural and linguistic differences. In the 17th and 18th centuries, voyages of exploration, together with commercial and colonial trips from the West to the East Indies led the English to discover other peoples and territories. 19th-century British imperialism and colonisation, 20th-century decolonisation and the rather strained British relationship with Europe raised many issues that beg the question of how the Other has been perceived and represented in Britain. These essays provide relevant case studies to explore the notions of Englishness and Britishness where the integration or the exclusion of difference plays a significant role. Although tackling specific issues related to Britishness and Otherness, they all contribute to mapping the many reactions in Britain and of Britons to the encounter with the Other, and help to identify similarities in these modes of encounter throughout the centuries. Starting with the modern period, two essays investigate how the notion and idea of Englishness came to be defined, and provide historical interpretations for a surge in Englishness. Anne-Claire Faucquez investigates the building up of a sense of Englishness in the colony of New York in the 17th and 18th centuries, whilst Xavier Cervantès analyses how Englishness and Britishness were further defined and strengthened in Britain in the 1720s in the context of the marked opposition to Italy, the Italian operatic community in London and Catholicism. The essays all draw on different theoretical approaches, among which are cultural history, colonialism, post-colonialism, orientalism and feminism. Anne-Florence Quaireau proposes a post-colonial and feminist reading in her analysis of the encounter between Anna Jameson and Canadian natives. She uses Mary-Louise Pratt’s concept of the “contact zone”6 to investigate how gender shapes Jameson’s account of the encounter with the Indians in Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada (1838). Orientalism is tackled in three articles which examine the British presence in various Orients in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Daniel Foliard studies the Orient through photography, with the analysis
of British photographer James Robertson’s work in Constantinople. Caroline Lehni investigates the British percepetion of Egypt through illustrations in 19th-century travel books. Finally Xavier Lachazette adopts a cultural and literary perspective of the British perception and representation of China through Somerset Maugham’s writing On a Chinese Screen (1922). Imperialim and the decline of the empire are both studied from various angles in this volume, looking at the perception of others from outside Britain but also from within. Maud Michaud examines how British missionaries shaped British identity and defined the contours of Otherness by analysing case studies of missionary work in Uganda and in the Great Lakes region in the last decades of the 19th century. Olivier Esteves and Philippe Vervaecke look at the perception (and rejection) of the Pakistani community in Britain after the Second World War, whilst Richard Davis analyses the complex position of Britain within the European Union and especially vis-à-vis France after the loss of its empire. Two articles in this collection also examine the perception of Ireland from the perspective of exoticism and that of representing division. Valérie Morisson offers an original study of the British perception of the inhabitants of the Aran Islands, whilst Gabriel Gee analyses the theme of the division of space in Northern Ireland in the visual arts by focussing on works evoking borders, passages and markers. Over the course of the volume, readers will discover the myriad ways in which the themes of cultural contacts and encounters allow us to understand the politics and aesthetics of cultural identity and difference.
Vanessa ALAYRAC-FIELDING AND Claire DUBOIS Université Lille 3 – Charles de Gaulle
PART I: FASHIONING ENGLISHNESS TH TH IN THE 17 AND 18 CENTURIES
CHAPTER ONE OTHERNESS AND ENGLISH IDENTITY IN THE COLONY OF NEW YORK IN THE 17TH CENTURY ANNE-CLAIRE FAUCQUEZ UNIVERSITE PARIS VIII
When Charles II became king in 1660, under the period known as the Restoration, England was experiencing a new type of territorial conquest. The idea of empire was no longer seen as something purely religious, aiming at fighting the Spanish “popish” enemy, as the black legend has it, but had acquired a new economic dimension. The colonies belonging to foreign empires started to be perceived as new opportunities where England could trade and increase the Crown’s revenues.1 This hunger for conquest in North America was assuaged in August 1664 when England took possession of New Netherland, a small piece of Dutch territory lodged between New England and Virginia2. The new English colony was given by the king to his brother, the Duke of York who renamed it New York, and was turned into a royal colony when the Duke became James II, King of England, in 1685. However, if New York was now officially part of the English empire, English influence was hard to spread in this former Dutch colony. Indeed, English people found themselves in a difficult position in which they were the leading and conquering authority but represented a minority group among an extremely heterogeneous population composed of Dutch, Swedish, Jewish, Huguenot and German settlers but also African slaves and Native Americans.3 For more than half a century, English authorities tried to impose themselves and anglicize the colony through various political, religious and cultural means. This strategy of conquest as well as this will to dominate other groups were what shaped the new English identity in the colony of New York. This environment of multiple others gave birth to a fluctuating identity shaped by the various representations English people made of foreigners, which evolved along the century according to threats
Otherness and English Identity in the Colony of New York 17th Century
and needs. In other words, English identity in the colonies was both a mirror of the mother country and a product of the colonial environment. This paper aims at illustrating the complexity of this process of identity-making in the particular context of the colony of New York in the second half of the 17th century. First, identity can be seen as an ambivalent concept as it differed between the population and the elites who tried to position themselves within the colony and the empire in relation to other groups and the mother country. English identity was thus forged artificially by the mother country and imposed on the population through a massive campaign of anglicization aimed at assimilating politically and culturally their European archenemy, the Dutch. Once the English had managed to assert their power and as Dutch influence started to fade, English identity was reshaped by the figure of a new “other”: the African slaves, whose presence and concentration had become a real threat at the turn of the 18th century. English identity in the colony of New York had thus successively taken a national, religious and racial acceptation over less than half a century.
The ambivalence of English identity Despite the very easy conquest of the colony in August 1664, when Director General Pieter Stuyvesant surrendered without any resistance, English authorities found it hard to impose themselves on the colony. First, it was not until the 1730s that English people managed to outgrow the Dutch population who represented 88% of the population of New York City in 1664 and 39.4% in 1730, while the English accounted for 4.5% in 1664 and 49.5% in 1730.4 Indeed, New York attracted few English migrants who preferred to settle in the neighboring colonies of Virginia, New England or in the West Indies, which presented more economic opportunities, an easier access to land, lighter fiscal pressure and less religious heterogeneity (gathering either Congregationalists or Anglicans). Moreover, thanks to the economic prosperity of the Restoration, few English people left the country compared to Scots, or Irish-Scots—the descendants of Scottish settlers in Northern Ireland—who were mainly Presbyterians. To these were added a few Catholics, Congregationalists from New England, Quakers and Anabaptists. Charles Lodwyck, the New York mayor from 1694 to 1696, deplored such a great diversity among the population, declaring that his “chiefest unhappiness [t]here [wa]s too great a mixture of nations […] and ye English ye least part”.5 The “English” community was in fact very diverse geographically and religiously and lacked an ethno-religious unity—that is, a cultural, social
and religious cohesion—contrary to Dutch and French people who all belonged to the same church, the Dutch Reformed church or l’Église Françoise de la Nouvelle York. Indeed, the London episcopacy, which had become the main ecclesiastical authority in the colony, had sent few ministers after the conquest and it was only by the end of the century that the Anglican Church could finally be established with the 1693 Ministry Act and could have its own service in Trinity Church which was built in the City of New York in 1697. Before that date, English people had to follow the services of the Dutch Reformed Church with English-speaking ministers, but it knew few followers. By the turn of the century, the representatives of Trinity Church felt that the Crown had failed in its colonizing role and said that the colony looked more like “a conquered Foreign Province held by the terrour of a Garrison, than an English Colony, possessed and settled by people of [its] own Nation”.6 It was precisely this lack of religious establishment which impinged on the success of English authorities. English settlers also shared different conceptions of the Empire, which confronted one another at the time of the 1689 Glorious Revolution. Indeed, under the Stuarts era, the empire was essentially focused on the power of the king and was embodied in New York by the laws of the Duke of York, which aimed at turning the jurisdiction of the colony into a “kingly government”7 and at “reviv[ing] the Memory of Old England amongst [them]”.8 From this perspective, in 1686 the Lords of Trade had established the Dominion of New England, a unified administration gathering the New England colonies—Massachusetts, Plymouth, New Hampshire, Maine, Narragansett, Rhode Island and Connecticut—as well as New York, East and West Jersey, in order to secure the regulation of trade through the reinforcement of the Navigation Acts and to coordinate a mutual defense of the colonies against French people established in New France and hostile Natives. However, this royal effort of centralization was not welcomed by the colonies and proved a failure. New York settlers in particular were staunch supporters of free institutions and complained fiercely when Governor Dongan suppressed the Charter of Liberties in 1685, declaring: By word and writing we were promised and engaged the enjoyment of all privileges and liberties which other of his majesties subjects doe enjoy. Since that time we are deprived and prohibited of our birthright freedoms and privileges to which both wee and our ancestors were born. Laws and orders have been imposed upon us from time to time without our consent and therein we are totally deprived of a fundamental privilege of our English nation.9
Otherness and English Identity in the Colony of New York 17th Century
This is one of the reasons why the overthrow of James II during the Glorious Revolution was such a relief in New York where it found an echo with Leisler’s Rebellion. On October 23, 1689 a group of Dutch settlers led by the German Calvinist Jacob Leisler took over the fort in New York, declared martial law and imprisoned James II’s representatives in order to demonstrate their support to the new English monarch, their fellow countryman, William of Orange. This event divided the city into two groups. One side gathered the Anglo-Dutch elite, essentially made of big landowners (Dutch patroons), wealthy merchants, members of the city, and colonial government and ministers; that is, all those who had largely benefitted from the advantages offered by James II and who wished to maintain the position of royal officials. The other side was mostly composed of small farmers, artisans, shopkeepers, and Dutch Calvinists who followed Jacob Leisler’s enthusiasm and wished to see the restoration of a representative assembly in the colony. This struggle was the outcome of the resentment Dutch people had felt towards the English since the conquest. They despised the Dutch merchant elite, who had anglicized themselves and enjoyed many privileges such as commercial monopolies or political offices, but they also despised the Dutch clergy who had welcomed the “papist” enemy in the person of the Catholic governor, Thomas Dongan. These revolutionaries were fighting in the name of English liberties and Protestantism against the Catholic Stuart rule. Indeed, when James II, as proprietor of the colony, appointed two Catholic governors (Anthony Brockholls, 1681-1683, and Thomas Dongan, 1683-1688), fear of a Catholic plot overwhelmed the City of New York. After Leisler’s rebellion, rumors started to spread according to which James II intended to retain control over New York by joining with Catholic France during King William’s War (1689-1697).10 Far from the royal conception of a centralized empire, the settlers rather considered themselves as “a loose combination of territories defined by their common Protestantism”.11 The outcome of that rebellion was a systematic denial of Catholics’ religious and civil liberties in the colony. The official instructions from London to governors ordered them “to permit a liberty of conscience to all Persons (except Papists)”.12 In 1700, the New York assembly passed a law that threatened life imprisonment for any Catholic priest who came to New York.13 English identity was thus an ambivalent notion in this second half of the seventeenth century, implying both the feeling of belonging to the mother country and its empire and a more autonomous acceptation putting the emphasis on its religious identity, a Protestant one, and its defense of
free institutions. Englishness thus served as a tool for the governing elites to impose their authority and try to assimilate politically and culturally the majority of the population, namely their Dutch archenemy.
The Dutch foe: identity-making through political and cultural assimilation Peppered by three wars in almost half a century (1652-1654, 16651667, 1672-1674), Anglo-Dutch relations were rather tense in Europe and it is precisely with their archenemy that English people had to cohabitate on the southern tip of Manhattan Island. Forty years after the conquest, relations had not improved as this declaration of Governor Bellomont to the Lords of Trade in 1699 shows: “Those that are honest of the Dutch, are very ignorant, and can neither speak nor write proper English. […] Dutchmen […] were generally the meanest of the people, men extremely ignorant of all things, few of them understanding the English tongue much less the laws”.14 However, English people had to adjust their stance and show a great deal of tolerance towards Dutch people because of their position as a conquering minority. The instructions of the Crown to Governor Nicolls (1664-1668) demanded “that [the authorities] w[ould] take them [Dutch people] into [their] protection, and that they shall continue to enjoy all their possessions (Forts only excepted) and the same freedome in trade”.15 Indeed, the first three English governors (Richard Nicolls, Francis Lovelace and Edmund Andros) tried to soften relations with the Dutch elite by nominating councilors who were close to the Dutch population, by allowing Dutch merchants to trade with England and by consenting that the Dutch Reformed Church should maintain a privileged position in the parishes where a majority of Dutch people lived as well as the existence of a Dutch school.16 The authorities then tried to assimilate this foreign population politically and culturally. In her study of racial relations in the City of New York, historian Thelma Wills Foote explains that the typical English strategy of conquest was to spread Englishness through the granting of national rights: For them [the English], practicing the art of colonial governance involved the extension of English rights to the mainly foreign born Protestant settler population, the incorporation of these peoples into the political community of loyal English subjects, and the transplantation of legitimating institutions of English culture for the cultivation of English civilities in the settlers.17
Otherness and English Identity in the Colony of New York 17th Century
The passing of the 1683 Act for Naturalizing All these Foreign Nations at Present Inhabiting Within this Province and Professing Christianity and for Encouragement of Others to Come and Settle Within the Same suppressed all political distinction between English subjects and foreigners as long as they were Christians, that they had been New York residents for at least six years and that they be ready to swear allegiance to the Crown.18 These rights included the freedom to trade or practice a craft, to inherit and bequeath property, to participate in the elections and hold political functions. The Dutch were thus recognized as free denizens, an intermediate status between the English natural born subject and the foreigner. This title granted them the right to enjoy their property, to own lands, to bequeath their goods to their descendants, to keep on trading with the United Provinces in spite of the Navigation Acts and to practice their faith, and it prevented them from being enrolled in the militia to fight against their own country. If tolerance was necessary to gain the favor of the Dutch population, religious assimilation was indispensable to assert English authority. Indeed, the anglicization of the colony went hand in hand with its anglicanisation, the Anglican Church acting as “an instrument of social control and political assimilation”.19 In 1693, Governor Fletcher (16921697) declared that the privileges and the liberties granted by English subjecthood were inseparable from spiritual duties, introduced in the Ministry Act. This law recognized the Anglican Church as the official religion in the colony and stressed the necessity to convert Dutch people in order to increase English hegemony over the colony. In 1711, Lewis Morris, who was to become governor of New Jersey in 1738, also underlined this necessity: It’s not an easy task to persuade men to change their Religion. […] As the bringing over the Dutch will be of great use in this part of America, where their Numbers are so considerable, so to accomplish it will be difficult and a work of time. Most of them are ignorant of our Religion, many of them take the Character of it from our Enemies, whose practice it is to misrepresent it.20
The anglicization of the colony was reinforced in 1702 with the setting up of the SPG, the Society of Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Lands, the missionary branch of the Anglican Church in the colonies. The role of the missionaries was to promote Anglicanism, to convert as many settlers as possible and to teach the English language. In 1691, a bill had already been presented to the assembly to nominate a schoolteacher who could
teach children and young people how to read and write English in every town of the colony. In 1702, a school was erected, financed at the same time by private funds from wealthy Barbados planters, by the colonial assembly and by the tuition fees paid by the pupils’ parents. In 1715, William Huddleston who had founded Trinity School in 1709 declared he was proud to have taught English to more than 650 French and Dutch people.21 The SPG also showed some interest in converting African and Native American slaves and sent in 1704 Elie Neau, a Huguenot catechist who had joined the Anglican Church, to erect a school in New York City. Despite the reluctance of many masters who feared they would have to free their slaves if they were baptized, he still managed to receive some two hundred blacks and natives in his evening classes.22 The missionaries used little books called catechisms, which were printed in several languages in order to enable all nationalities to immerse themselves in Anglicanism. Nevertheless, teaching English was essential in order to understand the Bible and the Book of Common Payer. Spreading English was a convenient way to unite the empire and the English nation in a united linguistic community. Governor Lord Cornbury (1702-1708), who was persuaded that Dutch schools spread anti-English feelings, tried to limit lessons in Dutch as well as the number of Dutch teachers. Yet, the Dutch Consistory complained to the Classis of Amsterdam—the Dutch religious authority in the United Provinces— about the “evil, rude, and utterly insulting treatment”23 they received by English authorities and were worried about their future: If things are to proceed in this fashion, practically holding back the training schools of the Dutch, in which alone our children could be educated in our religion, is not the hope of expecting a rich harvest and fruitage destroyed? Will not the churches necessarily in the course of time decline, and our labors in many respects be found fruitless?24
English authorities also tried to anglicize the population by restructuring the institutions of the colony. The introduction in 1691 of the Judiciary Act reformed its judiciary system and established the first Supreme Court as well as the Common Law. In 1703, a new system of units and measures was established with the Act to Bring the Weights and Measures of this Place, which hitherto have been according to the Standard of Holland, to that of England.25 The English calendar was also progressively made official with its symbolic holidays such as Guy Fawkes Day, Gunpowder Treason Day, the Queen’s birthday or the Queen’s Coronation Day.26 If the identity of the conquering English settler was fashioned during
Otherness and English Identity in the Colony of New York 17th Century
almost half a century by his will to dominate and assimilate his Dutch enemy, once this threat had disappeared at the turn of the century when English people had finally managed to get the upper hand numerically, politically and culturally, English identity was refashioned on the figure of a new other: the black man. This new identity had acquired a very different meaning, being no longer based on national grounds but on biological and racial characteristics.
A racialized identity The colony’s demographical landscape had evolved by the turn of the century. From an overwhelmingly Dutch population with a minority of English and French settlers and one fifth of black people (slave and free) in 1664, the colony in 1703 accounted for half of Dutch people, one third of English people, one tenth of French people and another one fifth of black people. If the proportion of black people within the city’s population remained the same in 50 years, the political and economical stakes of slavery were different. English merchants had well established themselves within the Dutch slave routes between Africa and America and the economy of the colony was partially relying on slave labor. The importance slavery had gained in New York can justify the hardening of slave laws during this half century. As the Dutch threat no longer existed, English people started to focus on the figure of the African. If blackness was a sufficient ground to justify their otherness, one has to understand that it was only once they were considered a threat that they started to be stigmatized and excluded. Slavery in New Netherland was never codified, for instance, because at the time of settlement Blacks were less of a concern than Native Americans were. The emergence of the slave codes thus reflects the conscience of the elites about the potential dangers of the slave population and was an accurate reflection of the fears and apprehensions of the colony. Ironically, many slave laws targeting black people’s gatherings, carrying arms, or attempts at “lifting up [their] hands against any Christian” (the 1702 Act for Regulating the Slaves), were passed before any rebellion happened in the colony. They thus emerged from the imagined fears of that “other”, the mere thought of a conspiracy being sometimes more fearful than an actual rebellion. Yet, New Yorkers’ anxieties proved to be true on Sunday, April 6, 1712, when about twenty free and enslaved blacks set fire to a building of the East Ward and ambushed the white settlers who came to extinguish the blaze, killing nine people and injuring seven. Thirty years later, the city was prone to similar acts. A series of fires bursting throughout the city
between March 18th and April 6th 1741 led the governor to think of a new slave rebellion. Authorities reacted violently, passing severe slave codes, incriminating black suspects frenetically; condemning them to extremely violent forms of punishment in order to assert their power on the population. Governor Hunter wrote to the Board of Trade in 1712 and recognized the brutality of the executions but explained that it was necessary for the population to be reassured: “I am informed that in the West Indies where their laws against their slaves are most severe, that in case of a conspiracy in which many are engaged a few only are executed for all example […] (but) nothing less could please the people”.27 He also apologized for the ruthlessness of the 1712 Negro Act, having in mind that in 1704 in New Jersey, the Act for Regulating Negro Indians and Mulatto Slaves was considered so severe that the Queen overruled it five years later on the grounds that “the Punishment to be inflicted on negroes &c is such as never was allowed by or known in the Laws of the Kingdom”.28 The court proceedings, while focusing on the black scapegoats, temporarily united the factious white settlers around the discovery and suppression of a dangerous conspiracy from below, diverting their attention from the internal conflicts that had been dividing them since Leisler’s rebellion. As historian Thomas Archdeacon put it: “fresher fears of a racially different, subversive element in the population submerged the remnants of outdated hostilities bred by national competition for dominance in Manhattan, and brought about an end to the first episode in the politics of ethnicity in New York City”.29 In his account of the 1741 proceedings, Judge Horsmanden told how this exclusion of black people from the white community provided by opposition solidarity within society, when for instance “upon the bells ringing […] great numbers of people […] came to the assistance of the lieutenant governor and his family,” or how a black “villain” was carried to jail “upon the people’s shoulders”.30 In this propaganda document, the aim of which was clearly to justify and defend the authorities’ violent reaction, the inhabitants are described as heroes protecting their governor and city whereas the magistrates are represented as true patriots who saved the city against this hellish plot. Indeed, these prosecutions of black insurgency can be seen, as Bertram Wyatt-Brown described them, as “a communal rite, a celebration of white solidarity, in which individual slaves were sacrified to the sacred concept of white supremacy”. According to him, “the standards of evidence used in court trials were so low, the means of obtaining damaging testimony so dubious, the impotence of constituted authority so evident, that insurrectionary prosecutions at law must be seen as a
Otherness and English Identity in the Colony of New York 17th Century
religious more than a normal criminal process”.31 The outrageousness of the 1741 plot might have thus served as a catharsis to the anxieties of the white population. As the fears of the black man grew, so did a new perception of English identity. According to historian Thelma Wills Foote, the idea of Englishness could include both inner and outer characteristics: The expansion of the communal boundaries of the English nation amounted to a reterritorialization of Englishness—that is, a movement from defining Englishness as primarily consisting of the external trait of having been born on the soil of England to positing certain internal traits of innate racial disposition as the essence of Englishness.32
Indeed, in the 17th century, race and nation were similar concepts. The idea of nation had not yet acquired its modern acceptation of a political and geographical entity but was understood as innate characteristics which fashioned the national character.33 This essentialist conception of the nation thus possessed a racial character, as it could be inherited and transferred through blood. English people thus defined their belonging to the Anglo-Saxon race, which dated from the conquest of Brittany by Germanic peoples (Angles, Saxons and Jutes) in the 5th century. This heritage started to be celebrated in the 16th century at the time of the Reformation, when England was looking for the practices of the primitive church before the Norman Conquest. In the 17th century, the search for free political institutions dear to American colonies popularized this myth celebrating Anglo-Saxons as a people in love with liberty and representative institutions.34 This myth of the Anglo-Saxon race, which was used in the process of the anglicization of foreigners, was thus a way for English authorities to incorporate the different ethnicities which were present in the colony and which had in common being white and Protestant (the English, the Scottish, the Scot-Irish, the Dutch, the Scandinavians, the French Huguenots, the Germans) while excluding others who were considered as heathenish and inferior—Catholics, Africans and Natives. In 1706, the Act to Incourage the Baptizing of Negro, Indian and Mulatto Slaves ruled that conversion to Christianity did not change the legal status of enslaved Africans and stated that the status of the black child was determined by the status of the mother. From now on, the fate of the slave was sealed, no longer by lack of religion but by his color. This growing racialization of society also targeted free blacks, so that not only black slaves were differentiated but all black men. Already in 1670, free Africans and Native Americans were forbidden to own white servants; in 1677, a New York
court stated that any person of color brought to trial was presumed to be a slave unless proven otherwise. In 1706, manumitted slaves were banned from inheriting land and bequeathing it to their heirs.35 Finally, the 1712 black code further restricted the conditions of emancipation of the slaves and the liberties of free blacks. This “idle slothfull people” could no longer have access to private property and the masters had to pay £200 to the city as well as an annual fee of £20 to the slave.36 Even if this manumission decree was repealed in 1717, it made slave-owners very reluctant to free their slaves. This political strategy of including all white Protestants, the elite along with the middling and poorer sort, was a way to create a buffer class between black people and the elites, functioning as a defense against a potential threat of rebellion. Colonial governments thus used law as a shield in order to divide society along the color line and prevent any forms of class solidarity similar to what happened in Virginia with the 1676 Bacon’s rebellion which gathered the “giddy multitude;” that is, “an amalgam of indentured servants and slaves, of poor whites and blacks, of landless freemen and debtors” against planters.37 Englishness was thus not only defined by religion, line of descent and language, but also by physical attributes and skin color. This is how the notion of race linked to a people and its culture, the “English race”, moved on to a biological notion, the “Anglo-Saxon race”, on which New York slave laws were based. The colonial government thus instrumentalized this concept of “race” in order to control the fears of society, but also to help English people establish their authority. Kathleen Wilson summed up this process as follows: Race, like gender and ethnicity was a historically contingent construction that did not describe empirical, static or absolute conditions in societies, but positional relationships made and unmade in historical circumstances and manipulated in the pursuit of power. Race was identified and signified through religion, custom, language, climate, aesthetics and historical time as much as physiognomy and skin color.38
The stigmatization of the “Other”—that is, the African, the Mulatto or the Native American—reinforced in turn the image of the Englishman as a free man. After the murder of the Hallett family of Newtown in Queens County in 1708 by a Native American man and an African woman, the New York assembly passed an Act for Preventing the Conspiracy of Slaves, which aimed at condemning any acts of rebellion of a slave against his or her master or “any other of her Majesty’s Leige People” to capital punishment.39 Thus, a crime against another slave, a white servant or a foreigner—Catholics for instance—was less punishable than against a free
Otherness and English Identity in the Colony of New York 17th Century
Englishman, a subject of the king. The presence of black people in the colony also modified the way white people considered labor and social relations as it eroded the distinctions between English subjects and denizens while stigmatizing the harshest forms of labor and assigned them to Africans only. Indeed, many denizens tried to fight against the competition of black labor and tried to distinguish themselves by claiming for their rights as free settlers and presenting themselves as honest and virtuous people.40 Hendrick Van Dijck, a Dutch worker, complained for instance about the type of work he had to do, comparing it to slaves’: “the Director […] employed me very rarely and mostly as his boy; ordering me to look to the hogs and to keep these from the fort which a negro could have easily done”.41 Even free Native Americans tried to stress their difference with black people, who were nothing but slaves. In his 1678 travel account, Charles Wolley, an Anglican chaplain, noted that “the Indians look upon these Negroes or blacks as an anomalous Issue, meer Edomites, hewers of Wood and drawers of Water”.42 Englishness thus came to be equated with whiteness, freedom and salvation whereas blackness was associated with slavery and spiritual degradation. In 1695, an assembly of the ministers of Kings County declared they wanted to save the settlers who had returned to a primitive condition since their arrival in the colonies. Black people had to be saved and whitened through conversion; whereas one had to prevent the settlers from turning black: “If it is not now held up and continued, by the preaching of the Gospel, through the sending over of ministers for this purpose, the very negroes may be washed and become white by the Gospel, while we may be turned into negroes, and become black and polluted”.43 As Hume put it, identity is not only “I am” but also “you are” and “they are”.44 Indeed, identity is far from being a fixed, permanent idea but is constantly moving, constructing and deconstructing itself according to the environment in which it is immersed and the “others” the self encounters. Identity cannot exist by itself and is shaped by the representations one makes of others, those who differ from the self. In the colonies, English people were confronted by new environments, new figures of otherness which in turn shaped their identity. Settling in a royal colony, belonging to the king’s brother and then to the king himself, English people claimed their pride as English subjects belonging to the English empire and subjected to the king’s central authority. Yet, as staunch defenders of English liberties, settlers also had in mind a more autonomous conception of empire, especially after the 1689 Glorious
Revolution: a less centralized one which was freed of any Stuart tinge. Putting the emphasis on its religious identity—a Protestant one—the governing elites used Englishness to impose their authority and try to assimilate politically and culturally the majority of the population, namely their Dutch archenemy. This process of inclusion of white Protestants went hand in hand with the exclusion of Catholics and black slaves, conferring to Englishness a religious and racial acceptation. The construction of Englishness in the colony of New York thus served several purposes: it was successively a survival strategy, a political and religious means to assimilate the heterogeneous population and assert their authority, and finally a racial tool to control and manipulate the fears of the population so as to impose the colonial government’s authority.
Bibliography Archdeacon, Thomas. New York City, 1664-1710: Conquest and Change. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1976. Balmer, Randall Herbert. A Perfect Babel of Confusion: Dutch Religion and English Culture in the Middle Colonies. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. Breen, T. H. “A Changing Labor Force and Race Relations in Virginia 1660-1710”. Journal of Social History, vol. 7, n°1 (fall 1973): 3-25. Burrows, Edwin G., Mike Wallace. Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Canny, Nicholas, Alaine, Law. Origins of Empire: British Overseas Enterprise To The Close Of The Seventeenth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Cohen, Sheldon S., “Elias Neau, Instructor to New York’s Slaves”. New York Historical Society Quarterly, vol. 55 (1971): 7-27. Corwin, Edward T., ed., Ecclesiastical Records of the State of New York, 7 vols. Albany: J. B. Lyon, 1901-16. Foote Thelma Wills. Black and White Manhattan: The History of Racial Formation in Colonial New York City. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Goodfriend, Joyce D. “The Social Dimensions of Congregational Life in Colonial New York City.” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd series, 46 (1989): 252-278. —. Before the Melting Pot: Society and Culture in Colonial New York City, 1664-1730. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995. Hedges, Henry P. History of East Hampton. Sag-Harbor: J.H. Hunt, 1897. Horsman, Reginald. “Origins of Racial Anglo-Saxonism in Great Britain
Otherness and English Identity in the Colony of New York 17th Century
before 1850”. Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 37, n°3 (JulySeptember 1976): 387-410. Hudson, Nicholas. “From ‘Nation’ to ‘Race’: The Origin of Racial Classification in Eighteenth-Century Thought”. Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 29, n°3 (spring 1996): 247-264. Kammen, Michael. Colonial New York: A History. New York: Oxford University Press US, 1975. Lodwyck, Charles. “New York in 1692”, Collections of New York Historical Society. 2d. series, vol. 2. New York: 1849. Middleton, Simon David. From Privileges to Rights: Work and Politics in Colonial New York City. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006. O’Callaghan, Edmund Bailey, and Bertold Fernow, eds. and trans. Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York. 15 vols. Albany: Weed, Parsons, 1865-1887. —. The Documentary History of the State of New-York. 4 vols. Albany: Weed, Parsons & Co, 1850-51. Stanwood, Owen, The Empire Reformed. English America in the Age of the Glorious Revolution. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011. The colonial laws of New York from the year 1664 to the Revolution: including the charters to the Duke of York, the commissions and instructions to colonial governors, the Duke’s laws, the laws of the Dongan and Leisler Assemblies, the charters of Albany and New York and the acts of the colonial legislatures from 1691 to 1775 inclusive. Albany: J.B. Lyon, 1894. Wilson, Kathleen. The Island Race: Englishness, Empire and Gender in the Eighteenth Century. London: Routledge, 2003. Wolley, Charles. A Two Years Journal in New York and Part of its Territories in America. London, 1701. Wyatt-Brown, Bertram. Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.
CHAPTER TWO “NULL’ALTRA MUSICA E QUI GRADITA CHE LA NOSTRA? CULTURAL POLITICS, ANTI-CATHOLIC ANXIETY, AND THE ITALIAN OPERATIC COMMUNITY IN LONDON IN THE 1720S XAVIER CERVANTES UNIVERSITE DE TOULOUSE-LE MIRAIL
The importation of Italian opera and its success among polite society was a matter of considerable controversy in England in the early decades of the 18th century. The implications of this wide-ranging cultural phenomenon were discussed not only in purely musical or even aesthetic terms but primarily in broader social, political, and even religious ones. The introduction into Britain of an alien element triggered a great deal of cultural anxiety. At that crucial period when the sense of British national identity was still in the making and was being defined by opposition to the French and southern Other(s)1, the introduction of a previously unknown form of thoroughly Italian entertainment was bound to provoke an upsurge of patriotism. For the many critics and satirists of Italian opera, its success in becoming an essential feature of élite culture wounded the traditional British sense of cultural insularity, vigorously trumpeted with nationalistic pride. Italian-Continental contamination offered evidence of the overall decline of the nation in general and of the corrupt cosmopolitan taste of the ruling élite in particular. The flood of criticism and satire of Italian opera was based upon a few recurring tropes, and these built on and reinforced at the same time the xenophobic stereotype of the Italian and of Italy that had begun to emerge back in the Renaissance. To borrow Chesterfield’s striking phrase, Italy was a ெfoul sink of illiberal Vices and manners2, and her typical inhabitant was a devious, greedy, hypocritical coward prone to violence,
ெNull’altra Musica è qui gradita che la nostra?
luxury and sexual debauchery, especially to sodomy, the Italian evil par excellence. Such national clichés were legitimated by a crude but highly evocative and efficient North/South bipolarity, and they decisively shaped the depiction of the Mediterranean Other. This depiction which was deeply anchored in the British imagination acted therefore as a convenient foil to flatter national pride by highlighting the gap between Britain and a degenerate and corrupt South3. In the last analysis, however, such national, moral and cultural stereotypes of Italy and her inhabitants had a political and religious foundation. The counter-identity of the southern and Italian Other was expressed in simple contrapuntal terms: Britain was the land of the chosen people and God refused His favours to those who lived in slavish dependence on popery and superstition4. The complicated history of Italy, that mosaic of small states, and her characteristic internecine struggles between aristocratic factions were considered the direct outcome of the undue influence of the Pope and of priests. Like the French or the Spanish, the Italians were Catholics by definition and were thus placed under the yoke of religious and secular despotism, whereas the English revelled in the liberties guaranteed by their mixed government. Many are the recurring motifs of early criticism of Italian opera in England. They are well-known and have been thoroughly studied, whether they be of a nationalistic, aesthetic, social, moral or sexual nature: Italian opera was foreign, hence automatically suspect; it was sung in a foreign tongue by foreign artists; it was a very costly form of entertainment that targetted a narrow and corrupt élite; it was through-sung, hence completely alien to the indigenous tradition of a mixture of spoken theatre and musical episodes and it therefore subverted cultural and literary hierarchies and the distinction between genres; it addressed the senses superficially instead of elevating the mind or captivating the heart; it was so successful that it harmed the native theatrical tradition; by encouraging effeminacy, sodomy and all forms of debauchery, it threatened the stability of the gender paradigm that was the very pillar of a well-ordered society by blurring the traditional separation between the sexes – and the list could go on5. One critical thread has been little explored by scholars, however, perhaps because it appears as considerably less prominent than others: the anti-Catholic undercurrent, which is to be found in a substantial number of critical and satirical pieces. Another reason why this critical trope has been somewhat neglected is that it may all too easily be taken for granted and considered not to deserve any comment. However, in spite of the overtly
jokey tone of some of the excerpts that will be quoted below, it does seem that they are to be taken more seriously as the product of a genuine and deeply-seated religious and political anxiety. Like any import from the Continent, artistic or otherwise, Italian opera was inherently suspect because it was automatically associated with luxury, vice, and decadence. At a time when the Stuart Pretender and his Court had taken refuge in the Papal States, the close connection between Catholicism and Jacobitism was even more obvious in the mind of every Briton. In the early decades of the 18th century, and particularly between the Fifteen and the Forty-Five, constant was the threat, real or imaginary, of a Jacobite plot to oust the Hanoverian dynasty and restore the Stuart “king over the water”. Anti-Jacobite suspicion played a major part in domestic as well as international politics. It could also be exploited by a government as leverage to enhance the legitimacy of the Hanoverian succession and more generally to strengthen its hold on power, as was the case with the Atterbury plot of 1722, the benefits reaped by Walpole from its discovery and the arrests and trials that followed. The European diaspora of Italian composers, librettists, instrumentalists, scene painters and especially singers in the 18th century is a phenomenon well-known to musicologists. Italian music, in general, and Italian opera in particular held sway throughout the Continent and there was a steady demand for Italian-born artists in all the main princely courts on the other side of the Alps. Unlike France, which resisted this cultural invasion and clung to its native school of tragédie lyrique, England succumbed to the general craze for opera seria, albeit belatedly, in 17056. For itinerant Italian artists, London became a mighty magnet, a true ெParadiso terrestre (ெHeaven on Earth) to quote a letter from one of them who settled briefly in England in the early years of the century7. Only a few years after the British metropolis had become the new Mecca of Italian castrati and female sopranos, the actor and playwright Charles Gildon, who felt his livelihood jeopardised and became one of the harshest critics of the new operatic genre, complained thus: ெthe Italians having heard in Italy what Bubbles we Tramontani were in their Foreign Trash, they ventur’d over the Alps to share the Prize with the rest of their Country-men8. Among these many opportunistic artists that spread Italian taste to England was, for example, Nicola Francesco Haym, who wrote or adapted many opera librettos for Handel in the 1720s. Making the most of the fashionable rage for everything Italian, he published in 1724 his own edition of a classic of Italian literature, Tasso’s Gierusalemme liberata, with the following preface: ெspero […] che l’Italia tutta, avrà l’istessa
ெNull’altra Musica è qui gradita che la nostra?
obligazione a questa Preclara Nazione, che io le professo, per la parzialità che mostrano d’avere per i nostri prodotti: Quì vedonsi le Scene Musicali passegiate da’ nostri primi Cantanti, e null’altra Musica è quì gradita, che la nostra. (ெI hope that just like me, all Italy will thank this mighty country [Britain] for appreciating so much all things Italian. We can see our most famous singers perform on the British stage, and none but our music is welcome here)9. Such wishful thinking certainly did not deter the barrage of xenophobic and patriotic criticism Italian opera was confronted with in England. Such criticism could take on a religious tinge: because singers at the opera house in the Haymarket were Italian, they were often charged with introducing into England the vices that were synonymous in the English imagination with Roman Catholicism and with the papal court. The usual rhetoric of contamination and disease imported from the Mediterranean South, with which all the various types of critical discourse taking Italian opera as its target is so heavily fraught, was exploited to the full. Italian vocal and instrumental artists were considered to be mere parasites and were thought to encourage idleness, which was obviously incompatible with the Protestant ethic. This appears in the following newspaper item from 1723, which takes up the Mandevillian metaphor of society and its economic framework: In Popish Countries, great Numbers of idle and useless Members of Societies are employ’d to support the Luxury of the Ecclesiasticks, or to contribute to their Superstition: as Organists, Fidlers, Singers. […] All these are a dead Weight upon Society, live like Drones in a Hive, and eat Honey without making any10.
More specifically, because castrati and female singers sang in a foreign tongue that was unknown to most of the public, they were sometimes suspected of taking advantage of the situtation by singing psalms and other texts belonging to the Catholic liturgy while pretending to sing harmless arias and recitatives. This seems to have been something of a running joke among satirists. Thus wrote Richard Steele in the epilogue to his 1723 comedy The Tender Husband: Britons, who constant War, with factious Rage, For Liberty against each other wage, From Foreign Insult save this English Stage. No more th’Italian squaling Tribe admit, In tongues unknown; ’tis Popery in Wit. The Songs (their selves confess) from Rome they bring; And ’tis High-Mass, for ought you know, they Sing11.
A few years before, to avoid giving free rein to the alleged Catholic propaganda of Italian singers, Steele had already demanded that the directors of the then recently created Royal Academy of Music swear an oath on the sacraments of the established church, ெotherwise we might have treason convey’d to us in a Song, and Popish Sounds introduc’d to affront Protestant Ears12. In 1727, an anonymous satirist perpetuated the idea in a libel alluding to the rival prima donnas who shone in the performances organised under the auspices of the Academy and whose respective merits were heatedly debated by a much divided audience: [W]ho knows but they are sent here to raise Dissentions among true Protestants! There are too many shrewd Causes of Suspicions. 1. They come from Rome; 2. The Pope lives at Rome; 3. So does the Pretender, 4. The Pope is a notorious Papist; 5. So is the Pretender; 6. So is Madam Faustina, 7. And so is Madam Cuzzoni. 8. King George (God bless him) is a Protestant; 9. The Pope hates King George; 10. The Pretender can't abide him. 11. But Madam Cuzzoni and Madam Faustina, love the Pope, and in all Probability the Pretender Ergo * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * From whence I infer, that it is not safe to have Popish Singers tolerated here, in England; but on the contrary, it would be a great Security to the Protestant Interest to have a Clause added to some Act of Parliament, obliging all foreign Singers […] to abjure the Devil, the Pope, and the Pretender, before they appear in Publick13.
In the early 1730s, another unknown pamphleteer also feared that the star singers of the company might be secret emissaries sent by the Pope to propagate Catholicism in London. His extravagant and amusing argument to prove his point also rests on the issue of the foreign tongue used by the singers on the stage. He thus alludes to a favourite aria sung by the soprano Francesca Cuzzoni, playing the part of Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto. At that moment in the plot, the Queen of Egypt, disguised as one of the Muses, uses all her charms to seduce the Roman dictator and win his support as well as his love, just as, in the eyes of the satirist, the singer is trying to ensnare the public of good Protestants and win them over to the Catholic faith:
ெNull’altra Musica è qui gradita che la nostra?
[L]et it be particularly covenanted, that [the singers] sing not in an unknown Tongue […] for who knows but under Colour of an Opera, they may Sing Mass as they have done before; witness, A Hymn to the Virgin […] sung by Signora Catsoni to a Harp, &c. in the Opera of Julius Cæsar, the Words are these, V’adoro Pupille Saete D’amore Le vostre faville Son Grato [sic] nel Sen. Pietoso vi brama Il mesto mio Core Ch’ogn’ora vi chiama L’amato mio ben. In English thus, I worship thee, O Holy Virgin, Perfection of Divine Love, thy Sacred Influence fills my Soul with Comfort. My contrite Heart piously burns with fervent Desire towards thee, while my glad Tongue is ever singing forth thy Praise: O lovely and beloved Virgin, Author and Centre of my Happiness. The Responses were sung by Priests, who stood behind the Machine, fill’d with Images and Crosses, and other Popish Trinkums, and was purposely plac’d at the very farthest End of the Stage, and at the greatest Distance possible from the Audience: These Priests sang inwardly to themselves, (just as they do when they mumble Mass,) cover’d by a great Number of Instruments, who play’d what they call forte fortissimo, to prevent the Villany being discover’d14.
Three decades after Steele wrote the above-mentioned epilogue, the author of a newspaper essay still remembered his joke about castrati and prima donnas celebrating Mass under the pretence of singing innocuous opera arias on stage. He seems to take the joke seriously, however, and his criticism is devoid of any satirical or humorous intention: I am of Opinion […] that Italian Operas are an improper Entertainment for Englishmen. It has been […] well observed by a witty Writer, that for ought we know these People at the Opera are singing high Mass; and […] unless we are jealous of our Liberties, they will soon fade away; I am always jealous of hearing an unknown Tongue, which I look upon to be quite unconstitutional. They may be delivering Sentiments of Slavery and arbitrary Power; they may be insinuating the Luxuries of their effeminate Country15.
Above all, to give more weight to his earnest attack, the writer combines the religious motif of criticism with various other strands that are to be found in so many anti-opera pieces, namely the broad political and moral issues raised by the introduction and success of Italian opera in England.
This potent mixture of complaints against Italian opera is certainly what caused the downfall of one of its leading exponents, the composer Giovanni Bononcini, in 1722. Nevertheless, his demise was not brought about by the adversaries of Italian opera, but by the aristocratic directors of the Royal Academy of Music, who had hired him two years previously, that is to say by those very people who not only formed the public of Italian opera in London but who were also its most eminent patrons. The case of Bononcini demonstrates that even for the lovers of opera seria, the popularity of the composer and the success his works had met with up to then were not enough to shield him from the anti-Catholic and antiJacobite hysteria that had spread and inflamed political circles and the informed public opinion of that time. Yet, the London career of Bononcini had started very auspiciously16. In all, Bononcini had eight operas of his (to which should be added one act of a composite work) staged under the auspices of the Academy between 1720 and 1727, and the cumulated number of performances was no fewer than 13117. The peak of his popularity came about in the first two of the Academy’s eight seasons. In the 1720-21 and 1721-22 seasons, his operas were overall far more successful than those of Handel, the other resident composer working for the Royal Academy. If Muzio Scevola, composed jointly by Handel, Bononcini and the cellist Amadei, is set aside, and if the creations and revivals of all operas by the two artists are taken into account, then Handel, with only twenty-six performances, is clearly eclipsed by Bononcini, who boasted seventy-one for those two seasons18. In a letter to his employer, the secretary of the Duke of Modena in London assured him that Bononcini was then in his heyday, “stimato all’eccesso dalla Corte, e dalla Nazione p[er] la grande riuscita delle sue opere (ெthe court and the whole nation have the highest esteem [for Bononcini] because of the huge success of his operas)19. Even before his arrival in England, Bononcini’s style was appreciated by British connoisseurs for being ெagreeable and easie20. Decades after he eventually left London for the Continent, ெthe elegant simplicity of Bononcini21 was still fondly remembered by his former admirers. Perhaps the best and most eloquent appraisal of the reasons why his music was so highly relished by the British public is formulated in a rather picturesque fashion by a Swiss lawyer, who heard some of his scores during a London stay later in the 1720s: J’ai entendu de la Musique de bien des maîtres, mais les uns par trop de bruit me font mal à la tête; leur sçavante multiplicité de parties fait une confusion où je suis toujours en cherche. D’autres font languir par la secheresse de leur idée; comme bien des femmes, ils ont babillé deux
ெNull’altra Musica è qui gradita che la nostra?
heures et n’ont rien dit du tout. Pour Mr. Bononcini son langage est aisé simple elegant noble; et plus que tout cela, son langage est celui du cœur; il s’y insinue, il l’échaufe, il le ravit, en un mot il me semble entendre ou voir un amant faire sa cour, et par tout ce que l’amour l’esprit et la politesse peuvent inventer de plus galant et de plus séduisant, gagner le cœur de la maîtresse.
(I have heard music written by many a master. Some of them make too much noise and give me a headache; their learned counterpoint confuses me and I cannot make sense out of their music. Others leave me cold because their scores are slight and dry; like many a woman, they talk for two hours but in the end they have hardly said anything at all. As for Bononcini, his music is easy on the ear, simple, elegant and noble. Above all, this is music that speaks the language of the heart. It penetrates it, warms it and ravishes it. In a word, methinks I hear or see a lover wooing his lady and conquering her heart thanks to the most gallant and appealing guiles of love, of the mind, and of politeness.)22
Bononcini took advantage of the vogue for his music by publishing a set of cantatas and duets dedicated to George I in 1721. This, the composer’s only published score, boasts an impressive subscription list of 238 names reading somewhat like an abbreviated Complete Peerage. According to the list, the total number of copies sold was 442, for many subscribers were eager to display their admiration for the composer’s music and bought multiple copies; thirty subscribers ordered between two and fifty-five of them23. In April and May 1722, the discovery of a Jacobite plot to restore the Stuart Pretender created a public sensation. This became known as the Atterbury plot, after the name of Francis Atterbury, Dean of Westminster and Bishop of Rochester, the most vocal and formidable supporter of the Pretender in England. He was implicated by the arrest of his secretary in May, was later arrested himself in August, and was eventually impeached and sentenced to permanent banishment the following year24. Walpole was always prone to enhance and exploit anti-Jacobite furore to humiliate the Tories in general and strengthen his position at the head of the government. He seized the opportunity with characteristically vindictive and perhaps excessive zeal, trying to suggest that all Catholics were potential conspirators and traitors. He managed to push through both Houses of Parliament a bill imposing a fine of £100,000 on all Catholics, to cover the expenses incurred by the government in arresting and prosecuting the conspirators25. All Catholics and/or Jacobites became objects of suspicion, even potential targets, especially those among Atterbury’s circle of friends and
acquaintances. A few days before Atterbury was arrested, the magnificent funeral of the Duke of Marlborough took place. As Dean of Westminster, Atterbury performed his duty in the burial service on 9 August 1722. Among the pieces of music played for the occasion, the main one was a specially commissioned anthem set to music by Bononcini. According to a contemporary newspaper26, the composer was ெappointed by Atterbury. This seems plausible enough – as will be seen below, Atterbury was a good friend of Pope’s, who seems to have admired Bononcini’s music and in a letter from the Dean to the poet, probably written in early June of that year, the composer is mentioned27. The Atterbury connection would perhaps have been enough to bring about the composer’s fall from grace, but the links between Bononcini and some of the most notorious Jacobites who happened to be indirectly implicated in the conspiracy are certainly much more extensive. Bononcini was a member of a closely-knit community that brought together émigré Italian artists or diplomats and their Italianophile English friends or patrons, aristocratic or otherwise. What remains of the correspondence and diaries of some of the members of this community conjures up a very lively image of their social life, intellectual interests and plain gossip28. A major member of this group, and an additional link between Atterbury and Bononcini which further aggravated the composer’s situation in 1722, was Katherine Darnley Sheffield, dowager Duchess of Buckingham, who was both a Catholic and a Jacobite, as well as a close friend of Atterbury’s. Her flamboyant support of the Stuart cause was no doubt partly due to the fact that she was the natural daughter of James II. Another, more peripheral but certainly not less discreet member of the community was another Duchess, Adelhida Talbot née Paleotti, the Italian-born, Catholic, and extravagant wife of the Duke of Shrewsbury29. A glimpse of the closeness of the community can for example be picked up in the diary of a Florentine doctor, Antonio Cocchi, who stayed in London in 1723-26, where he became the protégé of his compatriot the Duchess and a very intimate friend of Bononcini’s.30 His social calls and other visits are described in detail in his diary. On 5 April 1723, for instance, he had lunch with Bononcini; the Modenese minister in London, Giuseppe Riva; the merchant and agent of the Landgrave of HesseDarmstadt, Giovanni Giacomo Zamboni; the castrato, Gaetano Berenstadt, who was then secondo uomo in the Royal Academy cast; the former official librettist of the Academy, Paolo Rolli; as well as the Frenchman Pierre Coste, the translator of Locke and others, who happened to be the private tutor of the young son of the Duchess of Buckingham. Later in the same afternoon, Cocchi called on the Duchess of Shrewsbury31.
ெNull’altra Musica è qui gradita che la nostra?
Yet another Duchess, the younger Duchess of Marlborough, would later play a major and providential part in Bononcini’s London destiny, as will be seen below. She was not exactly a member of the Italian-English community, but she was introduced to the composer by a prominent member of the group: the English mezzo-soprano Anastasia Robinson, who was born in Italy and was also a Catholic32. Whereas her relations with Handel, who wrote several roles for her in his operas, were sometimes difficult, she was very close to Bononcini. The only leading role she played in her brief career was the title part of the latter’s very popular opera Griselda in early 1722. Not long thereafter, the singer retired from the stage because she secretly married Charles Mordaunt, third Earl of Peterborough, also a Catholic. When Atterbury attempted to prove his innocence, he declared that his planned hearing by the House of Commons was unconstitutional on the grounds that he was a Lord Spiritual. A motion was put to the vote on the issue and was defeated in the House of Lords by seventy-eight to thirtyone voices. Peterborough was one of the peers who voted against the Bishop’s interrogation in the Lower House33. His ties with Bononcini seem to have been particularly close. Peterborough may have been instrumental in attempting to revive Bononcini’s fortunes in 1723 by procuring him a new commission from the Royal Academy. This was the opera Farnace which opened the 172324 season. The printed libretto bears a dedication to Peterborough signed by Bononcini himself, which was quite exceptional at a time when libretto dedications were hardly ever written by the composer of the work, but by the librettist instead34. It seems that the Earl met the composer in Paris towards the end of the summer of 1723, while the former was on a diplomatic mission and the latter was employed by the French Académie Royale de Musique to perform some of his works there between two seasons at the Royal Academy35. Acting as middleman for the Royal Academy, Peterborough handed Bononcini the original Farnace libretto so that it might be adapted for the London stage with new music by the composer. This appears clearly from the dedication: ெQuest’Opera che da V[ostra] E[ccellenza] mi fu data in nome della Reale Accademia, acchioche l’accommodassi al nostro Teatro, e la facessi la Musica, domanda ora la sua protezione. (ெThis libretto, which was handed down to me by you in the name of the Royal Academy, so that I might adapt it and set it to music, now begs for your protection)36. As we learn from the London diary of Antonio Cocchi, the dedication was actually written by him and not by the composer37. Nonetheless, according to a letter from Zamboni to Riva, Bononcini received a bounty
of £100 from Peterborough for the dedication. Anastasia Robinson, who was probably the Earl’s wife by then, added £250, presumably from her husband’s purse, as a reward to the composer for his training and advice on how to sing the operatic parts he had conceived for her. Such generosity and Peterborough’s help to improve relations between Bononcini and the directors of the Royal Academy were not enough, however: still according to Zamboni, Farnace failed miserably because ெthe party against [Bononcini] is implacable38. The Italo-English network of friendship, appreciation and support that was built around Bononcini also included another notorious Catholic Tory and one of Walpole’s most formidable literary enemies: Alexander Pope. Indeed the poet appears to have been at the hub of the network, for he was connected with Bononcini, Atterbury, the Duchess of Buckingham, and Peterborough and his wife; as Atterbury wrote to him probably in the spring or summer of 1722: ெMrs. Robinson haunts Bononcini, you follow her, and I plague you39. In a humorous letter that he sent to the Earl while the latter was on his diplomatic mission in Paris, Pope teased him about his real activities in the French capital: ெInstead of confirming & strengthening our Alliances with forein Princes, you really take the same pains (tho not quite so successfully) in reconciling & healing the wounds of the various & discordant Potentates and Parties of the Opera?40 Pope and Atterbury had been in regular correspondence since at least 1716, and their friendship was personal as well as intellectual. It seems that the literary interests they had in common were backed by, or at least somehow connected with, their shared Tory allegiances and Jacobite leanings41. Pope appeared as a character witness when the Bishop was on trial, and the letters they exchanged around that time testify to the intimate nature of their relationship42. Pope continued to write to him after he was banished – and after the government had declared that any correspondence with the Bishop was treasonous – and eventually wrote his epitaph (Atterbury died in exile in France in 1732)43. Pope was also sollicited for his literary expertise by the Duchess of Buckingham. After the death of her husband in 1721, she busied herself with promoting his works both for publication and for performance on stage. A posthumous edition of his collected works was undertaken by Pope and came out in January 1723. The anti-Jacobite hysteria aroused by the Atterbury plot had not completely subsided by then, neither had Walpole’s determination to crush the hopes of the Pretender’s supporters. A mere two days after it was published, the collection was officially banned because of the pro-Stuart sentiments and allusions contained in several passages criticising the Revolution Settlement of 1688-89 (it
ெNull’altra Musica è qui gradita che la nostra?
appears that Pope himself was taken into custody but soon released)44. According to Pope’s biographer, the passages in question hardly deserved to be considered subversive by the authorities and barely justified the charge of seditious libel: it seems that Walpole was determined to maintain an unrelenting pressure on Jacobitism, especially because Atterbury was due to be tried not long after the publication45. At around the same time, the Duchess attempted to stage performances of two twin plays written by her late husband, Julius Caesar and Marcus Junius Brutus (both derived from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar). Buckingham had originally written the plays in 1712 and not long afterwards had asked famous men of letters to compose additional verses to be inserted as choruses at the end of each of the four acts of both works. Pope was invited to write the text of the first two choruses in Marcus Junius Brutus at some point between 1714 and 1716. These choruses were later set to music when the Duchess was trying to bring the plays to the stage. Bononcini was commissioned to set all four choruses of Marcus Junius Brutus as verse anthems, and one may conjecture that the Duchess was prompted to approach the composer after she had heard a sample of his choral writing at the funeral of the Duke of Marlborough. The two plays and their incidental music were actually never performed, apparently for technical and religious reasons – the king refused to allow the choristers of the Chapel Royal to perform on a stage – but political censorship can reasonably be surmised. This seems all the more plausible since the historical characters of the Roman dictator and his adopted son were sometimes used as allegories in contemporary political pamphlets and newspaper essays, especially to allude to the rivalry between the Hanover de facto king and the Stuart de jure one, which might have rendered Buckingham’s tragedies even more subversive in the eyes of the king and his ministers.46 A private dress rehearsal of the plays took place on 11 January 1723 at the Duchess’s, however, to celebrate the eighth birthday of Edmund Sheffield, the young Duke (with mezzo-soprano Anastasia Robinson as one of the soloists)47. Either Atterbury or Pope, or perhaps both, may have encouraged the Duchess to commission Bononcini to set the choruses to music. The poet seems more likely, as can be hypothesized from the following letter he had sent some time before to the Duchess: I beg your Grace’s Pardon for the Freedom with which I write to you […] Having a great Esteem for the famous Bononcini, not only for his great Fame, but for a Personal Knowledge of his Character; and this being increased by the ill Treatment he has met with here, I ventured, among other Persons of the first Distinction, who subscribed to me for his
Chapter Two Composures, newly ingraved, to set down the Name of your Grace48.
Pope’s attempt to persuade the Duchess to subscribe to Bononcini’s collection of cantatas and duets was successful, for her name does appear in the list of subscribers, as do those of Pope himself and of Peterborough (as well as Riva and Zamboni). The true reasons for Bononcini’s dismissal from the Academy in 1722, or at least his fall into disfavour, remain elusive. This is not surprising because of the absence of any official or private document unambiguously testififying to the fact that his downfall came about because of, and only because of, his Catholic and Jacobite connections. Other factors may have played at least some part, such as Bononcini’s being a ெproud man, who if he had valued himself less, the world would have esteemed him more49, as the Earl of Egmont jotted down in his diary nine years after the incident. Apart from his vanity, documented in other sources50, and perhaps also his greed, Bononcini and the popularity of his operas with the British public up to 1722 may well have been further damaged by a cabal led by a jealous colleague in London, the minor composer Pietro Giuseppe Sandoni, who happened also to be the husband of the then prima donna of the Royal Academy company51. Three pieces of evidence, one in print, the other two in manuscript, refer to Bononcini’s disgrace more or less explicitly, though with tantalizingly few details. The first reference is fairly vague and allusive, though it can be considered reliable as it comes from someone close to the composer. It was appended by librettist Paolo Rolli as a note to his Italian translation of Steele’s comedy The Conscious Lovers, published in London in 1724: ெl’ottima Musica [da Bononcini] ebbe […] da i [direttori della Reale Accademia di Musica], quasi la medesima Ricompensa del buon senso de i [miei] Drami, cioè quarta parte meno d’Onorario dell’Anno antecedente […] e persecuzione in avvenire. (ெFor his superb music, [Bononcini] received [from the directors of the Royal Academy] almost the same reward as I did for the excellence of my libretti, that is to say a salary reduced by a fourth as compared to that of the preceding year, and many persecutions to come)52. Paolo Rolli, who adapted many librettos for Handel and Bononcini, seems to have been dismissed by the Royal Academy as official librettist two years after Bononcini had suffered the same fate. The reasons for that dismissal remain unclear, but it seems that Rolli’s haughtiness and greed were among them53. It also seems reasonable to assume that the librettist and poet came to be considered, just like the composer, as a potential Jacobite sympathizer, because he was Italian and Catholic, and because he was at least peripherally involved with the Italo-English community
ெNull’altra Musica è qui gradita che la nostra?
described above, especially through his friendship with Bononcini54. The second testimony is more detailed and is chronologically closer to Bononcini’s downfall. In a letter to her husband dated 5 October 1722, the Countess of Bristol thus wrote: ெBononcini is dismissed the theatre for operas […]; the reason they give for it is his most extravagant demands55. However, what is most interesting is that this tidbit comes after a series of paragraphs within the same letter in which the Countess mentions the interrogations undergone by some of the suspects implicated in the Atterbury Plot, thereby pointing implicitly to the real politico-religious causes of Bononcini’s disfavour, and not the alleged reason. The third item is quite tangential but seems particularly reliable, for it comes from a letter written by the singer Anastasia Robinson, Bononcini’s intimate friend and admirer, as has been seen above. It is undated but appears to have been written after the composer had been dismissed, or at least cast aside by the Royal Academy, and when he was trying to get himself rehired by the company on financially satisfactory terms, probably with the help of the singer’s husband the Earl of Peterborough: I have great hopes Sig[no]r Bononcini’s demands may be agreed to, tho in another form than that which he propos’d, the di[ffi]culty is to get [his] benefit day certain, for [the directors of the Academy] would have it to depend on their favour and generosity (a wretched dependence indeed). I took the liberty to say what they designed doing, must be by contract, for tho Bononcini was a papist, yet he had been long enough in this heretick unbelieving country to loose all his faith56.
After trying unsuccessfully to revive his fortunes by proposing the poorly-received Farnace in 1723 and Calfurnia the next year, Bononcini made plans to leave Britain for Vienna. It seems that he was then introduced to Henrietta, Duchess of Marlborough by Anastasia Robinson. He entered the service of the Duchess and provided her with music, organising her private concerts until 173157. She had not subscribed to the composer’s collection of cantatas and duets in 1721, but her husband, Francis, second Earl Godolphin, does appear in the subscription list and purchased two copies, one of which was presumably destined for his wife. Above all, the Duchess had probably come to appreciate Bononcini’s music after hearing the anthem that had been performed at the burial service of her father in 1722. Perhaps she was all the more inclined to bestow her lavish patronage on Bononcini since she appears to have been a Catholic, although a covert one, if one is to believe Lord Hervey, who wrote to his wife not long after the death of the Duchess in 1733 that ெshe is with some reason reported to have dyd a Roman Catholick58.
It may well be, then, that by an ironic twist of fate, Bononcini’s Catholicism eventually helped to revive his fortunes in London, after having hampered his popularity and even his livelihood as official composer to the Royal Academy of Music. His network of Catholic Italian friends and colleagues, as well as English patrons and admirers, eventually guaranteed that his music would be played in England for one more decade, even though the price to pay for the composer was to move out of the public world of the opera stage and into that of private music for the personal entertainment of the Duchess of Marlborough and her guests.
Bibliography Bennett, Gareth Vaughan. The Tory Crisis in Church and State, 16881730: The Career of Francis Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester. Oxford: Clarendon, 1975. Black, Jeremy. Walpole in Power. Stroud: Sutton, 2001. Brown, John. An Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times. London: Davis and Rymers, 1757. Burney, Charles. An Account of the Musical Performances in WestminsterAbbey and the Pantheon, May 26th, 27th, 29th; and June the 3rd, and 5th, 1784. In Commemoration of Handel. London: Payne and Robinson, 1785; repr. New York: Da Capo, 1979. Cervantes, Xavier. ெHistory and Sociology of the Italian Opera in London (1705-45): The Evidence of the Dedications of the Printed Librettos. Studi Musicali 27 (1998): 339-382. Colley, Linda. Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837. London: Pimlico, 1994. Cruickshanks, Eveline, and Howard Erskine-Hill. The Atterbury Plot. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Duffy, Michael. The Englishman and the Foreigner, The English Satirical Print 1600-1832. Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey, 1986. Gibson, Elizabeth. The Royal Academy of Music 1719-1728: The Institution and Its Directors. New York: Garland, 1989. Greenfeld, Liah. Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992. Hume, Robert D. ெThe Sponsorship of Opera in London, 1704-1720. Modern Philology 85 (1988): 420-32. Kohn, Hans. ெThe Genesis and Character of English Nationalism. Journal of the History of Ideas 1 (1940): 69-94. Knapp, John Merrill. ெEighteenth-Century Opera in London before Handel, 1705-1710. In British Theatre and the Other Arts, 1660-
ெNull’altra Musica è qui gradita che la nostra?
1800, edited by Shirley Strum Kenny, 92-104. Washington: Folger Shakespeare Library; London and Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1984. Lenman, Bruce. The Jacobite Risings in Britain, 1689-1746. London: Eyre Methuen, 1980. Lindgren, Lowell. ெA Bibliographic Scrutiny of Dramatic Works Set by Giovanni and His Brother Antonio Maria Bononcini. PhD dissertation, University of Harvard, 1972. Lindgren, Lowell. ெThe Three Great Noises ‘Fatal to the Interests of Bononcini’.Musical Quarterly 61 (1975): 560-83. —. ெCritiques of Italian Opera in London, 1705-1719. In Il melodramma italiano in Italia e in Germania nell’età barocca / Die italienische Barockoper ihre Verbreitung in Italien und Deutschland, edited by Alberto Colzani, Norbert Dubowy, Andrea Luppi and Maurizio Padoan, 143-65. Como: Centro italo-tedesco / Deutsch-Italienisches Zentrum Villa Vigoni, 1995. Mack, Maynard. Alexander Pope: A Life. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985. Martinez, Marc. ெLe Grand Tour dans la caricature graphique et le théâtre satirique anglais au milieu du XVIIIe siècle. In Les Représentations du Sud: Du factuel au fictif, edited by Jean Mondot, 41-63. Pessac: Maison des sciences de l’homme d’Aquitaine, 2003. Newman, Gerald. The Rise of English Nationalism: A Cultural History 1740-1830. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997. Pearce, Edward. Sir Robert Walpole: Scoundrel, Genius and Britain’s First Prime Minister. London: Cape, 2007. Plumb, J. H. Sir Robert Walpole: The King’s Minister. London: Cresset, 1960. Sherburn, George. The Early Career of Alexander Pope. Oxford: Clarendon, 1934. Smith, Ruth. Handel’s Oratorios and Eighteenth-Century Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Streatfield, Richard A. ெHandel, Rolli, and Italian Opera in London in the Eighteenth Century. Musical Quarterly 3 (1917): 428-45. Taylor, Carole. ெItalian Operagoing in London, 1700-1745. PhD dissertation, University of Syracuse, 1991. Williams, Basil. The Whig Supremacy 1714-1760, The Oxford History of England, 11, 2nd edition. Oxford: Clarendon, 1962.
PART II: PICTURING ORIENTALISMS
CHAPTER THREE ROBERTSON’S STUDIO. CONTRADICTORY ORIENTS: A BRITISH PHOTOGRAPHER IN CONSTANTINOPLE IN THE MID-VICTORIAN PERIOD DANIEL FOLIARD UNIVERSITE PARIS OUEST NANTERRE LA DEFENSE
In fact, the series of photographs of Jerusalem and Palestine by Mr. Robertson, of Constantinople, together with those of Mr. Frith, now in course of publication, bid fair to place the untravelled archaeologist in an equally advantageous position, as regards the antiquities of the East, with the most fortunate of modern travellers, with this great additional superiority on the part of the former, that as the photographic machine admits of no liberties with the subject which it undertakes to portray, and is altogether unbiassed by theological prejudices and antiquarian theories, it is less liable to lead the careful explorer astray than the partial representations and sectarian commentaries of the valets de place, to whom English tourists are mostly indebted for their very superficial acquaintance with Jerusalem and its remains1.
Early reviews of James Robertson’s orientalist photography often underlined the impartial representations of the East that his salt prints might convey2. For a Victorian audience, the photographer’s “truthful lens” offered an unprecedented opportunity to behold Jerusalem, Constantinople or Cairo for what they were, instead of reflecting on the distorted images and biased depictions of the numerous travelogues and memoirs written by some valets de place.3 With the invention of photography, a number of early British practitioners of the daguerreotype and of the calotype and, later, of the wet collodion plate, travelled the East and progressively renovated the British and European visual culture. One
Robertson’s Studio. Contradictory Orients
of the key concepts that defined the British mindset in its relation with the Orient, i.e. exoticism, underwent a series of transformations which reshaped the essence of the East in westerners’ eyes. James Robertson holds an eminent position among the protagonists in this photographic redefinition of the British gaze towards the East. He was a Scotsman, born in the early 1810s, probably in 1813. He became the apprentice of William Wyon (1795-1851), the chief engraver of the Royal Mint in the late 1830s. He moved to Constantinople in 1841 where he took a position at the Imperial Mint. The different reforms (the Tanzimât) initiated by Mahmud the Second were gaining momentum. Robertson was one of the many European specialists hired to contribute to the modernization of the Osmanli state. A few years later, in the early 1850s, still being an engraver for the Sultan, Robertson started a photographic venture with two brothers, Felice and Antonio Beato. He eventually married their sister in 1855. Robertson closed his studio in 1867 for unknown reasons after more than decade of pioneering photography in the Ottoman Empire. He even sold his photographic equipment but continued to work as an official engraver in the Ottoman capital. He retired in 1881 and left for Japan where Felice Beato had been living since 1863. He died there in 1888. There is scattered evidence on his career and life in the archives4. The number and quality of his prints demonstrates, however, that he played a significant part in developing the imagery of the Ottoman Empire and the Crimean War for a British audience whose attention was drawn to the Orient by the developments of the Eastern Question. ெRobertson of Constantinople, a title used by the Illustrated London News with which he collaborated, created one of the first extensive photographic collections of the Ottoman Empire in the 1850s. His photographs and engravings are characterized by contradictory cultural representations, from romanticism to modern ethnography and from classical stereotypes to unexpected documentary snapshots of local life. They provide an understanding of the complexities of the mid-Victorian frame of mind when confronted to the Oriental foreigner. This article will establish that the pictures of the East produced by Robertson and his brothers-in-law, Antonio and Felice Beato, were multifaceted, caught between visions of progress and obsolescence, reflections upon the conflicting expectations of the British confronted with a ெnot just yet agonizing Ottoman Empire5. Our hypothesis is that their prints mirrored a western gaze on the East that was far from uniform in the mid-19th century. British support for the Ottoman Empire was unflinching at the time, even if heated debates pointed at the limited effects of the reforms implemented by the Sultans under western pressure. We will
further assess the extent to which early photographic processes transformed the visual construction of the East in the mid-19th century by determining how the aesthetical trends established in the first decades of the century progressively gave way to new paradigms. An insight into the conditions of Robertson’s photographic practice will eventually draw our attention to the complex phenomenon of the Orientalism of the Orientals, or how the Foreignness of Foreigners is generally reclaimed by the ones it excluded to begin with.
The legacies of exoticism Robertson’s photographic establishment was a commercial venture. It necessarily followed the well-trodden paths of European illustrated travelogues of the 1830s and 1840s6. The pre-existing market for such imagery of the East could not be overlooked by early photographers whose income heavily depended on their ability to understand the needs of a mostly upper-class clientele. Robertson’s first customers were either members of the European elite who could afford a tour in the East, or officers who had participated in the Crimean War. The Comte de Paris’ and Duc de Chartres’ folios respectively kept at the National Library of France and at the Orsay Museum are both illustrative of this category of customers. Frederick Methuen’s album of Crimean photographs is another example.7 James Robertson’s photographic production had to meet such a clientele’s expectations. Eastern sights and sites, from Gizah to Gethsemane, had already been fixed and defined by the numerous travelogues published in the first half of the 19th century. His studio had to offer views similar to the oriental highlights that had previously dominated the illustrations of these books. One of Robertson’s most famous prints, The fountain of the Sultan Selim (Fig. 3-1), is a testimony to this early 19th century aesthetic taste. Despite a case of mistaken identity – the printed fountain was actually built by Ahmed III – this view includes many of the characteristics of European Orientalism8. To western eyes, it was both exotic and picturesque, two quintessential categories of the western lure of the East in this period9. The Oriental, laying on his side or sitting, always passive, echoed one of the main stereotypes on the Ottomans, purportedly characterized by their Turkish apathy, a disease caused by the excessive femininity of education. The fact that the Sultans-to-be were first educated in the Harem in their first years, with no other company than secluded women, was of great concern for the British. Richard Robert Madden’s The Turkish Empire: In Its Relations with Christianity and Civilization
Robertson’s Studio. Contradictory Orients
describes the Sultan’s education in unambiguous terms: ெhis education in the Harem, and the effects of a feeble organization ill directed in early life, imparted effeminacy to his appearance, and to some extent to his character10. In the absence of a manly education, many believed the Turk’s destiny was decline. In the same photograph, the few signs of activity, the tripod stall for example, conveyed an idea of commercial medievalism. In the background, the grillwork on the harem’s windows conjured fantasies of eastern women11. Reminiscences of atrocities haunted the Baba Hummayoun, or ெSublime Porte, opening towards the seraglio, in a combination of desire and violence12. Contemporaneous literature cultivated such an Orient. For instance, the comments accompanying Thomas Allom’s illustrations of the Porte vividly depicted the atrocities performed in front of the Harem: Much of the brutal and bloody barbarism which the Osmanli brought with them into Europe is still displayed in their most characteristic manner at this imperial gate. Here it is that noses and ears are exhibited as trophies of victory, like Indian scalps. In the year 1822, the conqueror of Patrass sent many sacks of those trophies; they were shaken out before the Baba Hummayoun, and formed two large piles of various mutilated portions of the human countenance; and through these ghastly and festering heaps of his subjects’ flesh, the sultan and his officers passed every day, till they rotted and dissolved away.
The first collectors of Robertson’s prints were familiar with these underlying motives and anecdotes. Their selection of eastern sceneries paraphrased earlier Romantic views of the region. Byron’s visions of the Orient still haunted the 1850s photographic gaze on the area, for instance. The Comte de Paris’ folio on Constantinople provides an illustration of this enduring penchant for the poet’s evocations of the East. Someone carefully copied lines from Byron’s Bride of Abydos on the first page of the volume by way of introduction to Robertson’s prints: Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime— Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle Now melt into softness, now madden to crime? […] Where the virgins are soft as the roses they twine, And all save the spirit of man is divine? ’Tis the land of the east—’tis the clime of the Sun
Romantic Orientalism was thus lingering in Robertson’s views. His first clients, high-ranking officers and wealthy travelers on a Grand Tour,
intended their albums to resonate with early 19th century visions of the Orient. This aristocratic consumption of Robertson’s works questions the very modernity of early photography in the East. The new media heavily depended on the legacies of previous forms of visual culture. Reflections of paintings, drawings and engravings from the 1830s and 1840s thus pervaded the prints developed at Robertson’s establishment. Roberston was, above all things, an engraver. He was certainly very familiar with the works of some of his predecessors. A glance at Julia Pardoe’s Beauties of the Bosphorus, dramatically illustrated by William Bartlett and published in 1839, or at Thomas Allom’s drawings of the same fountain, engraved by Edward Challis and published in 1840, confirms their direct influence of his work13. Legacies of other masters such as David Roberts, another authority on the photography of the east, are tangible in his Syrian pictures, as evidenced by the obvious parallels between their depictions of the Mar Saba convent14. Was this apparently conservative aesthetic positioning only a consequence of Robertson’s capacity to meet the demand of his elite consumers? It is undeniable that few were those who could buy the very expensive folios displaying the photographer’s views which were sold by Joseph Cundall in London. The volume sold at the extraordinary price of 6 pounds, 12 shillings and 6 pence (approximately £400 in 2013)15. This category of customers expected to find traditional visions of the East. However, this demand for early 19th century exoticism was also strong in a far wider audience than the limited one composed of the travellers who could afford the original photographic prints. James Robertson, whose main work was at the Ottoman Imperial Mint, multiplied his sources of income. He regularly worked for British illustrated newspapers. The Illustrated London News published several of his pictures16. Some of them were engraved copies of his views of the Crimean battlefields, others were romanticized illustrations of various aspects of Turkish life between 1853 and 1855. They constructed visual catalogues of the same strain of exoticism that structured The Fountain of the Sultan Selim. Illustrations based on his photographs may also be found in Walter Thornbury’s Turkish life and character or in Théophile Gautier’s Constantinople of Today17. Views derived from Robertson’s studio’s photographic prints circulated in newspapers and illustrated books. They thereby reached larger segments of the British audience. The ever-increasing middle-class readership of the mid-Victorian press was as eager to watch picturesque views and scenes of Constantinople as the wealthy individuals who visited Robertson’s establishment in Pera, Istanbul’s most cosmopolitan area18. The exoticizing quality of Robertson’s work was in its turn
Robertson’s Studio. Contradictory Orients
acknowledged by major Orientalist painters. James Robertson’s friendships illustrate these interactions. His proximity with the French orientalist Fabius Brest (1823-1900) is documented by a portrait of the two artists.19 Other artists used his prints as sources of inspiration. Alberto Pasini’s La Porte de la Mosquée de Yeni-Djami à Constantinople evokes The Suleymaniye Mosque at Istanbul by James Robertson20. Jean-Léon Gérôme relied on views of Cairo by Robertson’s studio for Le général Bonaparte au Caire21. Photography was not yet separated from the supposedly higher arts. Despite its technical modernity, the process did not immediately result in a revision of the visual discourse on ெthe Oriental or in a redefinition of what was eastern for a British onlooker. Robertson’s orientalist work was deeply rooted in the visual culture of his youth, a culture that was asserting the fundamental exoticism of the East. It staged the insurmountable distance between the western observer and its oriental object. This was yet only a dimension of the photographic production of Robertson and the Beato brothers. Their vision was far from univocal.
Photographs as documents: redefining oriental foreignness The Crimean War (1853–1856) gave James Robertson and Felice Beato, his assistant at the time, an opportunity to develop photography as a commercial enterprise for the first time22. The expatriate had some knowledge of the administrative intricacies of the Ottoman Empire and connections in Great Britain as well. Being a man on the spot allowed him to compete with another famous pioneer, Roger Fenton23. Robertson and Beato witnessed the destructive power of modern artillery and of the horrors of mid-19th century warfare. They became aware of the potentiality of photography as documentary evidence. For the first time, war could be thoroughly recorded on a collodion wet plate. Their views of the battlefields of the Crimean War were brutal. They showed the new face of battle when Roger Fenton avoided the most atrocious images of the war in his prints24. Contemporaneous reviewers of Robertson’s Crimean War photographs acknowledged the violence depicted in his prints, such as the famous Interior of the Redan showing the utter destruction of a Russian battery position: Having seen views of Sebastopol, and everything in connection with the place, both before and during the siege; nothing was wanting to complete our knowledge of the localities, and the great events in connection with them, but a pictorial description, after the siege, of all these places, the names of which have become so familiar to us through the daily press. This
Chapter Three exhibition, consisting of a series of Photographs by Mr. James Robertson, chief engraver to the Imperial Mint at Constantinople, is to be seen at No. 222, Regent Street, in the rooms of Mr. Kilburn. It contains views of the Redan, the Malakoff, the English and French approaches; the Little Redan, all the famous batteries, and every site deriving a melancholy celebrity from those names which now distinguish them forever, through their ample baptism of human blood25.
Part of Robertson’s photography explored the possibilities of the new medium. It distanced itself from traditions. An apparently little innovative view of the Temple at Philae in Egypt demonstrates how Robertson’s studio could also develop a combination of the old and the new. Most early photographers used their standing dragoman in the foreground as a measure of scale. Robertson and Beato departed from the motive in this print. The photographers used a group of half-naked children for the same purpose. They were certainly not the best choice for the photographer: they could not stand still and Robertson had to retouch their blurred figures with some ink (Fig. 3-2). Still, Robertson would have used his employees for the purpose, as he did in most of his other views of Egypt, if they were not of some interest to him. These children became the other focal point in the picture, a burst of ordinary life in the middle of the ruins. Such a documentary gaze on Egyptian lives must be compared with the work of the Anglo-German Ernest Benecke who travelled the East from 1850 to 1852. His unmediated portraits and views are exceptional for the 1850s. He was one of the first photographers to explore the ethnographic potential of the lens26. Among the documentary views produced by Robertson’s studio, his portraits of dervishes, peddlers and Circassians are yet another illustration of how early photography transformed the representation of oriental foreignness in the 1850s. A demand for genre scenes had its origins in the tradition of orientalist sketches and watercolours from the first decades of the 19th century. Robertson’s studio had to supply such prints together with eastern views of monuments and landscapes to meet the demand. Robertson published an advertisement in John Murray’s Hand-book for travellers on the continent in 1861 praising his ெgroups and oriental costumes colored from the life27. They generally belonged to the category of costumes, i.e. scenes exploring the picturesque more than the scientific immediacy of photography. Customers of early photography expected colourful images of daily Turkish life that did not deviate from traditional visions. A closer look at the documentation demonstrates that Robertson’s portraits were already tainted by modernity. Some of them can be categorized as types28. Types were ethnographic prints that were able ெto
Robertson’s Studio. Contradictory Orients
combine picturesque signifiers with highly detailed and apparently candid views of the physiognomy and costume of non-western peoples29. They were the byproducts of growing scientific concerns in 19th century Britain. Some of Robertson’s scenes were indeed focusing on a much more direct and blunt representation of eastern populations where the poverty of street vendors contrasted with traditional exoticism30. His pictures were sometimes understood as modern physiognomistic studies, as demonstrated by an analysis of a portrait of Omer Pacha published in the Anglo-American Review: The portrait of Omer Pacha which is given with the present number of the Anglo, is from a photograph taken by Mr. Robertson at Constantinople. The portrait realises the most striking characteristics of the physiognomy of Omer Pacha, described by our contemporaries. He wears a fez cap, which shews to advantage the clear, well-marked lines of his calm and resolute face, embrowned by exposure to wind and weather for many a year of a soldier's life, and the hue of which is well contrasted with his snow white whiskers and beard. In the rude mouth, with compressed thick lips, is traceable enormous firmness and resolution31.
In this dimension of his work, traditional exoticism was fading. Examples of Robertson’s portraits, such as the Derviche (Fig. 3-3), are leaning toward an ethnographic recording of eastern populations. The extent of how foreign the objects of these photographs were, was partially expressed through a documentary, almost scientific, photography of the types32. It announced vast taxonomical projects such as The People of India published a few years later: the recording of populations according to standardized framing and composition33. Robertson’s Orientals are caught in between types and costumes, between a traditional gaze on eastern exoticism and a new vision imbued with early forms of racial taxonomy.
The East: decadence or progress? James Robertson had a peculiar standpoint when confronting the Ottoman Empire. He was at the very heart of its modernization thanks to his work at the Imperial Mint. He was also a commercial photographer, bound to supply illustrations of Turkish life that should resonate with contemporary stereotypes of Oriental decline. Street scenes from the Comte de Paris’ folios or in the Duc de Chartres’ albums regularly display signs of Eastern archaicism as imagined by a European audience. Tripod stalls, a symptom of Ottoman commercial medievalism, are obsessively repeated in many of the views of
Constantinople. Scenes of Egypt by Robertson’s studio compose another substantiation of the capacity of early photography to describe a vacant and moribund East. Their ruins, abandoned monuments and deserted landscapes seem to corroborate Derek Gregory’s analysis. The European photographic depiction of the region can often be described as ெan empty space waiting for reclamation34. Early photographers in the East followed a script which proves that such an assertion was true most of the time. Francis Frith and his successors selected angles, subjects and landscapes which conjured up an antiquated Orient. They followed a pre-established catalogue of eastern shapes and compositions. From the late 1850s onward, series of stereoscopic views sold in Europe replicated sights for decades, with surprisingly few novelties. Robertson and the Beato brothers participated in the definition of what this objectified East was to be, but some of their prints give a more complex vision of the region. A print showing the dam of Kala-Saida is one example of a nonstandardized image of the East35. This early picture of one of Khedive Mohammed Said Pacha’s efforts to modernize Egypt stands out. It did not draw on the picturesque traditions. It was a testimony to a potential progress of the East. Robertson’s views of the Dolma-bahcè palace, whose western architecture was a symbol of the promises of the Tanzimât, or his prints showing the arsenal in Istanbul with its cranes and modern warehouses (Fig. 3.4), corroborate this analysis. The apparition of western-looking subjects in some pictures, such as the ெVue dans le grand cimetière de Scutari, is another indication of Robertson’s capacity to use photography as a way to redefine the distance between East and West36. A look at the broader context demonstrates that these photographs of a modernizing Orient corresponded to a more forward-looking approach of the region in Europe. A genuine British turcophilia developed during the Crimean War, as shown, for instance, in the success of Christopher Oscanyan and Serovpe Aznavour’s Oriental and Turkish Museum in London. The two entrepreneurs displayed an Oriental version of Madame Tussaud’s wax museum in St George’s Gallery, Piccadilly, in the 1850s37. An audience eager for novelties could embark on Charles Marshall’s Grand Moving Diorama of a Tour from Blackwall to Baclava in Leicester Square or travel East thanks to Albert Smith’s Diorama of Constantinople in the Egyptian Hall.38 David Urquhart (1805-1877), a pro-Ottoman diplomat, set up a network of ெforeign committees which worked as a pressure group to publicize the Ottoman Empire’s modernity39. These manifestations testified for contradictory appreciations of the state of Turkey in Great Britain. The same patterns are to be found in many of the photographer’s prints.
Robertson’s Studio. Contradictory Orients
Indirect clues support the idea that Robertson was a conscious agent of the visual construction of a modernizing East. The very likely affiliation of James Robertson to one of the newly opened Masonic lodges in Pera partly explains his interest in showing dimensions of the East that would differ from the traditional exoticizing gaze40. His brother-in-law, Felice Beato, indisputably was a Freemason. He was a founding member of one of the first Masonic lodges in Japan in 186741. The documented proximity between the two men, professionally as well as personally, enables one to consider the possibility of Robertson being himself a Mason. Such a suggestion would be anecdotal if it were not for the focus of many masons, in France and in Great Britain, on a potential renewal of the East through technological progress42. This accounts for Robertson’s studio’s ability to depict the Eastern populations from a new perspective.
Photography as a negotiation One of the main practical difficulties for a photographer in the Ottoman Empire was not only to depict eastern foreignness in a way that could ensure commercial success, but also to handle his own status as a foreigner so that his photographic activity would not be obstructed. A photographer using the wet collodion was a sight for everyone. Robertson’s unmistakable foreignness in the Ottoman Empire was accentuated by the technicalities of the process. Preparing the wet plates was a time-consuming process which required large quantities of chemicals and an apparatus one could hardly conceal. The negative had to be developed on the spot, in a portable dark room which is visible on some of Robertson’s views. A picture of the fountain of Ahmed III shows the tent James Robertson probably used as a darkroom43. The bystander could not help but notice the painstaking efforts of the photographers: stealing a picture was impossible. Robertson did not try to disguise himself to make his task easier. At least one print indicates he was wearing a western suit while travelling through Syria and Palestine. The next-to-last mounted print in the Comte de Paris’ album entitled Jerusalem – la Syrie shows James Robertson in a top hat next to Felice Beato overlooking a Syrian landscape. Negotiation with the locals was imperative in order to be able to avoid blurring details and figures. The long exposure time required subjects to hold steady, an unattainable ideal in the crowded streets of the major cities of the Ottoman Empire except under official protection. A view of the Hippodrome in Istanbul, void of people except for groups of men in uniform sitting on the ground, was necessarily staged. The photographer acted under the Sultan’s
authority. Everything indicates that Robertson, given his prominent position at the Imperial Mint was not any kind of foreigner travelling the East for negatives. His photographic activity was not only accepted but encouraged by the Osmanli state. The fact that he had a firman to protect him while he and the Beato brothers were working in Jerusalem corroborates that fact. On the other hand, a glance at the prints showing streets of Cairo, where Robertson did not have the connections his position at the Imperial Mint granted him in Istanbul, shows indistinct figures in motion. Robertson did not manage to freeze the Arab street for the wet collodion to perfectly operate. Robertson’s photographs were compromises: with local authorities, with paid models, with bystanders. He and the Beato brothers shot what they were allowed to and very often enjoyed the support of the Ottoman authorities. They evolved in a context where photography was accepted by Muslim doctors of the law in the Ottoman Empire, since its unbiased recording of light did not qualify it as an untruthful image. It must also be reminded that a great interest for photography existed among the sultans in the late 19th century. Abdulaziz (1861-1876) had introduced photography in the army. Abdulhamid II (1876-1909) promoted an unprecedented photographic coverage of Ottoman life in the 1880s which echoed Robertson’s early prints44. The legacy of the pioneer was quickly claimed by local photographers, such as the Abdullah brothers, whose studio, like that of many other prominent practitioners of photography in the Ottoman Empire, was a few yards from Robertson’s own establishment in Pera. One cannot reject the idea that direct contacts existed between the British pioneer of photography and his local successors. By a turn of fate, Robertson’s photographic Orientalism, a foreigner’s vision, became progressively approved, recycled and eventually adopted by the so-called Orientals themselves.
Conclusion The production of Robertson’s studio is a testimony to the complexity of the European gaze on the East. It is an illustration of the polymorphism of European Orientalism. It always was an evolving and disparate matter, a product of compromises and negotiations. James Robertson and his assistants included more modern elements to the picture while recycling the traditional vision of an exotic and picturesque foreign space. Traces of a potential regeneration, hints at a turcophilia that was far from peripheral in the British public during the Crimean War, as well as early attempts at
Robertson’s Studio. Contradictory Orients
an ethnographical depiction of daily life in the East laid the basis of a new visual culture of the region for western eyes. More importantly, the set of representations and codes that pervaded his scenes and views of Oriental foreignness was reinterpreted by native photography itself, in the everlasting dialectical movement that defines what foreign is.
Bibliography Primary Sources Allom, Thomas Walsh R. Constantinople and the Scenery of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor, Illustrated. Vol. 1, London: Fisher, 1838. Anon. ெJerusalem. The Christian remembrancer XXXVII, no. 1 (1859): 391. —. ெOmer Pacha – with a Portrait. The Anglo-American Magazine 6 (1855): 281. —. ெPhotographic Pictures of Sebastopol. The Art Journal XVIII (1856): 62. Gautier, Théophile. Constantinople of Today: Transl. From the French, by Robert Howe Gould. Illustr. With Engravings from Photogr. Pictures. London: Bogue, 1854. The Illustrated London News. Murray, John. A Hand-Book for Travellers on the Continent. London: Murray, 1861. Lacan, Ernest. Esquisses photographiques, À propos de l'exposition universelle et de la guerre d'orient. Paris: Grassart, 1856. Madden, Richard Robert. The Turkish Empire. In Its Relations with Christianity and Civilization. Vol. 2, London: T.C. Newby, 1862. Oriental and Turkish Museum, Catalogue of the Oriental and Turkish Museum, St. George’s Gallery, Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly (London: Golbourn, 1854). Pardoe, Julia, and Bartlett, William H. The Beauties of the Bosphorus. London: George Virtue, 1839. Robertson, James. Photographic Views of Constantinople. London: Joseph Cundall, 1853. Smith, Albert. Hand-Book to the Grand Moving Diorama of Constantinople: Including the Dardanelles, and the Bosphorus, up to the Entrance of the Black Sea, Which Is Now Open in the New Room at the Egyptian Hall (London, 1854). Thornbury, Walter. Turkish Life and Character. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1860.
Watson, J. Forbes, and Kaye, John William. The People of India: A Series of Photographic Illustrations, with Descriptive Letterpress, of the Races and Tribes of Hindustan. London: India Museum, 1868.
Secondary Sources AlSayyad, Nezar et al. Making Cairo Medieval. Lanham Md.: Lexington Books, 2005. Anduze, Eric. La Franc-Maçonnerie au Moyen-Orient et au Maghreb fin XIXe-début XXe Siècle. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2005. Aubenas, Sylvie, and Lacarrière, Jacques. Voyage en Orient. Paris: Hazan, 1999. Bennett, Terry. Early Japanese Images. Rutland: Tuttle, 1996. Favret, Mary A. War at a Distance: Romanticism and the Making of Modern Wartime. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010. Fulford, Tim, and Kitson Peter J. Romanticism and Colonialism: Writing and Empire, 1780-1830. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Gartlan, Luke. ெJames Robertson and Felice Beato in the Crimea: Recent Findings. History of Photography 29, no. 1 (2005): 72-80. —. ெTypes or Costumes? Reframing Early Yokohama Photography. Visual Resources XXII, no. 3 (2006): 239-63. Goldschmidt, Lucien, and Naef, Weston J. The Truthful Lens: A Survey of the Photographically Illustrated Book, 1844-1914. New York: The Grolier club, 1980. Green-Lewis, Jennifer. Framing the Victorians: Photography and the Culture of Realism. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1996. Harland-Jacobs, Jessica. Builders of Empire: Freemasons and British Imperialism, 1717-1927. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007. Harris, David. Of Battle and Beauty: Felice Beato’s Photographs of China. Santa Barbara, CA: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1999. Henisch, B. A., and Henisch H. K. ெJames Robertson of Constantinople; a Chronology. History of Photography History of Photography 14, no. 1 (1990): 23-32. Howe, Kathleen Stewart. First Seen: Portraits of the World’s Peoples, 1840-1880. Santa Barbara, CA: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2004. Keller, Ulrich. The Ultimate Spectacle: A Visual History of the Crimean War. Australia; Amsterdam, Netherlands: Gordon and Breach, 2001. Lyons, Claire. Antiquity and Photography: Early Views of Ancient Mediterranean Sites. Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005.
Robertson’s Studio. Contradictory Orients
Melman, Billie. Women’s Orients: English Women and the Middle East, 1718-1918: Sexuality, Religion, and Work. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992. Necipoglu, Gülru. Architecture, Ceremonial, and Power: The Topkapi Palace in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. New York: MIT Press, 1991. Nochlin, Linda. The Politics of Vision: Essays on Nineteenth-Century Art and Society. New York: Harper & Row, 1989. Osman, Colin. Jerusalem: Caught in Time. New York: New York University Press, 2000. Öztuncay, Bahattin. James Robertson: Pioneer of Photography in the Ottoman Empire. Istanbul: Eren, 1992. —. The Photographers of Constantinople: Pioneers, Studios and Artists from 19th Century Istanbul. 2 vols. Vol. 1, Istanbul: Aygaz, 2003. —. Robertson Osmanli: Osmanli Baskentinde Fotografçi Hakkak. Istanbul: Kuzguncuk, 2013. Perez, Nissan. Focus East: Early Photography in the near East (18391885). New York: Abrams, 1988. Reid, James J. Crisis of the Ottoman Empire: Prelude to Collapse, 18391878. Stuttgart: F. Steiner, 2000. Roubert, P. L. ெLes Fonds de la distinction: le financement des sociétés photographiques du XIXe siècle. Etudes Photographiques, no. 24 (2009): 18-41. Salt, John. ெLocal Manifestations of the Urquhartite Movement. International Review of Social History 13, no. 3 (1968). Schwartz, Joan, and Ryan, James. Picturing Place: Photography and the Geographical Imagination. London: I.B. Tauris, 2002. Solnon, Jean-François. Le Turban et la stambouline: l’empire ottoman et l’Europe, XIVe-XXe siècle, affrontement et fascination réciproques. Paris: Perrin, 2009. Thérond, Roger. Une Passion française: photographies de la collection de Roger Thérond. Levallois-Perret: Filipacchi, 1999. Woodward, Michelle L. ெBetween Orientalist Cliches and Images of Modernization: Photographic Practice in the Late Ottoman Era. History of Photography XXVII, no. 4 (2003): 363-374.
Fig. 3-1. James Robertson, Porte de Sérail et Fontaine du sultan Sélim, salted paper print from a wet collodion plate, circa 1853, 25x30 cm, George Sirot collection, Bibliothèque nationale de France, (accession n° RESERVE VH- 273 – FOL).
Robertsson’s Studio. Co ontradictory Orrients
mes Robertson and a the Beato brothers, Vue duu temple de Phiilae, paper Fig. 3-2. Jam print from a wet collodion plate, 23, 5 x 30, 1857, comte de Paaris albim, Bibliothèque nationale de Frrance.
Fig. 3-3. Jam mes Robertson, Derviche, D salted d paper, hand-ccolored; 18 x 13 3.5 cm, on mount 30 x 22 cm, The Gettty Research Insstitute, Los Anggeles (96.R.14(A A2))
Robertsson’s Studio. Co ontradictory Orrients
mes Robertsonn, Vue de l’Arrsenal, salted ppaper print fro om a wet Fig. 3-4. Jam collodion plaate, 1859, 24 x 30 cm, Biblio othèque Nationaale de France, collection George Sirot,, circa 1855 (accession n° EO- 89 –FOL).
CHAPTER FOUR “NEVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET”: THE IMPOSSIBLE ENCOUNTER OF SELF AND OTHER IN THE ILLUSTRATIONS OF NINETEENTH-CENTURY BRITISH TRAVEL BOOKS ON EGYPT CAROLINE LEHNI UNIVERSITE DE STRASBOURG— INSTITUT D’ÉTUDES POLITIQUES
Throughout the nineteenth century, Britain was fascinated by Egypt. As travel was no longer limited to the wealthiest sections of the British society, an ever-widening circle was visiting the country which had until then been deemed too dangerous or too remote for mere pleasure seekers (Pemble 1987, 46; Melman 1992, 11). At the same time, the British craze for Egypt was nourished by the continued publication of travel books: no less than 500 travel accounts on Egypt were published in Britain between 1798 and 1914, of which 317 were illustrated (Lehni 2007, 34, 594-665). Through pictures and text, armchair travellers were introduced to the temples and pyramids of ancient Egypt, as well as to the foreignness of Arab cities and villages. Besides familiarising the armchair traveller with Egypt, its sights and its inhabitants, travel books in general also related their author’s peregrinations. Encounters with the inhabitants, with the Egyptian “Other”, thus always formed part of both the reality of travel and of travel book narratives, even though they often amounted to little more than commonplace exchanges between tourists and dragomans or donkey boys1. Such encounters, however, hardly ever appear in the illustrations of nineteenth-century travel accounts on Egypt. This is all the more surprising as some authors, like Amelia Edwards who travelled in Egypt
“Never the Twain Shall Meet”
during the winter of 1873-1874, considered that continual social intercourse with the inhabitants was one of the specificities of a voyage upon the Nile: In Europe, and indeed in most parts of the East, one sees too little of the people to be able to form an opinion about them; but it is not so on the Nile. Cut off from hotels, from railways, from Europeanised cities, you are brought into continual intercourse with natives. The sick who come to you for medicine, the country gentlemen and government officials who visit you on board your boat and entertain you on shore, your guides, your donkey-boys, the very dealers who live by cheating you, furnish endless studies of character, and teach you more of Egyptian life than all the books of Nile-travel that ever were written (Edwards 1993, 166).
The purpose of this paper is to account for this difference between text and illustration. How is it that so few encounters are depicted in travel book illustrations? In order to answer this question, different types of analysis will be used. The first section of the paper will offer a general overview of the iconography of travel books on Egypt, based upon the quantitative analysis of a large corpus of 216 illustrated travel books, which was made using a database (Lehni 2007, 635-65). The second section is based on the qualitative analysis of a selection of travel book illustrations, in order to provide explanations for the near absence of encounters between Self and Other in such pictures. The final section will focus on rare cases of joint representations of travellers and Egyptians and aims to show what such images reveal of British attitudes to the figure of the Other.
“The Figure in the Landscape”: The Iconography of Travel Books to Egypt The representation of sites or places of interest is by far the most common iconographic subject in travel book illustrations (Fig. 1). Over 85% of travel books on Egypt contain at least one illustration representing a site and in most cases (nearly 80% of the books), such sites represent an important part of the iconography of the book, that is to say over one in four illustrations. In more than a quarter of travel books to Egypt, the majority of illustrations represent sites. This includes representations of architectural monuments, be they ancient, Islamic or modern, representations of natural sites, or views of cities and villages, although ancient sites prevail: 54% of illustrated travel books include representations of ancient sites against 34% including representations of sites connected to Muslim/Arab Egypt.
The predominance of sites in illustrated travel books should come as no surprise. For the vast majority of travellers and readers, Egypt was considered of interest above all because of its antiquities. In that respect, the iconography of travel accounts is merely a reflection of the reality of travel in Egypt, which usually consisted – and indeed often still does – of a succession of visits to the temples scattered along the banks of the Nile. The representation of the inhabitants and their culture is the second most important subject, and is present in 57% of travel accounts on Egypt. It would therefore be wrong to assume that representations of the Other are absent from travel books. A majority of the books which represent Arab/Islamic Egypt do so through the representation of sites, rather than through representations of the inhabitants themselves: 73 out of 122 books including illustrations showing Arab/Islamic Egypt (i.e. nearly 60%) document the latter through sites, which, in that case, are most commonly general views of cities and villages2. In addition, the Egyptian population was represented in a more direct way, through illustrations showing figures, objects and scenes3. Scenes are indeed the second most common representation of Arab/Islamic Egypt (we find such pictures in 72 travel books), with isolated figures coming next (in 67 books) and objects coming last. The prominent place given to representations of the Other is a characteristic feature of the genre: travel books on all destinations tend to include pictures showing readers what the inhabitants look like. In addition, there was a strong demand for documentation on Arab Egypt among British readers: the exoticism of Arab Egypt was clearly a source of fascination, the country being viewed at the time as the original setting for the Arabian Nights. Egyptian manners and customs were also an object of deep interest for British travellers in that they were perceived as unchanged remnants of Biblical times (Ahmed 1978, 11-18). Unlike those of the Other, representations of the Self are often absent from the iconography of travel books. 137 of the 216 illustrated travel accounts (i.e. 63%) considered in this iconographic study include no representation of the traveller whatsoever. A Thousand Miles up the Nile, for example, contains no illustration showing the traveller and her friends on board their dahabiah (the costly private yacht on which they cruised the Nile), riding camels to and from ancient sites, or having dinner in the Shepheard’s Hotel. All of these themes are however dealt with at great length in Edwards’s text (1-2, 11-13, 185-93). Moreover, in nearly 75% of the books which do include illustrations representing the traveller or documenting travelling conditions, only a very small number of pictures belong to this iconographic category. This
“Never the Twain Shall Meet”
feature contrasts with other documentary fields, such as Ancient Egypt or Arab/Islamic Egypt, which appear both in a larger number of books and in larger proportions within each book. Whereas illustrations including the traveller are generally very rare (and those including the traveller in the company of Egyptians, rarer still), representations of travel not including travellers appear a little more frequently. Several books, including A Thousand Miles up the Nile, thus show the dahabiah or the steamer which served for the cruise, but avoid representing the travellers who boarded them4. Finally, representations of travel or the traveller are very often confined to one very special illustration space: the frontispiece. Such illustrations are usually portraits of the author, either in Western or Oriental clothes5. The frontispiece then plays the role of the title page, proclaiming the identity of the author. It also confirms the status of the traveller as author (or, in portraits in Oriental dress, the status of the author as traveller). Although they do represent the traveller, such illustrations fail to represent any form of encounter between the figures of Self and Other, the Other being altogether absent from almost all such representations. Because of the special status of frontispieces in the economy of book illustrations, the traveller is kept in a different space from other subjects of illustration. Encounters between the figures of Self and Other therefore seldom appear in travel book illustrations, not so much because the Other is absent, which in general is not the case, than because the Self is rarely present. In the illustrations of travel books on Egypt, the Figure in the Landscape is the Other, the Egyptian, not the traveller. An explanation for the under-representation of the traveller and the near absence of joint representations of Self and Other can be found in Edward Said’s Orientalism. According to Said, Orientalist representations act as a theatrical stage or an exhibition, maintaining the East in a separate sphere from the West, while at the same time offering it up to contemplation, scholarly study or enjoyment by the West (1Said 1995, 58). Derek Gregory expanded upon Said’s analysis by showing that the infrastructure of Egyptian tourism enabled construction of the tourists’ experience as a sort of separate yet transparent space that was offered to the leisurely contemplation of the traveller. The creation of “viewing platforms” like the terrace of the Shepheard’s Hotel, for example, made it possible for British tourists to survey the animation of Cairo streets from afar without actually merging into it (Gregory 1999, 120, 127). In much the same way, the dahabiah and later the steamer thus helped to transform Egyptian travel into some sort of diorama, with ancient sights and modern
scenes unfolding before the travellers’ eyes as the cruise on the Nile proceeded. The traveller was therefore essentially a spectator. This is reflected in the iconography of travel books: the main body of travel illustrations reproduced what was seen by the tourist, rather than what he did. The succession of plates and woodcuts in travel books on Egypt seems to reproduce the Diorama-like experience of the cruise on the Nile. The traveller therefore vanishes from the iconography of most travel accounts (apart from the frontispiece), and usually remains present merely as a transparent, all-encompassing gaze. However, travellers were not confined to an ivory tower during the whole of their trip, at least not all travellers, and they were indeed in contact with natives in various situations. That these encounters appear in travel book texts, but not usually in their illustrations, means that we need to complement this line of explanation by focusing on a more strictly visual approach. Reference to the conventions of visual representation that prevail in the illustrations of travel books published in the nineteenth century indeed brings precious insight into that question.
Scientific and Picturesque Illustration: Avoiding the Representation of the Traveller Two modes of imaging, scientific and picturesque, dominate the iconography of travel books on Egypt. The wide impact of these two different sets of visual conventions helps us to understand why the traveller is so rarely represented in travel book illustrations.
Scientific Representation: Simplicity and Objectivity Many travel books on Egypt, especially during the first half of the nineteenth century, have recourse to the conventions of scientific illustration. Rather than complex views enlivened by the presence of small figures and a landscape, such books provide simplified representations that focus on one object (architecture, or people, or nature, etc.), the aim being to provide information about this object rather than visual enjoyment. Such representations are usually part of a global project which consists in enlightening and informing readers through both the images and the text of the travel account. Scientific illustration often documented ancient Egypt6, but this mode of representation was also used to represent contemporary Egyptian dress and cultural practices. First published in 1836, Edward William Lane’s
“Never the Twain Shall Meet”
highly popular book entitled An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians was written during two extended stays in Egypt, during which the author lived among wealthy upper-class Egyptians. It provides meticulous descriptions of the living conditions and cultural practices of the Egyptians of the time. Seen as a whole, the illustrations of Modern Egyptians strictly conform to Lane’s documentary project. Lane’s illustrations indeed exclusively deal with the representation of Arab Egypt (106 out of the total of 108 illustrations), excluding almost all other subjects. Individual illustrations are just as selective. The informational and documentary nature of these pictures largely rests upon the use of compositions that are stripped of all but the main subject of interest. Lane’s illustrations that focus upon Egyptian dress thus avoid showing the urban scenery in which the characters dressed in this fashion were observed. Similarly, the illustrations of the chapter devoted to Egyptian music comprise a series of music instruments, each of which is presented in total isolation first, then in the hands of a music player so as to make it clear to the reader how this particular instrument is used; none of the numerous illustrations of this chapter depicts a proper concert, with musicians, an audience and a setting. When illustrations thus focus solely upon the documentation of one subject to the exclusion of all others, there clearly is no room at all for the representation of the traveller. In spite of Lane’s long immersion in the Egyptian society, all encounters between Self and Other were therefore absent from the illustrations of his book. Because they aim to provide a clear, informational representation of the object deemed to be of interest, scientific illustrations fail to represent any secondary subject and therefore never involve the joint representation of Self and Other.
Picturesque Illustration: Exoticism and Illusionism Besides the scientific mode of imaging, another convention, which we shall call the picturesque, influenced the representation of Egypt in nineteenth-century illustrated travel accounts and dominated the genre from the 1830s. For very different reasons, picturesque illustrations also fail to represent encounters between travellers and natives. Picturesque illustrations may represent a wide range of subjects, including ancient sites, medieval documents, street scenes, cityscapes or landscapes, but they always have a number of points in common. Contrary to scientific illustrations, picturesque ones imply complex compositions, the main subject always being accompanied by a secondary subject: elements of the scenery, vegetation or a number of small figures often
appear in the foreground or in the background of these pictures. For example, in Bartlett’s view of the Mosque of Sultan Hassan in Cairo, a religious procession appears in the foreground. It serves as compositional staffage7, leading up the reader’s gaze to the main point of interest in the picture, the monument, which is situated in the background and towers above the group, while also introducing variety through the detailed depiction of an aspect of Egyptian life in addition to the architectural view. Although picturesque illustrations usually include secondary subjects, one seldom sees representations of the traveller in the foreground of street scenes or views of monuments. Indeed, another important characteristic of picturesque illustrations is that they depend upon local colour and a search for exoticism. The close connection between the picturesque and exoticism is made clear in the text of many travel books, which tend to establish an equation between “picturesqueness” on the one hand and “otherness”, “strangeness” or “foreignness” on the other hand. On her first evening spent on board the dahabiah, Edwards listened to her Egyptian crew singing and playing music on the deck and commented, both amused and, indeed, enchanted: “As a night-scene, nothing could be more picturesque than this group of turbaned Arabs sitting in a circle, cross-legged, with a lantern in the midst. […] We felt we were indeed strangers in a strange land” (Edwards 1887, 46). A few pages later, she describes a caravan met by her and her fellow travellers on their way to Memphis. The passage highlights the differences between the two groups in the following terms: “It is a touching and picturesque procession – much more picturesque than ours” (Edwards 1877, 49). The foreignness of foreigners, the strangeness of strange habits is what creates the picturesque. Hence, the turbaned characters, the fellahs, veiled women and Ottoman dignitaries who enliven picturesque views of Egyptian monuments. Representations of travellers instead of the Oriental staffage that is common in travel illustrations would have lacked the exotic dimension that is an essential convention of this mode of imaging. Picturesque representations also tend to avoid representing anything that is connected with modernity: just as the ruin is a traditional iconographic theme in picturesque albums, the archaic Orient of shadoofs and sakkiehs (two traditional systems of irrigation that were already referred to in the Bible and attracted considerable attention on the part of British travellers to Egypt) is much more common in picturesque travel illustrations than the modernized Egypt of cotton factories, the Suez Canal and European-style architecture in Cairo8. Representing the traveller, his modern clothes and tourist facilities would have jarred not only with the search for local colour that characterizes the picturesque mode but also
“Never the Twain Shall Meet”
with its marked preference for archaism. For both reasons, the figures enlivening views of ancient sights and monuments are usually dressed in Oriental clothes, as is the case in the view of the temple of Luxor included in A Thousand Miles Up the Nile (Fig. 4-1). As usual in picturesque views, the little characters in the foreground of this plate serve the function of compositional and exotic staffage: they create a secondary point of interest, thus breaking the solemnity of the architectural view, while at the same time providing the reader with a visual representation of the foreignness of the Egyptian. Contemplative fellahs and elaborately dressed dignitaries sitting among the ruins sometimes also act as a substitute for the traveller, whose lack of exoticism makes him unfit for representation. In Edwards’s view of the temple of Luxor (Fig. 4-1), two of the characters on the left hand side perform this function. The turbaned man gestures at the obelisk as if he were trying to decipher the hieroglyphs and discuss their signification with his wife. He may therefore be regarded as a substitute for the traveller, as his attitude can be read as an allusion to Edwards’s scholarly activity at the ancient sites she visited. There is yet another reason why the traveller usually remains off-frame in picturesque illustrations. Contrary to scientific illustrations, picturesque ones clearly have an aesthetic function: they are aimed at inducing visual satisfaction in the viewer and creating powerful visual effects. In that respect, they enable the reader to become an armchair traveller and experience the traveller’s emotions by proxy. In most of the many picturesque views of the hypostyle hall in Karnak which appear in nineteenth-century travel accounts, including Edwards’s, the strong perspective effects, as well as the marked contrasts between the height of the columns and the smallness of the staffage, echo the impression of immensity produced by the temple upon the travellers9. With very few exceptions, the British travellers are not pictured. Because the reader sees what the travellers saw, without seeing the latter, he can imagine standing on the site, contemplating the scenery depicted here. Including the traveller in the picture would have damaged not only the exoticism and timelessness of these illustrations, but also their illusionary dimension, and would therefore have considerably diminished their appeal to armchair travellers. For various reasons, both picturesque and scientific illustrations avoid showing the traveller, precluding the representation of encounters with the native population.
When the Twain Do Meet Self and Other are, however, jointly represented in a few isolated illustrations. Such pictures fall within four categories, which will be analysed successively in order to see what they reveal of the relationships between travellers and Egyptians and of British representations of the Other.
Failed picturesque compositions Travel accounts published at the turn of the century were often illustrated with amateur photographs. Such images could be very different from the near-perfect picturesque compositions captured by professional photographers. The contrast between these two groups of photographers – and the pictures they produced – was summed up (with a certain bias) by Percy Salmon in a book relating his adventures as a travel photographer: Modern tourist photographers, here to-day and gone to-morrow, are different from the photographer whose business it is to take photographs in these countries, and to produce perfect negatives. The tourist, whose outfit will fold up and go into the pocket, produces many an excellent picture, but more often than not by some lucky chance, and his percentage of failures is as a rule rather large; a great deal depends, of course, upon the care he bestows both on his exposures and subjects, and the storing of the sensitive medium. At times when I saw fair Americans whisk past me and snap at some object, while I was melting under the load of a heavy wooden camera, a large battery of lenses, a ladder tripod, and the best part of 30 dark slides, I envied them for the moment, but when I thought of their results my heart went out to them, and they had my sympathy. I often wonder if they really got ‘results’ in the photographic sense (Salmon 1903, 3).
Unlike Salmon and his kind, who travelled with all their heavy equipment and organised their trip for the express purpose of making “perfect snapshots”, amateurs commonly lacked technical training, as well as proper equipment and, indeed, time, which was necessary in abundance to gain access to the best vantage points, to obtain ideal lighting conditions, to persuade locals to pose in front of monuments, or to secure official permission to empty a street or a square. For these reasons, illustrations that reproduce snapshots taken by amateur photographers during their trip tend to depart from the picturesque model more than those taken from professional photographs. In particular, travel accounts illustrated with amateur snapshots include representations
“Never the Twain Shall Meet”
of tourists more often than professional photographs do. Sometimes, these pictures also include local people and therefore may seem to represent encounters between Self and Other. The travelogue published in 1896 by Anthony Wilkin and entitled On the Nile with a Camera is richly illustrated with 111 photographs, all of which were taken by the traveller himself. Several of these include one or two tourists, slightly off-centre, who seem to appear on the snapshot only because the photographer did not really know how to keep them out. In the view he took of the Temple of Wadi Sebua (Fig. 4-2), for example, we can see the tall figure of a European on the right hand side, standing close to a couple of turbaned Egyptians wearing gallabiyahs. Were the latter perhaps offering the traveller their services as guides for the visit to the temple? However, the fact that the characters are both off-centre and slightly blurred reveals the merely anecdotal character of their presence in the snapshot, the main subject of which is undoubtedly the temple. The narrative potential of this awkward snapshot is also very limited, not least because we do not see the faces of any of the characters involved. Finally, the accompanying text does not even mention the social encounter represented in the illustration. Although actually shown in this image, the real (although passing) encounter between traveller and Egyptians remains unimportant for the reader who is invited not to pay much attention to this aspect of the illustration both by its composition and by its inclusion in the text.
Reflecting the Hierarchy of Travel and Colonial Relationships Among the few pictures that show both British travellers and residents alongside native Egyptians, many reflect the reality of social relations between the two groups in the context of travel and informal Empire: Egyptians generally have a subaltern position in these illustrations. Three examples can be given here. Published in 1869 by William Howard Russell, A Diary in the East relates the Eastern tour of the Prince and Princess of Wales the year before. The frontispiece shows one of the main protagonists of the tour, the Princess and one of her companions, riding camels that are escorted by two Bedouins. In Lee Meriwhether’s Afloat and Ashore on the Mediterranean, published in 1892, one of the four illustrations, entitled “Abdullah and the Author Setting Out for the Pyramids”, shows the traveller riding a donkey, the bridle of which is being held by a donkey-boy, who appears off-centre (Fig. 4-3). In Short Stalks, published by Edward North Buxton in 1898, a British lady is being
carried on the shoulders of two Egyptians so that she may reach the bank without getting her shoes and dress wet. In these three illustrations, we have interaction between travellers and natives. Each time, though, the latter are in the service of the travellers, a relationship which betrays the mechanisms of the burgeoning tourist economy. In all three cases, the disparity between the figures of Self and Other is not merely functional. It is made clearly visible because it is also spatial: British characters always occupy the upper part of the pictures, Egyptians, the lower. These three examples plainly show that, in the context of British travel in Egypt, encounters between travellers and the local population rarely took place on an equal footing.
Passing judgment Some pictures go further than this and pass judgement on the Egyptians by comparing them unfavourably with Europeans. Although most of Bartlett’s Nile Boat is illustrated with seductive picturesque engravings, the author has included two lighter woodcuts, the humorous character of which counterbalances the solemn beauty of most plates. These two illustrations represent anecdotes of the traveller’s adventures which are recounted in the accompanying text. The first one is entitled “Landing in Egypt” (Bartlett 1850, 18). The composition of this wood-cut, which shows the same character several times, announces the conventions of the comic strip; it shows the misfortunes of the traveller who is assailed by a crowd of donkey-boys immediately on his arrival in Alexandria before being carried away, helpless, by a galloping donkey. The second one is more ambiguous. Entitled “Noon in a Nile Boat”, it shows a scene on the deck of the cangiah which the traveller has rented for his cruise up the Nile (Fig. 4-4). The midday heat seems overwhelming; the crew is having a nap, while the traveller is frantically trying to get rid of flies. Just as with the previous illustration, this wood-cut is an ironic anecdote on the discomforts of travel, the aim of which is to disclose the reality behind romantic myths. And yet one cannot but be struck by the opposition between the limp torpor of the Egyptians and the traveller’s irrepressible activity. Moreover, the traveller on the right is rather handsome, whereas the Egyptian character on the left is grotesquely ugly. What we have here is therefore the visual expression of a colonial discourse based upon the assumed existence of essential differences between Europeans and Orientals and upon an established stereotype, that of Eastern indolence and laziness (Bhabha 1994, 94-5). However striking, illustrations expressing a racist discourse such as
“Never the Twain Shall Meet”
this one are extremely rare in this corpus. Although the texts of travel accounts often take up racist clichés, these clichés are usually absent from travel book illustrations, which typically provide objective, scientific representations of monuments or idealised views of the country in keeping with picturesque conventions.
Real Encounters? Besides pseudo-encounters based on clichés or colonial hierarchy, we can find a few very rare examples of pictures representing travellers and native Egyptians as being on a relatively equal footing. Accounts of geological or archaeological expeditions, which were highly specialised publications on Egypt aimed at a much smaller audience than ordinary travelogues, sometimes include illustrations showing both British and Egyptian members of the expedition team, working side by side or posing all together for a group photograph. This is the case in one of the plates illustrating John Garrow Duncan’s account, entitled The Exploration of Egypt and the Old Testament and published in 1909 (“A Group of Our Men” facing 14). The book published by Haji A. Browne in 1907, Bonaparte in Egypt and the Egyptians of To-Day, also needs to be mentioned here. The only illustration in the book is the frontispiece (Fig. 4-5), which, not unconventionally, is a portrait of the author. What is much more unusual is the fact that it is a double portrait showing both the author and his young servant. Moreover, in spite of the subaltern function of the latter, the figures are given similar treatment in the image: both face the camera and both wear a tarbouche. This exception might be explained by the author’s personal history: as his name indicates, this long-time resident in Cairo converted to Islam. One may suppose that his relationships with Egyptians were not as superficial as those of passing travellers. Yet, this illustration, just as the photograph reproduced in Duncan’s book, still to some extent reflects colonial hierarchy. In both cases, the Egyptians shown alongside British travellers or residents are presented as subalterns, not equals. This, however, is not so much apparent in the pictures themselves as in their captions: the possessive “our men” as well as the identification of the Egyptian character as Browne’s “servant” both clearly refer to these unequal relationships. In purely visual terms, these two pictures are clearly the two that come closest to the representation of real encounters between Self and Other in the whole corpus. In order to find a trace of true interpersonal connections between Britons and Egyptians, we may paradoxically need to move beyond the
analysis of pictures which actually show travellers and local people together and concentrate instead on portraits of Egyptians.
Portraits of Egyptians Apart from joint representations, other pictures may reflect an encounter without featuring the traveller and Egyptians together within the frame of a single illustration. In a few travel accounts published at the turn of the century and illustrated with photographs, we can find actual portraits of identifiable Egyptians, the captions of which include their names. This is worthy of notice because, although the representation of native Egyptians makes up a large part of the iconography of travel books on Egypt, actual portraits are very rare in the corpus. Moreover, the great majority of such portraits represent leading political figures, Muhammad ‘Alî in particular (Madox frontispiece). In travel books, most visual representations of Egyptians are “types” rather than portraits: we thus come across such typical Eastern figures as the turbaned Oriental, complete with pipe and caftan, the fellah wearing either a gallabiyah or a mere loincloth, the mother carrying her child astride her shoulders, all of them being identified through their costume rather than their traits. Among the few books that include real portraits of ordinary Egyptians as opposed to the common types just mentioned, we can quote the 1902 edition of Lady Lucy Duff Gordon’s Letters from Egypt. Among other portraits, most of which show the author herself and her husband, this book includes a photograph of “Omar” (Fig. 4-6). Omar acted as Duff Gordon’s cook and dragoman for more than five years. Interestingly, the caption gives his name and the table of illustrations even specifies the moment when the photograph was taken, just as is done for the other portraits. His status as a servant is neither mentioned in the caption nor in the table of illustrations. This reflects the very close relationship that developed between the author and Omar, who is mentioned in almost every letter in the book. Although the figures of Self and Other are confined to separate illustrations, the author and an Egyptian are represented in a similar way. This is an almost unique instance in the whole corpus.
Conclusion With very few exceptions, travel book illustrations fail to show encounters between Self and Other. As we have seen, this cannot be ascribed to a quantitative under-representation of the Egyptian population.
“Never the Twain Shall Meet”
Egypt’s inhabitants are indeed very much present in travel book illustrations. In purely quantitative terms, travellers are far less commonly represented; when they are, they often appear in the frontispiece, an illustration space that is clearly separated from the other illustrations in the book. That the figures of Self and Other should thus be confined to visually separate spheres partly reflects the reality of travel: tourism structures separated travellers and Egyptians much more than they brought them together. The iconography of travel books on Egypt also reflects British attitudes to Egyptians, who were collectively regarded as objects of scholarly interest or leisurely contemplation, but seldom considered as individuals, still less as equals with whom one might have more than superficial relationships. Because encounters between Self and Others are much less rare in illustrations than in the texts of travel accounts on Egypt, one also needs to focus on properly pictorial conventions. The two main modes of imaging which dominate the iconography of travel illustration, scientific and picturesque representation, have the same impact, although for different reasons. In both types of illustrations, the traveller tends to be left offframe, thus precluding the joint representation of traveller and local people. Although these two modes of imaging still largely influence travel illustration in the early twentieth century, photographic illustrations tend to escape this influence more often than engravings do, especially in the case of amateur photography. Thus, many of the illustrations which show travellers and Egyptians together are photographs, a fact which confirms a contrario the influence of pictorial conventions upon the iconography of travel illustration. However, even in rather unconventional photographic illustrations, the encounters between Self and Other very seldom go beyond the inequalities of travel with its social hierarchies and colonial relationships. In nineteenth-century travel book illustrations, East is East and West is West indeed.
Bibliography Primary Sources Attfield, Harvey D. A Private Journal in Egypt, from May 1894 to May 1895. London: Printed by Spottiswoode & Co., 1895. Bartlett, William Henry. The Nile Boat; or, Glimpses of the Land of Egypt (1849). 2nd ed. London: A. Hall and Virtue, 1850.
Browne, Haji A. Bonaparte in Egypt and the Egyptians of To-Day. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1907. Burckhardt, John Lewis. Travels in Syria and the Holy Land. London: John Murray, 1822. Duff Gordon, Lucy. Lady Duff Gordon’s letters from Egypt, London: R. Brimley Johnson, 1902. Duncan, John Garrow. The Exploration of Egypt and the Old Testament. Edinburgh, London: Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1908. Edwards, Amelia. A Thousand Miles up the Nile. London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1877. 2nd rev. ed. London: George Routledge and Sons, 1888. London: Darf, 1993. Haggard, Andrew. Under Crescent and Star. Edinburgh, London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1896. Irby, Charles Leonard, and Mangles, James. Travels in Egypt and Nubia, Syria, and Asia Minor; during the years 1817 and 1818. London: T. White and Co. Printers, 1823. Lane, Edward William. An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, Written in Egypt during the Years 1833, -34, and 35, Partly from Notes Made during a Former Visit to that Country in the Years 1825, -26, -27, and -28 (1836). 5th ed. 2 vols. London: John Murray, 1871. Meriwhether, Lee. Afloat and Ashore on the Mediterranean. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, 1892. Romer, Isabella. A Pilgrimage to the Temples and Tombs of Egypt, Nubia, and Palestine, in 1845-6. 2 vols. London: R. Bentley, 1846. Russell, William Howard. A Diary in the East, during the Tour of the Prince and Princess of Wales. London: George Routledge and Sons, 1869. Salmon, Percy R. A Photographic Expedition in Egypt, Palestine, Turkey and Greece. London: Strangeways & Sons, 1903. Walsh, Thomas. Journal of the Late Campaign in Egypt: Including Descriptions of That Country, and of Gibraltar, Minorca, Malta, Marmorice, and Macri. London: T. Cadell, Jun. and W. Davies, 1803. Warburton, Eliot. The Crescent and the Cross; or Romance and Realities of Eastern Travel. 2 vols. London: Henry Colburn, 1845. Weston, George Frederick. Journal of a Tour in Europe and the East, 1844-1846. London: Seeley and Co. Limited, 1894. Wilkin, Anthony. On the Nile with a Camera. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1896.
“Never the Twain Shall Meet”
Secondary Sources Ahmed, Leila. Edward William Lane, A Study of his Life and Works and of British Ideas of the Middle East in the Nineteenth Century. London, New York: Longman, Librairie du Liban, 1978. Bhabha, Homi K. “The Other Question.” In The Location of Culture (1994). London: Routledge Classics, 1994. 94-120. Rpt of “The Other Question: Stereotype, discrimination and the discourse of colonialism.” Screen 24.6 (1983): 18-36. Duncan, James. “Sites of Representation. Place, Time and the Discourse of the Other.” In Duncan, James, and David Ley, eds. Place/Culture/ Representation. London: Routledge, 1993. 39-53. Gregory, Derek. “Scripting Egypt: Orientalism and the Cultures of Travel.” In Duncan, James, and Derek Gregory, eds. Writes of Passage: Reading Travel Writing. London: Routledge, 1999. 114150. Lehni, Caroline. “Lire l’Egypte en images: la représentation de l’Egypte au Royaume-Uni à travers l’illustration des récits de voyage (17981914).” Diss. Université Paris Diderot, 2007. Melman, Billie. Women’s Orients: English Women and the Middle East, 1718-1918. London: Macmillan, 1992. Pemble, John. The Mediterranean Passion. Victorians and Edwardians in the South. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987. Said, Edward. Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient (1978). London: Penguin Books, 1995. “Staffage.” Dictionary of Art. London: Macmillan, New York: Grove, 1996.
Fig. 4-1: “Temple of Luxor”. In Edwards, A Thousand Miles up the Nile (1877). London, 1993, 138. Personal collection.
“Never the Twain Shall Meet”
Fig. 4-2: “Temple of Wâdi Sebû’a”. In Wilkin, On the Nile with a Camera. London, 1896, 174. “The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford” (20740 e.28).
Fig. 4-3: “Abdullah and the Author Setting out for the Pyramids”. In Meriwhether, Afloat and Ashore on the Mediterranean. London, 1892, facing 308. “The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford” (2034 e.54).
“Never the Twain Shall Meet”
Fig. 4-4: “Noon in a Nile Boat”. In Bartlett, The Nile Boat. London, 1850, facing 34. “The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford” ((OC) 203 h.314).
Fig. 4-5: “Haji A. Browne (seated) and His Servant”. In Browne, Bonaparte in Egypt and the Egyptians of To-Day. London, 1907, frontispiece. Personal collection.
“Never the Twain Shall Meet”
Fig. 4-6: “Omar, 1864 (from a photograph)”. In Gordon, Lady Duff Gordon’s Letters from Egypt. London, 1902, facing 174. “The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford” (247213 e.7).
CHAPTER FIVE BEYOND THE SCREEN: ENCOUNTERING OTHERNESS IN W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM’S ON A CHINESE SCREEN (1922) XAVIER LACHAZETTE UNIVERSITE DU MAINE, LE MANS
In Jeffrey Meyers’s biography of W. Somerset Maugham, the list of countries in which the writer sojourned fills two pages, and includes numerous destinations, both in Europe and in far-flung countries on the other four continents1. It is in September 1919 that this avid globetrotter set out for China, returning to Europe in March of 1920, after a lifeenhancing experience which provided him with material and ideas for no less than three literary productions. Published in 1922 were a collection of travel sketches and a play, respectively entitled On a Chinese Screen and East of Suez, while the novel called The Painted Veil came out in 1925. In The Summing Up, his autobiography, Maugham explains the effect that this discovery of China had on him: In contact with all these strange people I lost the smoothness that I had acquired when, leading the humdrum life of a man of letters, I was one of the stones in a bag. I got back my jagged edges. I was at last myself. […] I had sloughed the arrogance of culture. My mood was complete acceptance. I asked from nobody more than he could give me. I had learnt toleration. I was pleased with the goodness of my fellows; I was not distressed by their badness. (Maugham 1938, 202-203)
Maugham was familiar with one of William Hazlitt’s essays, called “On Going a Journey” (1821), which he read on the ship taking him in 19222 to another Asian destination, and he concurred so well with the views of the 19th-century essayist that he made Hazlitt’s travelling
Beyond the Screen: Encountering Otherness
philosophy the title of a later travel book, The Gentleman in the Parlour3. As Hazlitt explains in his essay, travelling primarily entails changing one’s personality, either through a loss of self – insofar as, in any innkeeper’s eyes, for instance, the traveller becomes no more than a nameless “gentleman in the parlour” – or, conversely, through the juxtaposition of the new selves that are born of conversing with complete strangers and of behaving differently in their presence. Far from being passive, the traveller therefore interacts with the mores, beliefs, and cultures of his travelling companions and the local populations while redefining his own self, becoming Other in the process. As Hazlitt writes, we “lose our importunate, tormenting, everlasting personal identity in the elements of nature, and become the creature of the moment, clear of all ties”4. Maugham’s belief in the fluidity and protean nature of any personality underpins the lines he wrote in triumphant praise of difference and of the intrinsic value of human life. Speaking of the inhabitants of South Sea Islands, whom he had met on yet another trip, Maugham enthusiastically claimed: They led it [life] on a different plane; I could not, with my sense of humour, go on thinking mine a higher one. It was different. Their lives too formed themselves to the discerning eye into a pattern that had order and finally coherence. […] They had their own narrownesses. They had their prejudices. They were often dull and stupid. I did not care. They were different. (Maugham 1938, 194)
Putting it all together, it therefore appears that finding oneself confronted by foreign cultures when travelling to distant countries constitutes a capital experience for Maugham. The reasons are as follows: travelling reveals how thin the veneer of Western civilization is, with cracks appearing in it as soon as a Westerner leaves his “humdrum life” behind; secondly, it allows for a newer, rawer, more natural self to emerge, as if contact with the locals mechanically entailed a shift in one’s psychological makeup; thirdly, it fosters a more tolerant view of mankind by destroying the assumption that Western culture is the highest form of civilization on the face of the earth; and finally, it validates all kinds of cultural phenomena by insisting on the fact that hierarchies are but social constructs which unduly sort individuals in some kind of vertical order, when they could all simply be categorized as uniformly “different”. It is precisely this curious blend of pie-in-the-sky idealism and hardheaded matter-of-factness that lies at the heart of On a Chinese Screen, in which the fifty-eight numbered sketches of Western expatriates or native characters, ranging in length from a mere paragraph to a few pages, give
the reader a captivating insight into one writer’s take on how West met East, and vice versa, in the first quarter of the 20th century. Merely two Chinese screens actually appear in the book, furtively too. In the second sketch of the series, an English lady who takes up residence in a former Buddhist temple allows one such screen to adorn her parlour – but only after erasing all other signs of undesirable Chineseness from the walls, columns and floor of the room. For though she lives in China, the prevalent colonial attitude is that an English lady’s private space should ignore rules or typical items of Chinese interior design, and should seek instead to imitate the type of dwelling she has left behind. Naturally, English items or artefacts are difficult to come by so far away from home, and the lady feels somewhat downgraded for having to do with second bests, but at least she manages to give a semblance of Englishness to that room: She needed a screen, and here and there was no help for it, she had to buy a Chinese one, but, as she very cleverly said, you might perfectly well have a Chinese screen in England. […] ெOf course it doesn’t look like a room in London, she said, ெbut it might quite well be a room in some nice place in England, Cheltenham, say, or Tunbridge Wells. (Maugham 1922, 3-4)
And it is in the ninth sketch that a second screen is mentioned – in passing only – as the fixture of an inn, protecting the main room “from the vulgar gaze” of the travellers in the courtyard (Maugham 1922, 20). In other words, the principal and somewhat contradictory functions of screens, namely aestheticism and practicality, are fulfilled by the only two items mentioned in those sketches. Indeed, as Bruno Gaudichon remarks in Une histoire de paravent, the catalogue which came out in the wake of the 2005 exhibition held at Roubaix’s “La Piscine” museum, a screen is by nature an ambiguous artefact which can both organize public space and preserve privacy. Moreover, it is neither a prosaic piece of furniture nor totally a painting; so much so that it stands on the fantastical border between what is fully revealed and what remains concealed5. Seeing that Maugham always chose his titles with great care and talent, one may feel entitled to suggest that he thus encourages us to interpret the characters in his gallery of portraits as screens which simultaneously reveal and conceal parts of their personality and nature. One is therefore led not only to look on the screens at the scenes presented to our gaze, but also behind them at the spaces that they hide from view. Moreover, I will argue that Maugham gives strong metaphorical power to iconographic mediums of all sorts (like wooden frames, canvasses, fabrics, veils,
Beyond the Screen: Encountering Otherness
paintings, tapestries and calligraphies), thereby highlighting his personal need to look beyond the screen in order to recreate the world through both fiction and art.
What the figures on the screen reveal Equating every sketch in this collection with an image on a screen emphasizes its fantastically visual quality. After all, the primary object of this book is to describe some of the innumerable types one encounters in China, together with “the varied scene” (Maugham 1922, 4) with which any foreigner is met on walking into a city or when seeing in the shops all the “strange wares of the fabulous East” (Maugham 1922, 1). In Painted Veil, Maugham’s Chinese novel, this variety takes Kitty Fane by surprise, so much so that the foreign scene before her eyes is given an unreal quality, as if she were watching a play or a strange phantasmagoria, whose meaning escapes her: The vivid scenes with their elegant colour, their unexpected distinction, and their strangeness, were like an arras before which, like mysterious, shadowy shapes, played the phantoms of Kitty’s fancy. They seemed wholly unreal. Mei-tan-fu with its crenellated walls was like the painted canvas placed on the stage in an old play to represent a city. (Maugham 1925, 179)
Though she feels that many Chinese sights are actually signs behind which some truth awaits discovery, she is unable to grasp their meaning or to go beyond a mere appreciation of their visual impact. Both Painted Veil and Chinese Screen therefore avoid what, in hindsight, Maugham must have considered to be the mistake of a previous book of sketches that he wrote, called The Land of the Blessed Virgin (1920), whose avowed aim had been not only to encapsulate “the spirit of Andalusia” but also to set down the national character or characteristics of the Spanish, in the light of the sixteen months that Maugham had spent in Spain as a younger man. To be fair, Maugham was aware that such an endeavour was at best “hazardous”6 since one can only vouch for what one manages to observe and since one is necessarily at the mercy of both personal and third-party errors of judgment. But still, the habit of 19th-century travellers had then prevailed over Maugham who, in that earlier book, penned an unimpressive list of prosaic characteristics. Nothing of the kind is to be found in Chinese Screen, where the opening lines of sketch No. 19 bravely assert that the “fantastic notions” (Maugham 1922, 41) which we hold about other countries durably thwart
interpersonal and international relations. On the contrary, one of Maugham’s conscious efforts in this sketch book is to bash stereotypes. For instance, the narrator rues the fact that the so-called inscrutability of the Oriental is “drilled into” all Westerners (Maugham 1922, 44), while elsewhere he asserts that the allegedly slanting eyes of the Chinese are far from widespread (Maugham 1922, 145). Or he describes the squalid and pathetic atmosphere which he expected to sense in a Chinese opium den, on account of the dramatic effect which English novels or plays love to cultivate when staging such lurid “exotic” places – a far cry from the feelings which are actually aroused in him when he visits one for the first time. Indeed, with its peacefully smiling customers and its “neat enough room, brightly lit, divided into cubicles the raised floor of which, covered with clean matting, formed a convenient couch” (Maugham 1922, 33), that opium den rather reminds him “of the little intimate beer-houses of Berlin where the tired working man could go in the evening and spend a peaceful hour” (Maugham 1922, 34). Or also, in spite of the authoritarian regime that firmly controls the population after the 1911 Revolution, Maugham sings the praises of the kind of “democracy” which he sees at work one night at an inn, in the sense that, to him, class-consciousness is unknown in the East, even though class distinctions are made, just as in England. “True democracy” exists in China, he argues, because in that country “[p]osition and wealth put a man in a relation of superiority to another that is purely adventitious, and they are no bar to sociability” (Maugham 1922, 88), while back at home it would be unimaginable for an official to engage in a conversation with a common working man without a trace of contempt or condescension. The narrator also stresses the inconsistencies of Westerners, like the woman who despises the unromantic Chinese practice of arranged marriages but pathetically tries to lure any eligible man into taking an interest in her, or the Socialist who beats his rickshaw boy because it is the privilege of the “ruling race” (Maugham 1922, 38) and the locals are always the better for it. More interestingly, in the 11th sketch, he pokes (gentle) fun at missionaries like Mrs Wingrove whose opinion of the Chinese is compounded of all the negative traits which British-born residents perceive in the local population: At last, as was inevitable, I suppose, we began to talk of the Chinese. Mrs Wingrove said the same things about them that I had already heard so many missionaries say. The[y] were a lying people, untrustworthy, cruel, and dirty, but a faint light was visible in the East; though the results of missionary endeavour were not very noteworthy as yet, the future was promising. They no longer believed in their old gods and the power of the
Beyond the Screen: Encountering Otherness
literati was broken. It is an attitude of mistrust and dislike tempered by optimism. (Maugham 1922, 27)
At first sight, Mr Wingrove is set in direct opposition with his wife (and with the lady with a Chinese screen in her parlour) in the sense that he has chosen to surround himself with locally made artefacts and furniture, among which the sketch mentions “a Chinese carpet”, “[t]wo or three Ming tiles”, and “a blackwood table, elaborately carved” on which there stands “a figure in white porcelain” (Maugham 1922, 25). Yet, though he is unable to explain how, the narrator glimpses in a flash what he takes to be the truth about this missionary: far from being an indication that Mr Wingrove takes a sincere interest in the arts and crafts of his country of adoption, those furnishings are emblematic of the inner struggle that pits his “will” against his “soul” (Maugham 1922, 28). Indeed, in the belief that his god frowns on happy, self-contented lives and prefers His servants to prove their faith in the face of adversity, Mr Wingrove has imposed the worst kind of punishment on himself, namely the loss of everything he held dear in his former life, like the books he read while living at Oxford or the trips he took to other European countries. As the narrator concludes, Mrs Wingrove’s “distaste” of the locals therefore pales beside her husband’s “hatred” of them (Maugham 1922, 28) – an unsettling remark which underlines how impossible it is for all those residents to ever relate to local customs and to bridge the gap with the Chinese, of whom they actually stand in utter fear7. Indeed, fear is by far the strongest emotion which the narrator underlines in the expatriates that he meets, most notably in the character called the “Taipan”, or foreign-born chief executive officer of a large firm operating in China. Though he has lived over thirty years in the country, panic suddenly seizes that man one night and a deep-felt disgust for all that surrounds him surges over him: He felt a horror of the winding multitudinous streets of the Chinese city, and there was something ghastly and terrible in the convoluted roofs of the temples with their devils grimacing and tortured. He loathed the smells that assaulted his nostrils. And the people. Those myriads of blue-clad coolies, and the beggars in their filthy rags, and the merchants and the magistrates, sleek, smiling, and inscrutable, in their long black gowns. They seemed to press upon him with menace. He hated the country. China. Why had he ever come? He was panic-stricken now. He must get out. He would not stay another year, another month. What did he care about Shanghai? (Maugham 1922, 130)
With only a few exceptions, then, British expatriates live in a selfcreated world of bored illusion and tenacious fear of the Other, rejecting as they do any form of integration into local culture, a process that would threaten the fossilized colonial identity into which they have developed, away from their country of origin. Refusing to learn Chinese, “the damned language” (Maugham 1922, 126), they mostly stick to Worcester sauce and knitted jumpers because, in their view, their lives and the fate of the British Empire could hang in the balance. This explains why the English lady’s Chinese screen in the second sketch poses her a problem. Allowing a foreign artefact into one’s home would be like taking one’s finger out of the colonial dike. Fortunately for her, since she needs one, it so happens that the fad for chinoiserie has episodically hit Europe since the 18th century, so that a Chinese screen is acceptable in the high circles in which she moves, the presence of such an item in her house being neither an aesthetic statement nor a sign of attachment to local culture.
What the screen serves to conceal But the metaphorical screens onto which Maugham projects his characters also serve to conceal the psychological process that he himself undergoes when confronted with so many human types or with the stories of how they managed to deal with their own transplantation into a completely foreign – and supposedly hostile – environment. First, Chinese Screen and travel books in general allow him an uncharacteristic variety of styles, moods and narrative strategies. For instance, Maugham uses the changing scene of one vignette to recount in the first person events to which he has been an eye witness while, in the third person, his next “thumbnail sketch”8 fictionalizes events which he either makes up entirely or fleshes out from personal impressions and the loose threads of a conversation. He thus resorts to both his usual persona of unemotional, prosaic writer and a rather new, sensitive persona, namely that of an isolated writer who grows homesick in a land whose foreign feel increases with time. In this latter capacity, he draws into the narrative his own daughter Elizabeth9 and, more surprisingly, “my Uncle Henry, for twenty-seven years Vicar of Whitstable” (Maugham 1922, 100), though he actually detested the man. Secondly, two of the characters whom he introduces, the “Rolling Stone” in the first pages of the collection and the “Sinologue” in the last few, show that behind a mere accumulation of portraits there lurks in Maugham’s mind a deep-seated wish to define his own power of observation, to assess the value of his personal interaction with foreigners,
Beyond the Screen: Encountering Otherness
and to justify the kind of literature that he writes. Indeed, those two types stand like pillars, or rather scarecrows, at either end of the book: the Rolling Stone is so curious about all things Chinese that he collects no end of data and anecdotes (Maugham 1922, 7) but, like Kitty Fane in Painted Veil, is intellectually unable to combine his sundry findings into one coherent whole – thus proverbially gathering no moss. On the other hand, the Sinologue leads the opposite kind of life, “a life wholly of the spirit” (Maugham 1922, 143), which the I-narrator feels is ill-adapted to the accumulation of knowledge which he pursues. As often, Maugham weaves into the narrative the awareness of defects and limitations, which are either his only, or which he is ready to ascribe to the majority of human beings. A case in point is his own recurrent inability to perceive the romance of situations which, had he read about them, would have appeared to him to be just so. In this, Maugham concurs with Hazlitt in believing that travelling unavoidably stirs up the traveller’s fancy but that such stimuli are neither intelligible nor communicable on the spot. “I must have time to collect myself”, Hazlitt asserts (Hazlitt 1982, 140). Consequently, Maugham himself runs the risk of turning into the American B.A.T. (British American Tobacco) executive in “Mirage”, who dreams of adventure and eagerly reads about it in American magazines, but is unable to see it around him, though he lives in the vicinity of the wild and rugged landscapes of Mongolia. Thirdly, typically unable to relate to the foreign populations and sceneries around them, the characters in Maugham’s sketches are often prone to deep bouts of nostalgia for an idealized metropolis. Too isolated to share any of their experiences, they bear out Hazlitt’s conviction that a travelling companion is a necessity in foreign parts (Hazlitt mentions Italy, Greece, Egypt, Arabia) because hearing and speaking one’s mother tongue is vital when one is “too remote from [one’s] habitual associations” (Hazlitt 1982, 147). Interestingly, these same depressive bouts gradually strike the I-narrator. Indeed, in the midst of the description of Chinese locales, the sketches become replete with allusions to English landscapes or English cultural references. For instance, whitewashed walls with exposed beams suddenly bring to mind a farmhouse in Sussex (Maugham 1922, 20). Bamboos in the magic mist of the morning become reminiscent of hop fields in Kent (Maugham 1922, 41). Or reading about country houses in the Chiltern Hills brings solace to the traveller who is stranded at an uncomfortable Chinese inn, in “Rain”10. In the 46th sketch, Maugham even confesses that nostalgia leaves him “at the mercy of the laws of association” (116), so that the beauty of the plain before him is replaced – one could even say erased – by the memory
of German settings. This not only underlines Maugham’s preferences for Romantic landscapes but also signals the literary, musical and philosophical models or references of which he is unable to divest himself: Goethe, Beethoven, Heine, Wagner, and Strauss. The emotions imprinted on his mind in his youth (Maugham spent one year at Heidelberg University) are thus indelible: […] to me not only does the word plain mean everywhere and exclusively the valley of the Rhine, but the only symbol for happiness I know is a wide prospect all golden in the setting sun, with a shining stream of silver running through it, like the path of life or like the ideal that guides you through it, and far away the grey towers of an ancient town11. (Maugham 1922, 117)
The mood which concludes the book is a surfeit of China. True, the Chinese seem to have a passion for decoration and embellishments, but their fantastic ornamentations of lions and dragons are but infinite variations on a limited number of ideas (Maugham 1922, 132). So much so that the I-narrator becomes strangely affected by the sight of a marble fragment of a Greek breastplate on which Perseus was carved in the act of killing the sea monster – which Maugham actually terms “the dragon”, as if he were deliberately opposing Greek and Chinese representations of that animal (Maugham 1922, 133). The storied mystery of the East then becomes nothing more than an unpleasant accumulation of acute sensorial perceptions: the revolting spectacle of Chinese people having the inside of their eyelids scraped, the sound of “a barbaric melody”, and the presence of “foul odours” (Maugham 1922, 149). The encounter between East and West thus ends in a stalemate, in direct opposition to the praise of difference quoted previously. Indeed, as the narrator asserts, there comes a time when your imagination grows unable to compensate for so many incomprehensible sights and behaviours, or to picture to itself the psychological motivations of foreigners. What was strange, in the sense of “intriguingly original,” thus becomes flawed and indefensibly divergent. As the last sketch but one puts it: You cannot tell what are the lives of these thousands who surge about you. Upon your own people sympathy and knowledge give you a hold; you can enter into their lives, at least imaginatively, and in a way really possess them. By the effort of your fancy you can make them after a fashion part of yourself. But these are as strange to you as you are strange to them. You have no clue to their mystery. For their likeness to yourself in so much does not help you; it serves only to emphasize their difference. (Maugham 1922, 150)
Beyond the Screen: Encountering Otherness
Beyond the screen: the pattern of one’s life Maugham’s quandary stems in part from a self-imposed concept around which, early on, he decided to organize his life, and which, taking the term from the visual arts, he called pattern. The idea behind such a pattern was that, faced with the sheer amount of possibilities and the “senselessness of life” (Maugham 1938, 289) as he saw it, he should from then on endeavour to instil in his life the beauty, sense, and logic that were lacking there. Writing and the life of the intellect would feature prominently in this existential and artistic quest, but no human activity should be considered beyond the pale12, as already indicated by the narrator’s rejection of the spiritual excesses of the Sinologue in Chinese Screen. Nor would Maugham ever consider that he only could organize his life into such a pattern: all human beings, he thought, had it in them to follow a pattern of their own, as shown by the second quotation in this discussion, from Summing Up, where Maugham straightforwardly asserts that the lives of South Sea islanders also “formed themselves to the discerning eye into a pattern that had order and finally coherence”. In other words, though Maugham’s was basically an aesthetic and conceptual quest, this was by no means an elitist approach or a disguised way to raise himself above the common run of men. Though Maugham often claimed he had outgrown the youthful enthusiasm which the writings of Pater, Wilde, and Ruskin had aroused in him, that former endeavour of his reveals his urge to aestheticize the world around him and to transform his own life into a work of art. Never one to indulge in wishful thinking or put on intellectual airs, Maugham made it clear that this attempt at finding for oneself a life-defining design was within anyone’s reach. “[T]he best pattern of all”, he writes in Summing Up, “is the husbandman’s, who ploughs his land and reaps his crop, who enjoys his toil and enjoys his leisure, loves, marries, begets children and dies.” In his view, many of the strangers in whom he takes an interest follow a pattern of some sort, so that much of his literary production, and indeed most of Chinese Screen, can be construed as a backtracking of that linear pattern to its point of origin, through observation, conversation, and a shot of imagination – a case in point being the fascination which the narrator feels for an American character by the name of Macalister, who started out in China as a medical missionary but ended up pursuing commercial interests13. Maugham’s obsession with pattern crops up throughout Chinese Screen, in the silhouette of a lone tree standing out against a dark backdrop, in the play of light on a floor, in a succession of wooded hills, or
the decorative frieze on a bridge, etc. As a passage from The Gentleman in the Parlour clearly shows, he even saw himself as part of a work of art. Discussing the impressions made on him by his wanderings through Burmese landscapes, the narrator in that other travel book claims: I seemed to myself like a figure in a tapestry that lined the halls of some old, infinitely deserted palace, an interminable tapestry of a sombre green in which you see dimly dark stiff trees and faded streams, hamlets of strange houses and shadowy people occupied without pause with actions that have a mystical, hieratic and obscure significance. (Maugham 1930, 71)
Now, such an aestheticizing of foreign people and places has its advantages. In the sketch titled “The Picture”, for instance, Maugham rapidly evokes the sordid lack of comfort of yet another Chinese inn and the mysterious personality of a Chinese traveller whose social status and geographical itinerary he is totally at a loss to imagine. Not content with such evidence of his limited capacity to understand China and Orientals in general, Maugham immediately unleashes his artistic powers of redefinition. He starts with the effect of a golden ray of light shining through the lattice window, describing how the “melancholy squalor” (Maugham 1922, 30) of the room in which they both find themselves is relieved by the “intricate and splendid richness” of the pattern thus projected onto the earth floor. Then the Chinese traveller produces water, ink, and a fine brush. On a wall he sketches a natural scene with the lightest of touches, and the beauty of this bird and those plum-blossoms send a quiver of eternal life through the morbid room. But the problem with an aesthetic approach is that it often dooms the artist to a bird’s-eye view of reality, and confines him to general impressions. For example, Maugham could not decipher the meaning of the numerous scrolls of calligraphy that he enjoyed seeing in China, and he naturally required the services of a learned friend to go beyond the “agreeable pattern” (Maugham 1922, 98) of the sample of calligraphy presented to him by a Chinese scholar, as recorded in the sketch entitled “The Philosopher”. Some of the sights he saw in China, however, overpowered him and challenged this aesthetics. The sketch about the “baby tower” comes to mind, this tower being a local monument, so to speak, at the base of which there opened a sort of putrefying well into which the locals could throw their unwanted new-born babies14. More telling still is one of Maugham’s descriptions of the myriad of coolies, or bearers, with whom China abounds. Indeed, Maugham’s knowledge of the hard working conditions
Beyond the Screen: Encountering Otherness
and physical suffering of these labourers finally erases the pleasant visual impression he first had. How could he go on enjoying the pattern of these men’s rags, which dot the landscape with various blues “from indigo to turquoise” (Maugham 1922, 44), when he is perfectly aware of the sores, scars and malformations induced by the friction of the pole on their shoulders? How could one persist in finding it amusing to watch “their hurrying reflections in the padi water” knowing that these “beasts” will bear their burdens till the day they die? As Maugham pessimistically confesses, “You can make no longer a pattern of them as they wend their way. Their effort oppresses you. You are filled with a useless compassion.” (Maugham 1922, 46) It is all very well, then, to superimpose patterns on the fabric of life, but by choosing to focus on colour, form, contrast or balance, one paradoxically misses the big picture because seeing from a distance only serves to gloss over the unpleasant truths which, either for selfish or ideological motives, one would rather forget. Moreover, if creating one’s own pattern is the privilege of the artist, as Maugham claims,15 one must not underestimate the energy and effort needed to constantly attempt to make one out in the foreign cities and places that one visits, where unknown codes reign supreme, or in the strangers and foreigners one meets along the way. Indeed, as Maugham strikingly points out in his autobiography, there were always physical limits to his powers of perception and receptivity to foreign stimuli. The passage in question goes as follows: I seemed to myself to develop the sensitiveness of a photographic plate. It did not matter to me if the picture I formed was true; what mattered was that with the help of my imagination I could make of each person I met a plausible harmony. It was the most entrancing game in which I had ever engaged. […] I used to stay away till my receptivity was exhausted and I found that when I met people I had no longer the power to make the imaginative effort to give them shape and coherence; then I returned to England to sort out my impressions and rest till I felt my powers of assimilation restored. (Maugham 1938, 200-202)
To conclude, there is much to commend and admire in Maugham’s Chinese Screen, in particular the variety of scenes, tones, and narrative strategies he uses; the keen interest which the author takes in Orientals and displaced Westerners alike; the lucid, heartfelt humanism with which those fifty-eight fragments abound; and the poetry of some of his “wordpictures” 16. But its main interest may lie in the fact that the writer does not believe
anymore in the feasibility of pinning down a nation’s spirit or characteristics, the way an entomologist dissects his study objects. Maugham’s originality here stems from the vicarious kind of portraiture he adopts, for as Gerald Gould argues: Instead of going straight to the Chinese mind, which has such different preconceptions from ours that we cannot arrive at it however straight we try to go, he shows the actual effect of China on minds with preconceptions similar to ours. […] So we […] recognize that we cannot interpret anything at all except in the light of what we know already. (Curtis 1987, 158-159)
As we have seen, the limitations of our cognitive processes are accentuated by Maugham’s conscious need to instil order, beauty, and completeness in life and literature, an aesthetic gesture quite at odds with the realism with which he is generally associated. Stereotypes and the rejection of Otherness were rife in the communities of expatriates which Maugham visited during the several months which he spent crisscrossing China, unwilling as they were to fold back the protective screens which, they believed, colonialism required. But it is only fair to point out that the few sketches in which Chinese natives take centre stage – like the xenophobic Cabinet minister who associates Europe with individualism and perversion, or the naïve student of the Western drama who believes that British plays could rejuvenate a Chinese stage that is exceedingly marked by symbolism and dull ideas – highlight the same kind of love/hate relationship in their own representation of Western society, giving ample proof of the fact that “apprehending the Other” is both a matter of wanting to grasp him mentally and of fearing his potential differences. That a majority of those characters, of whatever nationality, should not believe in the porosity of boundaries or in the beneficial cross-fertilization of cultures and ideas is not a tragedy, though, Maugham would seem to argue; only a sad pity, and a perfectly ridiculous waste of precious time.
Bibliography Primary sources Hazlitt, William. Selected Writings. Edited by Ronald Blythe. London: Penguin, 1982. Maugham, W. Somerset. Andalusia: The Land of the Blessed Virgin . New York: Knopf, 1930. —. On a Chinese Screen . London: Vintage, 2000.
Beyond the Screen: Encountering Otherness
—. The Gentleman in the Parlour . London: Vintage, 2001. —. The Painted Veil . London: Vintage, 2007. —. The Summing Up . London: Vintage, 2001.
Secondary sources Calder, Robert. Willie: The Life of W. Somerset Maugham. London: Heinemann, 1989. Curtis, Anthony and John Whitehead. W. Somerset Maugham: The Critical Heritage. London: Routledge, 1987. Meyers, Jeffrey. Somerset Maugham, A Life. New York: A. Knopf, 2004. Verseau, Geneviève. Une histoire de paravent. Paris: Somogy, 2005.
PART III: ENCOUNTERS WITH THE OTHER, EXOTICISM AND IDENTITY
CHAPTER SIX (PER)FORMING THE SELF THROUGH THE OTHER: GENDER, TRANSGRESSION, WRITING IN ANNA JAMESON’S WINTER STUDIES AND SUMMER RAMBLES IN CANADA (1838) ANNE-FLORENCE QUAIREAU UNIVERSITE PARIS-SORBONNE
ெThey told me I was the first European female who had ever performed it, and assuredly I shall not be the last (Jameson, 499). Anna Jameson’s comments on her descent of Upper Canadian rapids in a canoe, an initiatory rite which earned her an Indian name, suggest that gender and also its contestation may both emerge through the utterance of an Other (ெthey told me…). This chapter addresses the relation between travel writing, feminism and rhetoric, as exemplified in Jameson’s account of her travels through Indian territory. Born in Ireland in 1794, Anna Murphy, the daughter of a painter, had grown up in England where her work as a governess enabled her to travel and to forge bonds with major literary figures. In 1825 she married Robert Jameson, a lawyer whose political ambition led him to settle in the British colonies, while she remained in Europe where her literary career was thriving. In December 1836, Anna Jameson grudgingly joined her husband Robert, then Chief Justice of Upper Canada, in Toronto, at the latter’s request. With no one waiting for her when she landed in New York, she had to make her way to Toronto by herself where, despite the seemingly favourable situation her husband’s position granted her, she made very few acquaintances and spent most of the wintertime on her own, mostly studying German literature (the account of which led to the first part of Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada entitled “Winter Studies”). The Chief Justice’s wife’s “summer rambles” in Upper Canada
(Per)forming the Self through the Other
were certainly facilitated, if not made possible, by the identity of her husband: at the time indeed it was not considered proper for a woman to travel on her own. But in June 1837, Jameson left alone on a journey to “regions” that were, according to her, “hitherto undescribed by any traveller” (Jameson, 1). There, she met Canadian Natives, Anishinaabe people, whom she wrote about and drew portraits of. She took a keen interest in Anishinaabe women and their role in Anishinaabe society. On her return, she obtained a separation agreement from her husband and went back to Europe, never to come back to Canada. This experience was crucial to Jameson, who then started a double career, literary and political. Eventually, in 1838, an account of her time in Canada entitled Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada was published in London. I wish to argue that this work illustrates what I think is the paradox inherent in any travel narrative: the unknown is “formed” through the lens of what is known, until the force of the unknown informs the place of origin. Here, the dialogue between the self and the Other, embodied by Jameson’s encounter of Anishinaabe people, is reflected in the dialogue between the known and the unknown, between old and new world and so many other categories. Bakthinian theory will enable me to investigate the effects of dialogue between the self and the Other on the self — these categories being understood as unstable and likely to identify the same person in one or the other position, depending on the context. What characterizes Jameson’s text even more acutely, indeed, seems to be a divergent squint — the narrator keeps an eye on England and its traditional values, while at the same time discovering with her other eye an otherness embodied by the Canadian Natives, in whom she also sees alter egos, or rather epitomes of her own situation as a woman. It is indeed meeting Indian women which left an imperishable mark on she who became one of the references of British feminism. My argument will be supported by an analysis of Jameson’s rhetorical performance of herself. The narrator of the text subjects herself to the foreignness of the foreigner so that the author may lose her initial identity before finding herself again, now similar to the other — the self and the other having become two interchangeable figures in the textual operation. Before examining the role that gender plays in Jameson’s meeting of the Other, I will analyse her ambiguous position in the “contact zone” between prejudice and experience; the “contact zone” being defined by Mary Louise Pratt as “the spatial and temporal copresence of subjects previously separated by geographic and historical disjunctures and whose trajectories now intersect” (Pratt, 7). Finally, I will address Jameson’s rhetorical performance of herself.
Although an Irish woman stuck in an unhappy marriage, which made her a marginal person in several respects, Jameson did not sympathize from the start with the “Indians”, as she calls them. From Europe, she brought cultural preconceptions that informed her first encounters with Natives. Her first meeting of Indians in Toronto betrays these European prejudices. This was in no case extraordinary at the time and Jameson was no exception to the rule: she partook in the dominant discourse. These are the first specimens I have seen of that fated race, with which I hope to become better acquainted before I leave the country. Notwithstanding all I have heard and read, I have yet but a vague idea of the Indian character; and the very different aspect under which it has been represented by various travellers, as well as writers of fiction, adds to the difficulty of forming a correct estimate of the people, and more particularly of the true position of their women. (Jameson, 21)
As her narration of this first meeting of Indians shows, she regarded somewhat scornfully “the independent children of the forest” (Jameson, 21). The vocabulary used (“specimens”, “fated race”, “the Indian character”) is typical of the pseudo-scientific stance adopted by nineteenth-century European travellers and revealing of the pervasiveness of colonial discourse in their approach. Jameson acknowledges that she indeed had “previous impressions of the independent children of the forest” and she adds that she has “heard and read” about them. However, her originality might be said to lie in her relentless desire to meet the people she writes about and, as she tells her father in a letter dated June 21, 1837, to “see [them] with [her] own eyes” (Erskine, 154), especially “the true position of their women”. This curiosity is also a trait of the traveller-writer who wants to experience things first-hand – if possible, before anyone else has – and distinguish herself from others, predecessors and hypothetical successors alike. Still, Jameson’s emphasis on a need for increased knowledge of Anishinaabe women through contact sounds novel in the way that it also subtly discards previous narratives and the impression she formed from them – whereas intertextuality is featured prominently in travel writing, as Said demonstrated, with the constant referring to previous literature on the subject, if only to correct a particular predecessor’s information (Said, 94). She defines them as giving rise to “vague idea[s]” and she stresses the plurality of narratives about a same element (“very different aspect under which it has been represented by various travellers”, “the difficulty of forming a correct estimate of the people”). Jameson appears bolder if you read this in terms of sex, that is to say distinguishing between male and female authors: men had written
(Per)forming the Self through the Other
most of these previous narratives and in her assessment she addresses them all as a group. A similar and more explicit case in point is when she writes that “[u]nder one aspect of the question, all these gentlemen travellers are right in their estimate of the condition of the Indian squaws” (Jameson, 556), only to undermine this statement with a series of clauses starting with “but”. She escapes her gender, being understood as a role, in these cases by commenting on male narratives and deeming them insufficient. Those she called “specimens” gained faces and names in the “contact zone”, outside of Toronto, in the wild. During her journey through Lake Huron, she bonded with them, striking up some lasting friendships and even finding for herself an Indian surrogate mother, a Mrs Johnston, “[a] woman of pure Indian blood, of a race celebrated in these regions as warriors and chiefs from generation to generation, who had never resided within the pale of what we call civilised life, whose habits and manners were those of a genuine Indian squaw” (Jameson, 490)1. Jameson writes about their meeting: “she called me Nindannis, daughter, and I called her Neengai, mother, (though how different from my own fair mother, I thought, as I looked up gratefully in her dark Indian face!)” (Jameson, 491). However sincere, her fondness for her Indian mother is still imbued with racial prejudice, as the emphasis laid on skin colour shows, as well as the description she gives of Mrs Johnston: “she laughed softly like a child” (Jameson, 491) and Jameson had already introduced her as “an object of the deepest interest to [her]” (Jameson, 490). Mrs Johnston therefore undergoes a process of infantilisation and objectification under Jameson’s scrutiny. Despite entering the “contact zone” and meeting the Other, Anna Jameson’s perception remains in-“formed” by the preconceived notions she held about Anishinaabe people. Notwithstanding her friendship with Mrs Johnston, she uses her surrogate mother’s trustful sharing of her personal experience to produce a demonstration of her people’s animality: Mrs Johnston told me that when her children are absent from her, and she looks for their return, she has a sensation, a merely physical sensation, like that she experienced when she first laid them to her bosom: this yearning amounts at times to absolute pain, almost as intolerable as the pang of childbirth, and is so common that the Indians have a word to express it. The maternal instinct, like all the other natural instincts, is strong in these people to a degree we can no more conceive than we can their quick senses. As a cat deprived of its kittens will suckle an animal of a different species, so an Indian woman who has lost her child must have another. “Bring me my son, or see me die!” exclaimed a bereaved mother to her husband, and she lay down on her mat, covered her head with her blanket,
Chapter Six and refused to eat. The man went and kidnapped one of the enemy’s children, and brought it to her. She laid it in her bosom, and was consoled. Here is the animal woman. (Jameson, 523)
Mrs Johnston, previously presented as Jameson’s surrogate mother, is now stereotyped and promoted to the rank of a representative of her people. Jameson’s carefully constructed narrative exemplifies a strategy of colonial discourse. She introduces her comments with a personal anecdote told to her by a friend—hence, dealing with first-hand information from a friend whose name sounds English (thus increasing the reliability of the information given). Very soon, however, a process of depersonalization is initiated through generalization (“the maternal instinct”, “these people”) and the ever implicitly present divide between “them” and “us” (“these people” / “we”) resurfaces. A comparison follows with a harmless enough animal, a cat, and the turning of a particular case into a generic situation (see the use of an indefinite article with the singular: “an Indian woman”). The scene, rendered more vivid through the insertion of direct speech— these words were not however uttered by the only real person introduced so far—becomes strikingly visual as the dialogue is staged. Finally, the tale becomes reality, history, as the past tense shows (“went”, “kidnapped”, “laid”)—although nothing indicates it ever happened, or that Jameson witnessed such a scene, or even heard about it. The only tangible piece of information is that Mrs Johnston misses her children when they are away. So, Jameson gives here a perfect example of the construction of the Other. Closing the animalising process initiated with the comparison to a cat, the passage ends with an unequivocal conclusion: “Here is the animal woman” (Jameson, 523). While the present tense encloses the other, forbidding any possibility of evolution, the deictic strengthens the setting of the scene and of the Other on a stage. What is more, the Other is thus subjected to the gaze of the Occidental, reminding us of Foucault’s theory on “panopticism”, a situation in which the return of the gaze is prevented, based on Bentham’s Panopticon. The Other, just like the inmate Foucault writes about, is seen but cannot see and is thus always the object, and never the subject, of a communication: “Il est vu, mais il ne voit pas ; objet d’une information, jamais sujet dans une communication” (Foucault, 234). Jameson’s demonstration also illustrates Tobin’s analysis of 18th-century ethnographic art in Picturing Imperial Power: Colonial Subjects in Eighteenth-Century British Painting (1999): “Ethnographic art, despite its focus on the human figure, does not share portraiture’s goals of reproducing an individual’s countenance and conveying a sense of the subject’s character. Instead, ethnographic art seeks to represent the typical and to suppress the individual.” (Tobin, 147). At first, this instance seems
(Per)forming the Self through the Other
to contradict Mills’ contention that “women writers tended to concentrate on descriptions of people as individuals, rather than on statements about the race as a whole.” (Mills, 3). Yet, Mills emphasizes that women’s writing “exposes the unsteady foundations on which it is based”, that is to say their “struggle with the discourses of imperialism and femininity, neither of which they could wholeheartedly adopt, and which pulled them in different textual directions” (Mills, 3). This might account for Jameson’s paradoxical stance towards Anishinaabe women, between friendship and domination. Another instance of this ambivalence is to be found in the description Jameson draws of two Anishinaabe girls: These two girls were, for Indians, singularly beautiful; they would have been beautiful anywhere. Angelique, though of unmixed Indian blood, has a face of the most perfect oval, a clear brown complexion, the long, halfshaded eye, which the French call coupé en amande; the nose slightly aquiline, with the proud nostril open and well defined; dazzling teeth; — in short, her features had been faultless, but that her mouth is a little too large — but then, to amend that, her lips are like coral: and a more perfect figure I never beheld. Zah,gàh,see,ga,quà is on a less scale, and her features more decidedly Indian. (Jameson, 526)
A first contradiction is manifested in the assessment of their beauty in two different spheres simultaneously: “for Indian girls” / “anywhere”, and a second one resides in the tension between individuality and stereotype: “singularly beautiful” / “for Indians”. The several concessive structures used demonstrate the influence of racist prejudice on her portrayal. Indeed, her depiction comes under the heading of ethnographic portrayal and of artistic painting (“her lips are like coral”) at the same time, both subjected to European canons of beauty. Moreover, the concluding sentence, through the use of the conjunction of coordination “and” sets up a link of causality between Zah,gàh,see,ga,quà being less pretty and her features being “more decidedly Indian”, which is made palpable to the reader: the foreignness of the foreigner’s looks is also rendered textually through the insertion of her foreign name. It is no accident that the previous examples that I have chosen deal with women. Most, if not all, accounts of Jameson’s encounters with Natives are about women. She came into the “contact zone”, where there is “copresence, interaction, interlocking understandings and practices, often within radically asymmetrical relations of power.” (Pratt, 7), and something occurred, changed, but not so much in her consideration of the Other as native but of her Self, as a woman.
Signs of Jameson’s preoccupation with “the woman question”, as it was then called, are displayed as early as the “Winter Studies” section. Not only is she especially curious about the “true position of [Anishinaabe] women” (Jameson, 21) but she also considers the “position” of European women through a vindication of actresses and authoresses, under the pretext of a discussion of German literature. For instance, such a passage provides her with the opportunity to assert that “there is no salvation for women but in ourselves: in self-knowledge, self-reliance, self-respect, and in mutual help and pity…” (Jameson, 73). It seems only logical then that she asked Colonel Delatre, a man coming back from the Orient, about European women and Oriental women. She writes that his answer was: “You are all in a false position: in England, in Ceylon, in America — everywhere I have found women alike in essentials, and alike ill treated, in one way or in another!” (Jameson, 224). This is a very balanced sentence, the binary rhythm of which (repetitions of “alike”, “in one way or in another”) is strengthened by the vehemence embodied by the exclamation mark. Did the real person, Colonel Delatre, say that? That is a question that will never find an answer and one an historian should ask. My interest lies in the fact that Jameson wrote this sentence in direct speech, thus putting such an assertion in the hands (or rather the mouth) of someone else, furthermore a figure of authority, rather than a woman. Indeed, this statement is preceded by a detailed presentation of the Colonel and of his military feats: “Colonel Delatre is a veteran officer, who has purchased a fine lot of land in the neighbourhood, has settled on it with a very interesting family, and is cultivating it with great enthusiasm and success. He served for twenty years in India, chiefly in the island of Ceylon, and was present at the capture of that amiable despot, the king of Candy – he who had such a penchant for pounding his subjects in a mortar.” (223-24). Writing Delatre’s advocacy of women, she includes herself (“you all”) in the group of wronged women. The episode occurs during Jameson’s second visit to Niagara Falls. It is striking that the paragraph preceding this meaningful — although seemingly casual — anecdote ends with her reluctance to describe the American Falls: “But not to tire you with descriptions of precipices, caves, rocks, woods, and rushing waters, which I can buy here ready for sixpence, I will only tell you that our party was very pleasant.” (Jameson, 223). How odd then that the polemical vindication of women by Colonel Delatre should nevertheless be followed by a description of the American Falls! Indeed, “[t]he people who have spoken or written of these Falls, have surely never done justice to their loveliness, their inexpressible, inconceivable beauty” (Jameson, 224), Jameson eventually adds. And she
(Per)forming the Self through the Other
does describe them, very poetically to boot. If need be, this confirms that the heart of the matter lay in the discussion with Colonel Delatre and not in the scenery. Jameson has turned into a director and an editor, embedding her subversive remarks in her descriptive passages. Her “characters”, Europeans as well as Natives, are metamorphosed into mouthpieces for her concerns. Although, in the preface to her work, in a disclaimer typical of women’s travel writing (Mills, 83), the author denies having any authority whatsoever2, Jameson edits her text, her memories and even her perceptions. An instance of this editing process is to be found towards the end of her journey when she travelled by “boat” on Lake Huron, from Mackinaw to Sault Ste. Marie, along with her new friend, Mrs. Schoolcraft (an Indian woman married to Henry Schoolcraft, explorer and ethnologist), the children of the latter, and five voyageurs3. In the narration of their journey is inserted a paragraph differing from the others in so far as it is not concerned with the enumeration of facts, such as “We landed to boil our kettle” (Jameson, 479), but with the emergence of a bond with the Other, beyond race, through gender: I cannot, I dare not, attempt to describe to you the strange sensation one has, thus thrown for a time beyond the bounds of civilised humanity; nor the wild yet solemn reveries which come over one in the midst of this wilderness of woods and waters. All was so solitary, so grand in its solitude, as if nature unviolated sufficed to herself. Two days and nights the solitude was unbroken; not a trace of social life, not a human being, not a canoe, not even a deserted wigwam, met our view. Our little boat held on its way over the placid lake and among green tufted islands; and we its inmates, two women, differing in clime, nation, complexion, strangers to each other but a few days ago, might have fancied ourselves alone in a new-born world. (Jameson, 478-9)
The edited scene writes off the presence of other people in the boat. It is gender that matters, more than race, as Jameson and this Other come to form a “we”. Their isolation, repeatedly stressed (“beyond the bounds of civilised humanity”, “solitary”, “solitude” repeated twice, repetition of “not”), seems to be the condition allowing Jameson’s perception. Indeed, Jameson is well aware that they are not in fact alone: she is careful to specify that it is a “fancy” and to use the modal “might” in the statement in which she introduces her friend’s identification with herself: “we its inmates, two women”. Her being somewhere else allows her to see things, not only “with her own eyes”, but from a different perspective than Europeans do at home4. Jameson’s increased perception derives from being in a particular place at a particular time and is determined by what
Bakhtin calls the “law of placement […] which says everything is perceived from a unique position in existence; its corollary is that the meaning of whatever is observed is shaped by the place from which it is perceived.” (Holquist, 21). Being now in the “new world”, Canada, Jameson has gained a “surplus of seeing” (Holquist, 36-37) — she sees things she did not see when she was in Europe. She puts heavy emphasis indeed on their spatial situation in this excerpt (“in the midst of this wilderness of woods and waters”, “over the placid lake and among green tufted islands”). However, this assertion is undermined by the latent eurocentrism present in the phrase “new-born world”. While Jameson claims that they have overcome their differences in “clime, nation, complexion, etc.”, she also re-asserts these differences, in the same way as a dash somewhat cancels the link it creates. In the denial of their differences lies Jameson’s constant awareness of them. Accordingly, if the other is redeemed through gender, her race remains problematic. Jameson walks a dangerous line – her work includes transgressive remarks, especially about gender roles and the position of women in Canada and in Europe. Yet, she treads carefully, directing other characters, editing her text – in short: being an author. Her journey (“transgressive” etymologically means “to take a step across”), her physical journey as well as her more figurative journey, as well as meeting the other, enabled her to see more than she did before, but above all it made it possible for her to write and be an author. Location is decisive. It grants one a fresh vantage point. Jameson’s journey to Canada led her “to see with [her] own eyes” not only Native people, as was her original intention, but also Europe and herself. What is more, Canada authorized her: journeying in ill-known lands, she came to hold a privileged knowledge that legitimised her writing. But authorship is not authority. It is her meeting of Indians, and above all her narrating of it, which granted her authority. Canada had become a stage on which Jameson authored herself. She did so through performing otherness and through the rhetorical performance of herself. The crowning moment of Jameson’s journey took place when she canoed down rapids, towards the end of her trip. All the elements of this passage (in both senses: literary as well as watery!) concur to enhance its strong symbolism as a baptism and a rebirth: water as the scenery, the allusion to danger and death, and finally the renaming of the performer. The concluding sentence of the paragraph in which she tells her feat and gives her newly acquired Indian name takes on a performative quality: “I was declared duly initiated, and adopted into the family by the name of
(Per)forming the Self through the Other
Wah, sàh, ge, wah, nó, quà […]. It signifies the bright foam, or more properly, with the feminine adjunct qua, the woman of the bright foam; and by this name I am henceforth to be known among the Chippewas” (Jameson, 499). Austin explains his concept of “performative utterance” as follows: “The name is derived, of course, from ‘perform’, the usual verb with the noun ‘action’: it indicates that the issuing of the utterance is the performing of an action — it is not normally thought of as just saying something.” (Austin, 6-7). This can be illustrated by the way the statement “I now pronounce you husband and wife” uttered by a priest “performs”. Henry R. Schoolcraft’s Personal Memoirs of a residence of thirty years with the Indian tribes on the American frontiers: with brief notices of passing events … A.D. 1812 to A.D. 1842 (1851) enables us to gain insight in the episode through the perspective of another actor, Schoolcraft’s wife, whose letter he quotes from: “While here, George came down the rapids with her in fine style and spirits. She insisted on being baptized and named in Indian, after her sail down the falls. We named her Was-sa-je-wun-equa (Woman of the Bright Stream), with which she was mightily pleased” (Schoolcraft 563). Mrs. Schoolcraft’s “surplus of seeing” reveals that Jameson might have somewhat exaggerated or dramatized the events she tells: the canoe had a sail (not as dangerous as she claims) and she asked for an Indian name. Jameson thus authored herself: she names and baptizes herself. Traditional authorities, such as her husband’s, are no longer needed to acknowledge her existence or define her. She authorizes herself through a scene she wrote and directed. In fact, Jameson still needs somebody to name her – but it is no longer the white male who gives her her name, but the Other, being here the Indian as well as the woman. The other becomes the agency of contesting gender roles as the woman usually takes her husband’s name. Bakthinian theory stresses that “[i]n dialogism, the very capacity to have consciousness is otherness” (Holquist, 18) and that “in order to see ourselves, we must appropriate the vision of others. Restate in its crudest version, the Bakhtinian just-so story of subjectivity is the tale of how I get my self from the other: it is only the other’s categories that will let me be an object for my own perception. I see my self as I conceive others might see it. In order to forge a self, I must do so from outside. In other words, I author myself.” (Holquist, 28). Now, Jameson sees herself through the eyes of Others rather than through European (male) eyes and it feels good! Her pride blooms as she writes: “They told me I was the first European female who had ever performed it, and assuredly I shall not be the last”. Yet, however freeing the experience, the divide between “them” and “us” comes back into sight through the stress laid on “European” — no doubt lots of Anishinaabe
women have done it before. This sentence, while at the same time referring to her (gender) emancipation, through the initiatory rite as well as its narration, and to her opening the way to other women (“not the last”), reinstates her within a European frame and reminds us that she is addressing European readers. The Other makes an author of her, i.e. someone endowed with authority, as Austin, commenting on an example he has given, explains that “for naming the ship, it is essential that I should be the person appointed to name her…” (Austin, 8). By christening herself, Jameson proves that she possesses the authority required to do so. Again, there is a need to specify that however sympathetic Jameson was to Anishinaabe people, she was aware that the Other was not the same and she did not entirely relinquish her British identity, as exemplified by the insertion of a Shakespearean quote in a footnote. In fact, the very sentence that announces her rebirth as a Chippewa establishes her within the bounds of an English culture. “Now that I have been a Chippewa born, any time these four hours, I must introduce you to some of my new relations ‘of the totem of the rein-deer’” (Jameson, 499-500) is a rewriting of an excerpt from Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale5. It clearly works as a reminder that she writes for British readers and the footnote, a device typical of travel writing, also precludes the risk of going native. Jameson’s use of the word “performance” brings to attention the role Canada played in her narrative. As Jennifer Henderson has shown in Settler Feminism and Race Making in Canada, Canada has become a stage and Jameson an actress evolving on this stage (Henderson, 53) — the actress figure “carrying Jameson’s sense of the theatre as a special space of freedom from social conventions from the discussion of German drama into the description of the settler colony” (Henderson, 47). In fact, what the reader is given to witness is Jameson’s rhetorical performance of herself, expressing her opinions while keeping safe and not jeopardizing the publication of the book; emancipating herself from Europe while planning on going back. Henderson’s analysis is founded on Foucault’s concept of heterotopia: “The sense of nineteenth-century Canada as an experimental countersite through which the gaze of the British reformer was temporarily deflected is usefully illuminated by Michel Foucault’s discussion of heterotopic spaces. Foucault defines the heterotopia as an ‘effectively enacted utopia’ (‘Of Other’, 24)” (Henderson, 7). Another significant concept in the analysis of Jameson’s work is one developed by Dominique Maingueneau, that of “paratopia” which he thus defines: “[l]ocalité paradoxale, paratopie, qui n’est pas l’absence de tout lieu, mais une difficile négociation entre le lieu et le non-lieu, une localisation parasitaire, qui vit de l’impossibilité même de se stabiliser”6
(Per)forming the Self through the Other
(Maingueneau, 52-53). This “paratopia” is what knots together the “person”, the “writer” and “the inscriptor”, the three parts constituting what is traditionally thought of as the “author” (Maingueneau, 107-8). Jameson, as “inscriptor”, has in her narrative undergone many changes and crossed many lines but, thanks to rhetorical strategies, Jameson, the “person”, is sheltered from personal attacks, and the “writer” has entered the literary world and produced a work now figuring as a milestone in Jameson’s literary and political career. As Maingueneau explains, all these entities are tied together through “paratopia”, the most striking expression of which is travel. In the same way as “paratopia” is at the same time the condition and the result of enunciation (Maingueneau, 94), writing is precisely what Jameson needs to do in order to gain authority, and conversely, to write, she needs authority. So authority is at the same time what enables you to write and what you acquire through writing. All this was made possible for Jameson, a woman writing at the beginning of the nineteenth century, through the Other. This last excerpt illustrates the coexistence of Jameson’s several personae at the text level. As she leaves Sault Ste. Marie, she sees Mrs. Johnston, her surrogate mother, for the last time: I thought I had said all my adieus the night before, but at early dawn my good Neengai came paddling across the river with various kind offerings for her daughter Wa,sàh,ge,wo,nò,quá, which she thought might be pleasant or useful, and more last affectionate words from Mrs. Schoolcraft. We then exchanged a long farewell embrace, and she turned away with tears, got into her little canoe, which could scarcely contain two persons, and handling her paddle with singular grace and dexterity, shot over the blue water, without venturing once to look back! I leaned over the side of our boat, and strained my eyes to catch a last glimpse of the white spray of the rapids, and her little canoe skimming over the expanse between, like a black dot: and this was the last I saw of my dear good Chippewa mamma! (Jameson, 525-26)
This goodbye scene marks the end of her Indian impersonation. Her Indian persona appears here for the last time, coinciding for a time with her English persona. What is striking is Jameson’s use of pronouns and her switch from the first-person possessive pronoun “my good Neengai”, incidentally conjuring up the figure of the noble savage, to the third-person pronoun “for her daughter Wa,sàh,ge,wo,nò,quá”, that is to say Jameson’s Indian persona. Moreover, Jameson first uses the Anishinaabe word for “mother”, “neengai”, before going back to the English “mamma” and the word “Chippewa”, not used by Anishinaabe themselves. This schizophrenic switch might be a device used in order to distance herself
from the part of her which had possibly gone native and to enhance the artificial and rhetoric quality of the whole performance. The clichéd image of the canoe becoming smaller and smaller as it fades into the distance brings some sense of closure, as her Indian mother becomes a “black dot”, a full stop to her Indian adventure as indicates the stress on “last”. Literary and geographical spaces merge. Now it is time to go back to Europe and she has to “[strain her] eyes to catch a last glimpse of the white spray of the rapids” which were the setting of her rebirth. Her summer rambles thus led the woman writer into a “contact zone” where the self got lost, no longer defined according to inherited identity coordinates (gender, nationality, social status), but according to a complex play of identification/differentiation. Jameson’s performance establishes her as an author, through rhetorical strategies implying the agency of the Other. She achieves authority, forming the Other and being transformed in return, by being careful not to be “too bold”, as recommended in her epigraph taken from The Faerie Queen: And over that same door was likewise writ, Be bold, Be bold, and everywhere Be bold; That much she mus’d, yet could not construe it By any riddling skill or common wit: At last she spied at that room’s upper end Another iron door, on which was writ, Be not too bold.
Authority is also defined as “the power to influence others” and some years later, in a letter to Bessie Rayner Parkes, she advises the editor of the English Woman’s Journal, the first feminist British periodical: “get the help and the sympathy of good and intelligent men and do not feminise your journal too much – if you do – it will break down.” (Letter to Parkes, 14 July 1857). Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada stages Jameson’s awareness of the necessity to negotiate one’s literary way and it became one of the stepping-stones of her coming to be the mentor of the Langham Place group. Indeed, “[t]he leader of the Langham Place feminists, Barbara Bodichon (née Leigh Smith), was directly influenced by Anna Jameson when the latter came into the orbit of William Smith’s family in 1845” (Hilton and Hirsch, 8). Norma Clarke, in her chapter “Anna Jameson: ‘The Idol of Thousands of Young Ladies’”, brings to the fore the ambivalent position of Jameson in our literary pantheon: “In paying due attention to her inspirational role, feminist history is kinder to Anna Jameson than literary history which
(Per)forming the Self through the Other
affords her the barest of walk-on parts. Neither a dramatist, nor a novelist, nor a poet, how is she to be given an appropriate place within our categories of the literary?” (Clarke, 77). However, as Clarke judiciously points out, Jameson’s writing was intrinsically part of her proto-feminist purport: The rhetorical space Anna Jameson created for herself was one in which she could speak about Woman from the point of view and experience of a woman, in a female voice which somehow belonged to a being unfettered by gendered prescription. Her lived existence embodied a practical vision of a freely enacted life quite at odds with the dependency and subordination increasingly being insisted upon. (Clarke, 75)
Bibliography Austin, John Langshow. How to Do Things with Words. London: Oxford University Press, 1962. Clarke, Norma. “Anna Jameson: ‘The Idol of Thousands of Young Ladies’. In Practical Visionaries: Women, Education and Social Progress 1790-1930, edited by Hilton, Mary and Pam Hirsch, 69-83. Harlow: Pearson Education, 2000. Erskine, Beatrice Caroline, ed. Anna Jameson: Letters and Friendships (1812-1860). London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1915. Foucault, Michel. Surveiller et punir. Paris: Gallimard, 1975. Henderson, Jennifer. Settler Feminism and Race Making in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003. Hilton, Mary and Pam Hirsch. Introduction. Practical Visionaries: Women, Education and Social Progress 1790-1930. Harlow: Pearson Education, 2000. 1-18. Holquist, Michael. Dialogism: Bakthin and his world. London: Routledge, 1990. Jameson, Anna. Letter to Bessie Parkes. 14 July 1857. Bessie Parkes Papers. Girton College, Cambridge. —. Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada. 1838. Ed. Clara Thomas. Toronto: McClelland, 2008. Maingueneau, Dominique. Le discours littéraire: paratopie et scène d’énonciation. Paris: Armand Colin, 2004. Mills, Sarah. Discourses of Difference: An Analysis of Women’s Travel Writing and Colonialism. New York: Routledge, 1991. Pratt, Mary-Louise. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. London: Routledge, 1992. Said, Edward. Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books, 1979.
Schoolcraft, Henry. Personal Memoirs of a Residence of Thirty Years with the Indian Tribes on the American Frontiers: with brief Notices of Passing Events, Facts, and Opinions, A.D. 1812 to A.D. 1842. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co., 1851. Shakespeare, William. The Winter’s Tale. 1610. Ed. John Pitcher. London: Arden Shakespeare, 2010. Tobin, Beth Fowkes. Picturing Imperial Power: Colonial Subjects in Eighteenth-Century British Painting. Durham: Duke University Press, 1999.
CHAPTER SEVEN THE ROLE OF MISSIONARIES IN FORGING BRITISH IDENTITY: THE CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY AND THE LONDON CITY MISSION, 1870-1900 MAUD MICHAUD UNIVERSITÉ LYON 2
The missionary movement appeared onto Britain’s cultural stage in the first two decades of the nineteenth century. Seeking national and global reformation, the movement combined an impressive range of concerns, which were defined in relation with a historical context marked by two main phenomena: rapid industrialization in Britain, and the building of the British Empire overseas. Henceforth, making loyal, moral and industrious subjects out of the working classes at home and promoting “civilisation” in Africa and other “savage” regions were part of the same global project. Home and foreign missions, the two branches of this voluntary religious reaction to the changes that shaped 19th-century Britain, “[participated] in a progressive project which was both national and global in its reach.” (Twells 2009, 5) Although historians usually study home and foreign missions as separate ventures, the benefits of collapsing boundaries between the metropole and overseas are starting to be acknowledged: for instance, in a 2009 case study on Sheffield, Alison Twells examined the links between domestic reform movements and those aimed overseas in the first half of the 19th century. In the wake of such studies, it will be argued that bringing together the discursive strategies and practices of home and foreign missions in the same analytic frame can shed light on the role of missionaries in forging a certain idea of British identity. Through the written assessments of their encounters with various kinds of foreigners, British missionaries helped spreading a certain idea of Britishness, based
on Protestantism as a factor of national unity, both at home and abroad. Industrialization in the metropole – and more specifically in London – resulted in the mass immigration of cheap workforce to new industrial centres; those British and foreign workers soon became the favourite targets of missionary societies such as the London City Mission (LCM), which worked for their salvation and “civilization” in the capital. On the other hand, the ever-growing British Empire also offered great opportunities for Evangelical Christians: the whole world was to be converted, but a special emphasis was to be put on Africa, the “dark continent”. Here again, missionaries were to toil for the salvation of dark heathens; their mission was not a religious one only, it was also a civilizing mission. The Church Missionary Society (CMS) gladly accepted the challenge of spreading the Word of God throughout the world, with the idea of putting in extra effort for the salvation and civilisation of Africa. Its emblematic mission to the region of the Great Lakes will give us insight into the ways in which those Anglican missionaries envisaged their civilizing and evangelizing mission. This mission field lay on the northern shore of Lake Victoria, in the kingdom of Buganda, in present-day Uganda. In 1876, after the explorer Henry Morton Stanley made it clear that the king of Buganda was keen to receive missionaries to be taught about the Bible, the CMS sent a party of eight men to Central Africa. Only two reached their final destination in 1877, the capital of the kingdom, Rubaga. Fellow missionaries joined them in 1879, and although the mission always remained quite small, with a number of missionaries never exceeding ten men, it came to symbolize the success of the CMS on the so-called Dark Continent. This article roughly spans the last quarter of the 19th century: the London City Mission and the Church Missionary Society had by then honed their skills in London and in various corners of the world; both London-based, the two Societies had many publications coming out of their presses, mainly periodicals that were destined to a wide, varied and ever-increasing audience. The journals, letters, sketches – and then photographs – of their missionaries in the field, fuelled those missionary publications. In this age marked by the culture of exploration both at home and abroad, on the eve of New Imperialism, one can argue that home and overseas horizons overlapped. The parallel study of home and foreign missions and their publications for Victorian readers reveals how the encounters with foreigners on British soil and abroad might have promoted a certain idea of what – and who – should or shouldn’t be called British. If some categories of foreigners that missionaries met with were obviously not British – the black Central Africans at the court of king Mutesa, or the
The Role of Missionaries in Forging British Identity
Indian Lascars of Whitechapel – it was clear, however, that the notion of “foreignness” came in many shades, and could not be circumscribed in a straightforward manner: what was to be made, for instance, of the many Irish men and women that peopled entire streets of the East End? Increasingly, missionary narratives at home borrowed the discursive strategies of foreign missionaries’ publications in order to make their work sound at least as thrilling and exotic. The trope of exploration became a key component of the missionaries’ discursive productions, in which they (almost) invariably presented themselves as pioneers, and potential David Livingstones: this helped to stress the difference that existed between the missionaries and their targets, even though London missionaries, for instance, often came from the same social background as the people they were supposed to evangelize and civilize. London itself, “the proud metropolis of the most Christian country of the world”, as one missionary put it, was described as an enigmatic foreign territory that had to be explored and conquered by the soldiers of Christ. Home and foreign missionaries, it will be argued, contributed to the discursive formation of Africans and the poor: the domestic poor gradually came to be seen as worthy missionary subjects in much the same way as “heathen” overseas. For the average middle-class British city-dweller who read with great interest the periodicals and newspapers about African exploration and the progress of the Empire through the Dark Continent, Africa was made more and more familiar, only a doorstep away. At the same time, the poor at home became “savages” and “heathens”, the inhabitants of a strange, dangerous and ready to be explored land called “the East End”. Protestantism, of course, was the most important element in the missionaries’ definition of Britishness. As Linda Colley has argued in Britons, the idea that Protestantism was a factor of unity and uniformity in spite of internal rivalries, a “unifying and distinguishing bond” (Colley 2009, 18), was rooted in the context of the wars against France and the building of the British Empire. This could also be observed in the late 19th century: although missionary enterprise is often presented as a competition between the various Protestant denominations that formed the Victorian religious landscape, in practice, it was not uncommon to find Dissenters and Anglicans working together. Typically, the LCM was characterised by its interdenominational nature – Nonconformists and members of the Church of England worked together right from 1835, when the Society was founded. As for the Anglican CMS, it also counted Dissenters among its rank and file; one of the most prominent members of the Nyanza Mission, Alexander Mackay, was the son of a Scottish Free Church minister, and a Scottish Presbyterian himself. Differences within
Protestantism were superseded by the need to fight religious superstition and defection at home and abroad, which could appear in the guise of Catholicism, Judaism or heathenism. National differences were also underplayed within missionary organizations: the CMS party to Buganda counted only one Englishman, the rest of them being South African, Scottish or Australian. To take up Colley’s words again, “Britishness was superimposed over an array of internal differences in response to contact with the Other, and above all in response to conflict with the Other.” (Colley 2009, 6) “Contact” and “conflict” are here key words for us to understand how missionary encounters with foreigners were shaped and described in missionary letters and journals. The literary and press output of the two missionary societies under scrutiny here offered Victorian readers various definitions of who foreigners were, alongside criteria of moral, religious, and even political standards. It is on those different “types” of foreigners that this article focuses, with reference to both home and foreign missions.
Conversing with, and converting the Other: non-European foreigners As a London City missionary put it when the Society Committee met in May 1870, “this is an age of exploration and discovery”1: the building of the British Empire, and the prevailing culture of exploration at home and abroad meant that Victorians, be they educated or not, had all read about, or heard of, countries peopled with darker-skinned men and women. London’s status as “the metropolis of Britain, or rather the metropolis of the world”2, as a London missionary put it, had made the city a highly cosmopolitan one: immigrants from virtually all over the globe would come and go, working in London, alongside Britons; so that by the second half of the 19th century, the LCM had set up sections dedicated solely to the foreign communities of the metropolis. The missionaries who worked with the Chinese, the Indians, or the Africans of London were usually former foreign missionaries – most of them had ties with the CMS – and had been chosen because they knew foreign languages. One of them, Joseph Salter, wrote two accounts of his work among those London foreigners, which give a revealing insight into the ways in which this particular work was regarded. In The East in the West, which was published in 1895 (see Fig. 7-1), he described his work in the Whitechapel neighbourhood of Tiger Bay, among the many-hued inhabitants of this “Asiatic jungle of courts and alleys”3: “Here an Indian colony might have been seen, transplanted from
The Role of Missionaries in Forging British Identity
the Ganges to the Thames, with language, religion, habits and customs intact”4. When describing the foreigners he was supposed to evangelize, Salter makes use of rhetoric devices that are commonly found in travel accounts and exploration narratives: their obvious differences as nonWhites are emphasized; their outward appearance becomes a “human landscape” on which elements associated with the country they come from are attached. This is particularly true of his description of Central Africans, who usually came to London as sailors and then worked on the docks: they are “dark diamonds” waiting to be refined; their teeth are “white as the ivory of their own land” and “[their] eyes usually sparkle like polished gems when lighted up by some happy thought”5. Those cliché comparisons with precious stones and ivory, both then known in Europe to be found plentifully in Africa, allowed the missionary to make “readable representations” (Lindeborg 1994, 394) of those foreign sailors, representations that instantly conjured up images of the Dark Continent, a territory of yet undisclosed riches. As Ruth Lindeborg has pointed out in her study of Salter’s work, the missionary also used an “ethnographic strategy [that] complements the narrative frames he builds from the conventions of exploration narrative.” (Lindeborg 1994, 394) Indeed, just as the CMS missionaries were asked to provide details of the populations they encountered in Central Africa, Salter also inserted pseudo-scientific elements to his description of the sailors: They were all distinguished for muscle and bone, the weaker ones having died off […]. Their broad breasts and curly heads were exposed to the glare of the sun; their tribal marks were visible on their faces and arms, and could be seen on their breasts […] These marks distinguish the various tribes of inland Africa. Some had foreheads equal to the Circassian, but with others the frontal bone retired at a considerable angle. The cheek-bone and lip varied from the Aryan form to the Negro – high and thick6.
In this description, Salter adopts the style of the objective observer of nature, which is then counterbalanced by the more exotic references to “the glare of the sun”, or the before quoted “gems” and “ivory”. NonEuropeans, because they were distinctively, obviously, outwardly foreign, were easily typified; the discursive stereotypes through which they were described by European travellers, missionaries, scientists, etc., were found relevant and truthful because they were fixed in many types of discourses in Britain. As Homi Bhabha put it, “the stereotype requires, for its successful signification, a continual and repetitive chain of other stereotypes.” (Bhabha 1994, 77) It is therefore not surprising to find similar representations of the African type in foreign missionaries’
accounts. This is particularly true of missionary iconography: the illustrations that came along with missionary narratives at home and abroad were a further means to rationalize and reinforce the differences that existed between the British missionaries and their foreign flocks; the keeping up of appearances in Africa, especially, was necessary in order not to “go native”. Reverend Wilson, who stayed in Rubaga from 1877 to 1880, refused to wear the traditional costume of the Gandas, on the ground that it would make him look like “Robinson Crusoe”7. In their letters, missionaries often referred to themselves as “the white men”, or “the White Man”, phrases they thought were the straightforward translation of the bantu word muzungu. In fact, that word, which had been coined in the 18th century to refer to European travellers, missionaries or traders who set foot in this part of Africa, meant “someone who wanders aimlessly” – which of course raises some issues when one deals with missionaries’ definitions of themselves. British missionaries favoured the white “colonial outfit”: it allowed them to stand out among the crowds of Gandas, the Muslim traders who resided at the court of the king, and the French White Fathers, who wore the traditional white robe or gandoura. Joseph Salter’s account of his work among non-European foreigners in London was also illustrated with images emphasizing such markers of difference as the outfit, the hair, the skin colour, etc. These devices would reinforce the imaginative distance between missionaries and their subjects, by making them even more “foreign” than they already were (see Fig. 72). Missionaries were familiar with the evolutionary theories that prevailed at the end of the 19th century on the question of race. Even though, as we have seen, they sometimes borrowed the rhetorical devices and images of secular texts on non-European people, they had made their positions clear in the debate opposing the theories of monogenesis and polygenesis. “Biological explanations of cultural difference remained unpopular among missionaries. All peoples, according to the Bible, were members of God’s family.” (Twells 2009, 13) The only degrees of difference that they cared about were degrees in sin: Africans, especially, were regarded as some of the most degraded populations, their “blackness […] long associated with disadvantage and degradation” (Twells 2009, 14), as well as some customs – real or unreal – associated with the Dark Continent: polygamy, human sacrifice, cannibalism. According to Brett Christophers, who studied Anglican missionaries in 19th-century British Columbia, “we appear to have, in the theory of the Anglican mission, a discourse of difference within sameness. Human oneness was absolute but fractured, temporarily, by sin.” (Christophers 1999, 30) In the eyes of God,
The Role of Missionaries in Forging British Identity
the white man and the coloured man are of equal value. Missionaries reconciled the obvious variety of the human race with the religious tenet of human oneness by substituting the frequently used trope of the “ladder of civilization” with the image of a “chain of people”, not rigidly organized in degrees (see Fig. 7-3). Concerning non-European foreigners, missionaries laid the emphasis not so much on their “foreignness” than their “otherness” – an “otherness” that was religious, and most importantly, temporary. Their encounters with European foreigners, conversely, were envisaged differently, as is shown by the missionaries’ relationships with the French and the Irish who they had to deal with in their home and overseas ventures
The same, yet not the same: conflicting encounters with European foreigners The ways in which missionaries in London and in Central Africa envisaged encounters with French and Irish people were quite similar, even though there was a major difference in their status: in London, the French and the Irish that missionaries met were potential converts, people they had to evangelize; whereas in Buganda, the French the CMS had to deal with – the above mentioned White Fathers – were potential rivals, who had come to Central Africa with the same view of evangelizing its inhabitants. This rivalry was all the more exacerbated in the imperial context that opposed France and Britain in various regions of Africa at the end of the 19th century. Those confrontations gave the missionaries a further opportunity to put forward a certain definition of Britishness, presenting missionary work almost as a patriotic duty: religious and political criteria were intricately linked and came into play when representing Britons and foreigners. In Buganda, the CMS missionaries were not too pleased to see a party of five French “Jesuits” settle in the capital, only two years after they themselves had arrived in Rubaga. The king’s attention was from then on divided between two kinds of Europeans at court, those called the bainglesa and the bafransa. The word bainglesa, although clearly coming from the word “English”, was used as a shortcut for “British”, which did not seem to bother the non-English members of the CMS. Nationality, and not religion, took precedence on how the Gandas referred to the two groups of Europeans. In the broader context of empire building, even before the Scramble for Africa, it is true that missionaries liked to emphasize their belonging to the British nation: the Union Jack or the
English flag would be hoisted every time the party was camping; when talking about the American explorer Stanley to a neighbouring king, Reverend Wilson wrote: […] then he mentioned the Mussungu Mêrîkânî [sic] as they call Stanley and how much he was disliked by them on account of his murdering so many natives and I was very glad to find that they already understood that there was a difference in nationality between him and the Wasungu Ingreza [sic] as we are called and I was not slow to increase this distinction as far as they could comprehend8.
Indeed, the kingdom of Buganda was not under any foreign influence when the CMS missionaries arrived, so it was crucial for the British missionaries to make the characteristics, so to say, of their nationality clear. They did not want to be assimilated to the American explorer’s violent and fierce behaviour (see Fig. 7-4). The arrival of the French on the CMS mission field in 1879 was the occasion for the British missionaries to reassert their identities as Britons. Before the French arrived, the CMS missionaries were the only muzungu, the only Europeans and white men. Therefore, in their conversations with the Africans, and their letters to the CMS headquarters in London, they had built their identities in opposition to the dark-skinned Africans they had come to evangelize; it was a simple tale of darkness versus light. The White Fathers’ arrival changed that deal, and reinforced the collective identity of the mission as British. They were God’s elects, because they were Protestants, and because they belonged to the British nation. When weaving publishable stories out of the missionaries’ letters, the periodicals at home were even more vindictive, calling for money and prayers against the “unprovoked aggression of a Mission of French Romanists”, “the recent invasion of Uganda by a party of French Catholic priests”, and the “Romish aggression”9. This type of vocabulary would certainly strike a chord in the Victorians’ imagination of their national identity, bringing them back to the 1850s and the “Papal aggression” of Pope Pius IX, when he made England and Wales an ecclesiastical province of the Roman Catholic Church. Going further back to the 17th century, as Colley has shown, antiCatholicism had served as a cement between the three nations of Britain, and had helped Britons to interpret their past. But the 19th century and its succession of wars, revolutions on the continent, and the Great Famine in Ireland, had brought many Catholic Europeans to Britain, and more specifically to London. The London City missionaries reported that some neighbourhoods were entirely peopled with Irish men and women, in what
The Role of Missionaries in Forging British Identity
were called “Irish colonies” or “Irish rookeries”. In the notorious district of St Giles, missionaries could testify that “there are a few courts where respectable working-men with their families reside; but for the most part they are tenanted by the lowest class of Irish, and by many of the criminal population of London”10. Just after the Great Famine (1846-9), in the 1850s, 4.5% of the London population was Irish (about 110,000 individuals). The LCM also soon started missions dedicated to the Italian, Spanish and French workers of London. Dealing with such foreign communities was usually described as a much more complex process than dealing with English-born Londoners: for religious superstition, “Popery”, as Catholicism was dubbed, was usually associated with political seditiousness, and was erased less easily than religious apathy. By the second half of the 19th century, the neighbourhoods where many immigrants from the continent had gathered – Soho and Fitzrovia – could indeed claim to be the geographical centre of radical European politics. A Frenchman had to be a Republican: it was no surprise to see that “the Frenchman’s colony” in Central London was connected to “Socialism”, for it was “the seat of the operations of the late Robert Owen, and infidelity was long prevalent on it.”11 As for the Irish, they were either associated with religious superstition, political disaffection (Fenianism), or both. Therefore, the Catholic Irish and French, most notably, had to receive special treatment because of their deviant political opinions, which risked contaminating the loyal, Bible-owning Protestant workers at the heart of the British Empire. The LCM’s mission was not, therefore, only an evangelizing one: it was the organization’s duty to help foster political loyalty and patriotism among the potentially seditious masses. The missions to the Irish and the French took on a renewed significance: the Irish community, especially after the Fenian crisis of 1867-1868, was suspected of spreading the germs of political sedition among the British working class. Religion and political loyalty went hand in hand together, as this member of the LCM Committee put it: “I believe that the teaching, the Bible teaching, that has been conveyed from house to house for the last 32 years has presented a breakwater that Fenianism and every other ruffianism never will be able to remove”12. Terms like “Republicanism”, “Communism” and “Socialism”, which were all likely to fall under the label “ruffianism”, started to appear in the columns of the LCM Magazine. The spectre of the French Revolution of 1789, which had resurfaced in 1848 re-emerged as well: French immigrants were regarded with suspicion. “Popery and infidelity”, presented as “deviations from the good old paths”13, were two sides of the same coin.
The events happening in neighbouring France in 1870 and 1871 – the Paris Commune, ending in May 1871 with the semaine sanglante – had brought another wave of French immigrants to London. It gave the members of the LCM Committee the opportunity to further develop antiFrench arguments: the Franco-Prussian war and the defeat of the French army were proof of the Old Enemy’s lack of physical and moral fortitude, a punishment for the country’s irreligious state since 1789. The Protestant Germans were extolled by the British clergymen of the Committee14, whereas the French remained the hostile Other described by Colley in Britons (Colley 5-6). Being either Catholics or atheists, and/or Republicans, they were therefore everything the British were not. Paris was the anti-London, the negative image of the capital of Britain; for the members of the LCM, looking at Paris’s degraded state was like looking into a distorting mirror, at what to expect if the forces of evil – political and religious deviance – were to take over the city. With post-Origin of the Species vocabulary, members of the LCM would reassert the idea that Protestantism had a major part to play in the progress of the British nation. France, seen through the lens of the experiment of the Paris Commune was the perfect counter-example, confirming Britain’s superiority. In May 1871, when the LCM Committee met in Exeter Hall, the Paris Commune was mentioned several times: ெWhat is going on in Paris now should convince us, if nothing else has convinced us, that the attempt to civilize men without giving them the Gospel is a clumsy tinkering of poor, fallen identity15. France, with the present “decadence of [its] religious spirit”16, was not worth much more than any heathen African land: it had, literally, “fallen” down the ladder of civilisation. Nonetheless, for the most pessimistic members of the LCM, London’s status as “the heart of Christendom” was not deserved in the last quarter of the 19th century: organizations such as the LCM were needed in order to fight the growing religious apathy that seemed to take over the city and pervert it: “there are sights and scenes to be witnessed in London which […] are hardly to be exceeded in iniquity in Paris or in any heathen land”17, one LCM sponsor observed. Protestantism had to be restored in every corner of the capital so that every Londoner could claim to be a true, loyal British subject. Missionary work, therefore, be it abroad or on British soil, was patriotic work, as one LCM Committee member put it in 1879: ெeveryone who is working for Christ, and for the souls of men, is toiling for the honour, the happiness, and the salvation of his country, and that is patriotism in a sense to which no party in the state can make exclusive claim18.
The Role of Missionaries in Forging British Identity
In the case of European foreigners, then, it seems that home and foreign missionary discourses emphasized more their “foreignness” than their “otherness”. Being from countries with which Britons had been in contact for many centuries, the Irish and the French were not Others in the same way Central Africans were. There were similarities between the different communities that made them the same, yet not the same; Christians, but Catholics; civilized, but in a degraded way. This last series of observations will now focus on another type of missionary encounter with “foreigners”. Home and overseas horizons of missionary work and discourses overlapped when describing close encounters of a third kind – those the London missionaries had with the British-born lower classes of London, which were presented as degraded, domestic, abnormally British heathens – the “vast masses of our metropolitan population who [had] relapsed from the influence of Christian truth and Christian instruction, and […] fallen back into a state of heathen darkness”19.
Close encounters of a third kind: the lower classes of London The British missionaries who went to Africa often used a vocabulary to describe Africans that was close to that used in the metropole to describe the lower members of the society in Britain, the “residuum.” At times, this discursive strategy is at work in the writings of the CMS missionaries in Buganda, when they substituted a language of class for a language of race – when they referred, for instance, to the idleness of their African porters. But right from the beginning of the 19th century, things also worked the other way around: the association made by the missionaries between the heathen “classes” at home and the heathen “races” overseas permeated discursive productions about the lower classes of British cities, especially London. The descriptions of London’s labouring poor by the LCM missionaries were clearly influenced by the language of empire and foreign missions, all the more reason to study home and foreign missions not as separate undertakings, but as joint ventures20. There were “resonance[s] and reverberation[s]”21 at home of a racial discourse that had stemmed from encounters overseas. The 1851 religious census unveiled a truth that missionary societies like the LCM had known for decades: Britain, and especially British cities, were in a dreadfully irreligious state. Church attendance was particularly low among the “wonderful and ever-increasing population of our mighty London”22, as one missionary put it. The ever-growing population of
London was the source of many concerns among missionaries; this population was living in the “dark shadow of our Christian heathenism – if I may venture such a phrase”. With the oxymoronic phrase “Christian heathenism”, this missionary examiner encapsulated the abnormality of London, “the seething centre […] of sin and civilization, this great compound of Sodom and Zion – all that is best in the world gathered up, and […] all that is worst”23. In a sense, throughout the 19th century, London was becoming more and more alien – with foreigners, as we have seen, accumulating in the cosmopolitan capital. More precisely even, London was made more and more alien and foreign by new literary genres and discursive strategies that were to influence missionary discourses on the London poor. The building of the Empire overseas, and the culture of exploration in which the Victorian audience basked, meant that the genre of the travel narrative, and more precisely the exploration narrative, was a most popular one. Virtually everyone, from the top to the bottom of society, had read about – or at least heard of – the thrilling trials and tribulations of David Livingstone, Speke and Burton, and Henry Morton Stanley. From the 1850s onwards, a subgenre of exploration literature emerged, that of the slumming narrative, or urban investigation narrative. Journalists, social reformers, photographers and illustrators would roam the industrial cities of Britain, “exploring” the new manufacturing districts, the “undiscovered country of the poor.” (Mayhew Preface) The works of Henry Mayhew (London Labour and the London Poor, 1851), Gustave Doré and Blanchard Jerrold (London: A Pilgrimage, 1872), John Thomson (Victorian London Street Life, 1877) and Georges Sims (How the Poor Live, 1889) best exemplified this new trend. The genre reached its peak in the 1880s and the 1890s, but the clichés of Victorian cities as unknown, dark, waiting-to-be-explored territories had already had a long life behind them. And of course, London offered one particularly fertile ground for urban explorers, especially because of the ready-made contrast between the East End and West End of the city. As Felix Driver put it, “London was imagined as a miniature globe in itself”, and it therefore sustained a “powerful imaginative geography.” (Driver 2000, 182-183) Judith Walkowitz also referred to this discursive process that helped make London more “foreign”: “the opposition of East and West increasingly took on imperial and racial dimensions, as the two parts of London imaginatively doubled for England and its Empire.” (Walkowitz 1994, 26) City missionaries, who were amongst the first “respectable” people who knew those dark corners of Britain quite well, also employed the language of imperial exploration in the context of missionary work at home, and
The Role of Missionaries in Forging British Identity
therefore participated in the “racialization” of the London poor: in the pages of the LCM Magazine, London is described in turn as “great” and “wonderful”, but also as an “evil”24 place, “a vast, foul, and stagnant pool, from which there is always issuing forth the fatal miasms, which seem[ed] to seize upon everything within its grasp with a corrupting and pernicious influence”25. The image of the “stagnant pool”, here to be interpreted figuratively of course, nonetheless finds its roots in the many descriptions of unhealthy swamps and marshes that the explorers of Africa mentioned. The LCM was presented as a purging, cleansing force that had the religious and patriotic duty to “map out” the London terra incognita through and through, in the name of Protestantism: “the Society is […] ramifying and moving throughout the streets and lanes and alleys and courts of this great city, and carrying there the waters of life, the waters of salvation”26. Missionaries and their supporters also borrowed the discursive clichés of the slumming narrative when describing the areas in which they worked, thereby making their narratives more sensational, exciting and thrilling: […] the lives of our city and town missionaries seem to me to bristle with startling incidents. One dark night last winter a missionary engaged in the east of London, was treading a tortuous alley, in order to visit a sick man. Under a glimmering lamp, about the middle of the alley, stood three men, beetle-browed, close-cropped, short-necked, rascally-looking fellows27.
The three men then proceeded to attack and rob the missionary. Their physical description owes much to the clichéd representation of the criminal poor in slumming narratives – short-haired, small types of men. In such accounts, missionaries became real pioneers in those unchartered territories, who made “startling discoveries”28. Through their work, they helped rationalize a city that was otherwise seen as growing wildly, in all directions: The great and comforting thing is this: that London, which seems such a hopeless problem when looked at in the mass, is districted, divided, explored, and diligently traversed along its roads and streets, and up its courts, by men who have one errand, and that is, to tell the people of the Lord Jesus Christ29.
The adaptability of the language of exploration eased the parallel between “Darkest England” and “Darkest Africa”: to the dark, unwelcoming jungles of Central Africa corresponded the “most forgotten >…@ recesses of human misery, >…@ the very depths of darkness” of
London, into which missionaries had the religious duty to “dive”30. As Jean and Jane Comaroff pointed out, “the metaphors of misery thus reverberated through the literature of outcast London, coupling the pauper and the primitive in a common destiny”31. A moral geography was mapped out, and supplemented the physical geography that distinguished home and abroad, West and East: “now, from the East Indies to the East of London is a long way, measured by miles; it is not so very far, measured by morals”32. Therefore, the London population could take on the characteristics of certain peoples of Africa. They were wanderers, for instance, nomads: “they come and go, they rise and fall, and are in a perpetual state of migration. They are found in holes and corners, and depths and recesses, where people can hardly penetrate with any degree of security”33. It is therefore not surprising that when cameras were made available at a cheaper price, the LCM missionaries decided to use them to document their work among the various workers and communities of London. Even though missionaries often came from the same social background as the people they wished to evangelize, they created some sort of imaginative distance between themselves and their subjects – just as explorers did with the inhabitants of the countries they travelled to, and just as anthropologists and urban investigators did with their subjects. The pictures taken by John Thomson for his famous book Victorian London Street Life, published in 1877 will have struck the observer because of the carefully arranged quality of those posed photographs of London dwellers, be they “nomads” (his picture of a caravan of gypsies) or “settlers” (women selling their old clothes in St Giles for instance, a neighbourhood with which LCM missionaries were familiar)34. Thomson also informed the readers about the many London street jobs that existed (the “typical” dust sweeper for instance). From the end of the 1880s onward, it became more and more common for the LCM editors to include photographs taken by missionaries in the pages of the Society’s magazine: they bear many similarities with Thomson’s work. They are not only here to testify of the missionaries’ work among the labouring classes of London, but have the same ethnographic quality reminiscent of urban investigation. They were taken at the subjects’ worksites (railways, coal pits, in the streets), which became new “contact zones,” just as the mission station at the court of Mutesa was a contact zone: a place of ritualized negotiation and conversation, tending towards conversion and the establishment of ongoing relations. (Pratt 8) The composition of those photographs is as carefully arranged as Thompson’s: the subjects in a row, facing the camera, each holding a tool that is characteristic of their
The Role of Missionaries in Forging British Identity
occupations (a shovel, a broom, a cart, etc.) (Fig. 7-5 and 7-6). The same ethnographic quality is of course found in foreign missionaries’ photographs of African people. Missionaries in Africa were encouraged to sketch the people they encountered, and at the turn of the century, to photograph them: the CMS missionary Charles William Hattersley used photographs for a wide array of purposes in Uganda, ranging from confirming the success of the mission (a boy buying a Bible) to informing the readers and subscribers at home about the various occupations of Africans – the ivory trade, working bark to make cloth, etc. The use of photographs by both home and foreign missionaries, therefore, further emphasizes the similarities in missionary practices and discourses at home and overseas. Navigating back and forth between the home and foreign missionary sources of the LCM and the CMS has demonstrated that British missionaries at the end of the 19th century had developed, wittingly or unwittingly, their own definitions of foreignness and Britishness. Those definitions rested upon religious, political, moral and physical criteria – being a Bible-owning Protestant or a fetish-worshipper, a loyal subject of Queen Victoria, the member of a Ganda tribe, or an exiled French Republican, all those could qualify you as one or the other. In the last quarter of the 19th century, missionary organizations had found, if not overall success, at least legitimacy. Their main achievement was perhaps in disseminating the idea that civilization and Christianity went hand in hand, both at home and overseas, even more crucially as the expansion of the British Empire gathered momentum. Missionaries and their supporters were convinced that Protestantism was the key to make Britain, as one LCM missionary put it, greater than the “civilization of the Nile” once was. Egypt, under “the Pharaohs, and the Ptolemys, and the Romans, and the Arabs”, was bound to crumble, for it sheltered “civilizations of heathen men”; Britain, on the other hand, thanks to Protestantism, would go down in history as “the civilization of the Thames, >…@ the civilization of Christian men”35.
Bibliography Bhabha, Homi K. The location of culture. London: Routledge, 1994. Christophers, Brett. Positioning the Missionary: John Booth Good and the Confluence of Cultures in Nineteenth-Century British Columbia. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1999. Colley, Linda. Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.
Cooper, Frederick, and Ann Laura Stoler. Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World. Berkeley: UCP, 1997. Driver, Felix. Geography Militant: Cultures of Exploration and Empire. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 2000. Hansen, Karen Tranberg. African Encounters with Domesticity. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1992. Lindeborg, Ruth H. ெThe ‘Asiatic’ and the Boundaries of Victorian Englishness. Victorian Studies 37.3 (1994): 381-404. Mayhew, Henry. London labour and the London Poor. London: Harper & Brothers, 1851. Pratt, Mary Louise. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. London: Routledge, 2008. Twells, Alison. The Civilising Mission and the English Middle Class, 1792-1850: The ࣔHeathenӛ at Home and Overseas. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Walkowitz, Judith R. City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London. London: Virago press, 1994.
The Role of Missionaries M in n Forging Britissh Identity
T East in thee West, Josephh Salter, Religiious Tract Fig. 7-1. Inside cover of The Society, Londdon, 1895. Fig. 7-2: Detaail from The Glleaner Pictoria al Album, CMS,, London, 1888 8: a British missionary reeading the Biblle to a crowd of o Central Afriicans at camp. © Church Mission Socieety.
Chapter Seven S
P among which the CM MS works”, CM M Gleaner, Fig. 7-3: “Thhe Races and Peoples April 1880: 100. © Church Mission M Society y.
The Role of Missionaries M in n Forging Britissh Identity
Fig. 7-4: Skeetches of African Scenery: From F Zanzibar to the Victoria Nyanza, Thomas O’N Neill, CMS, London, 1878 (facing ( page 110). © Church h Mission Society.
men” LCM Maagazine, 1894. © London Fig. 7-5: “Miission to the Cooalies and Carm City Mission..
Chapter Seven S
Fig. 7-6: “Road-Sweepers inn Shacklewell Lane, L Dalston” LCM Magazinee, 1894. © London City Mission.
CHAPTER EIGHT MEN OF ARAN, STRANGERS ON THE FRINGE OF EUROPE: AUTHENTIC OR AESTHETIC FORMS OF OTHERNESS? VALÉRIE MORISSON UNIVERSITE DE BOURGOGNE
Introduction If Irish nationalists have repeatedly been portrayed negatively by the English1, the inhabitants of the Aran Islands have embodied an enticing form of otherness. On the islands, where foreignness was accessible to English and Irish travelers alike, the inhabitants were perceived as reassuring natives living exotic lives in the far reaches of Europe. The islands have attracted folklorists, ethnographers, film-makers, writers, or painters who relished a culture that they perceived as utterly different from theirs. Three correlated cultural phenomena account for a renewed interest in the Aran Islands in the second half of the 19th century: a romantic idealization of everything rural and backward; the development of folklore studies2; and the emergence of cultural nationalism. The unspoiled landscapes of the islands pleased those seeking a refuge from modernization. The people’s underdeveloped and traditional ways of life appealed to folklorists with a longing for the past. The Gaelic roots of vernacular culture in the West brought grind to the nationalists’ mill. These strands are interwoven in many texts and images. If the impact of cultural nationalism and revivalism on the idealization of the West of Ireland is well-documented, the influence of European primitivism and exoticism on such depictions needs be further
investigated3: interpreting the perception of the strangeness of the islands within a broad European context can relevantly complement an Irish understanding of this cultural phenomenon.
Looking for the Fir-bolgs: otherness and utopianism The Aran Islands have long been related to Hy Brazil, the enchanted phantom island partly hidden by clouds. In 1325, Angelinus Dalorto, a Genoese cartographer, had placed the mythical island in Galway bay; it appears in the same area on several medieval maps. “This imagined island, located to the west of Ireland, is variously described as a ‘promised land’, the island of the blesséd – Tír na nÓg – the land of the setting sun” (Casement, 157). Given this mythical history, the utopian innuendoes that surface in many accounts are hardly surprising. The very first antiquarian description, A Chorographical Description of West or H-Lar Connaught, by Roderic O’Flaherty (1629-1718) published in 1684, was reprinted in 1846 by Hardiman. The 19th century editor noted: “The privations which these poor and honest islanders sometimes undergo […] are very severe; and yet you will not find any of them willing to exchange the ‘bare flags’ of Aran, for the comparative comforts of the inland country” (Haddon, 770)4. The idea that Araners, though living an incredibly strenuous life, are content with their lot prevailed for a long time and was strengthened by Irish revivalism as wells as by Jean-Jacques Rousseau or Johann Gottfried Herder’s quests for authenticity. Eager to salvage authentic cultures, antiquarians and ethnologists visited the islands because their remoteness had supposedly made them immune to modernization and hybridizations. The theme of racial purity comes forth in many scientific descriptions. During his visit to the islands, in 1822, George Petrie, an Irish archaeologist and antiquarian, was enthralled by the inhabitants’ purity: “In the island of Innishmain alone, then, the character of the Aran islander has hitherto escaped contamination, and there it still retains all its delightful pristine purity” (quoted by Haddon, 803). Petrie equally notices that the islanders do not show the vices that can be attributed to the Irish (Haddon, 801). He extols the inhabitants’ “primitive simplicity, their ingenuous manners,” or their virtuous conduct and explains: [M]uch of their superiority must be attributed to their remote, insular situation, which has hitherto precluded an acquaintance with the vices of the distant region, … they are to be considered, not as a fair specimen of the wild Irish of the present day […], but rather as a striking example of what that race might generally be under circumstances more happy (Haddon 802).
Men of Aran, Strangers on the Fringe of Europe
In an 1825 scientific account of life on the islands by John T. O’Flaherty, one may read that “the people retain in language, habits, and customs, beyond comparison, more of the primitive Celtic character than any of the cotemporary [sic] tribes of that stock” (J. T. O’Flaherty, 137; Haddon, 816). Flaherty observes that “no portion of the Irish population has preserved the primitive manners, language, and recollections, with more fidelity than the secluded inhabitants of Aran” (102). He evokes the Araners’ belief in Hy Brazil and notes: “it is only to an unmixed, aboriginal people that such a tradition as this could descend unimpaired, through the long and tedious stream of ages” (J. T. O’Flaherty, 139; Haddon, 817). The observer perceives Aran otherness through the prism of evolutionary history. In his 1852 portrait of the islanders, Sir Samuel Ferguson, a poet and an antiquarian, also discloses his admiration for a pure, uncontaminated people: Here, where they have been left to themselves, notwithstanding the natural sterility of their islands, they are certainly a very superior population – physically, morally, and even economically – to those of many of the mixed and planted districts (Ferguson 91, quoted by Haddon, 781).
However, the islands have never been impervious to English influences. Another famous but English excursionist, John Beddoe, the author of The Races of Britain (1885), noted that: We might be disposed, trusting to Irish traditions respecting the islands, to accept these people as representatives of the Firbolgs, had not Cromwell, that upsetter of all things Hibernian, left in Aranmore a small English garrison, who subsequently apostatized to Catholicism, intermarried with the natives, and so vitiated the Firbolgian pedigree (Beddoe, 267, 1885 ed.).
Nonetheless, owing to their legendary remoteness, the islands constituted an ideal field for anthropometric and anthropological investigations5. Many scientists extolled the islanders’ temperaments, with their mental traits reinforcing the impression of otherness. In his 1892 account, English ethnologist and anthropologist Alfred Cort Haddon portrays the inhabitants of Inishmore in laudatory terms: “They have had the character of being exceptionally honest, straightforward, and upright” (Haddon, 800). As it were, most of the Irish and English scholars who visited the islands were prejudiced in favor of the islanders, even though their observations may have served a colonial project6. From an Irish perspective, during the nationalist period, the islands became the ideal locus of a pure Celtic civilization and epitomized a
nationalist rural utopia. Throughout the 19th century, the Araners were “true Irishmen and women, models for an Ireland freed from British dominion” (Ashley, 9). John Millington Synge’s and Jack Butler Yeats’ accounts of the islands, must obviously be interpreted against the background of the Gaelic revival7, as: [T]he revived aspects come to symbolize the real or imagined freedom, unity, greatness, or happiness enjoyed in pre-contact times, while the perpetuated aspects become symbols of the society’s existence as a unique entity, culturally distinct from the superordinate group (Messenger, 43).
Against this backdrop, destitution was hardly ever construed in social terms and poverty was romanticized. If Synge was sensitive to the predicaments of the inhabitants of the Congested Districts, he enhances the uncommon qualities of life on the islands. In The Aran Islands, he nostalgically marvels at “the ancient loyalty” of the islanders and their primitive dignity (Synge, 42). On Inishmann, he observes that the “ancient Gaelic seemed so full of divine simplicity” (Synge, 85). He underscores the tightness of family ties, the way children are raised “in a way that is not easy to understand in more civilized places” (Synge, 43), and the unusually strong maternal feelings (Synge, 57). He also describes the sense of kinship and forms of primitive justice (Synge, 48). His work appears like a continuation of Johann Gottfried Herder’s philosophical and philological endeavour. The Rousseauian quest for elementary community organizations surfaces in other texts on the islands. In many travelogues, the innocence of the people is highlighted. In a 1931 description, Ian Dall observes that “sometimes, though rarely, one sees among these people a loveliness that is scarcely human” (Dall, 151). Indeed, “peasant Ireland has been a region of the imagination and of the spirit through which they [revivalists] sought contact and tried to come to terms with remnants of the old Gaelic way of life and the lost childhood of the race” (Harmon, 158). Like other rural communities or isolated tribes, the Araners were thought of as noble savages by observers committed to cultural relativism. However, their purity and innocence were invented. In a 1964 enquiry into the distortions of cultural realities on Aran, John Messenger, who conducted ethnographic research in the three islands for 18 months between 1959 and 1963, demonstrated that the islanders’ ancestors were in fact immigrants (Messenger, 48). He drew an unpalatable portrait of the people8 (Messenger, 91). Yet, the idea that the Araners were not like other Irish people continued to prevail and the exotic appeal of the islands remained undimmed. It appears therefore that one mode of circumscribing otherness, which
Men of Aran, Strangers on the Fringe of Europe
we shall call the mythologizing mode, consists in idealizing (for various purposes) an unattainable, phantasized other who is described as morally, culturally, or racially pure. A second mode, only seemingly opposed to the first one, the ethnographic mode, presents otherness as a tangible, physical reality by resorting to lengthy descriptions and enumerations.
Ethnographic others In the early 19th century, some effort was made to render otherness as a scientifically verifiable entity: “a scientific mentality began to infiltrate the emotional vocabulary of Romanticism” (Bendix, 46). The once mythical islands became heterotopias rather than utopias, that is to say alternative yet real places (Foucault, 46-49). Alfred Cort Haddon conducted his ethnographic study of “the most interesting group of islands round the Irish coast” (Haddon, 769), in 18929. In 1891 he had co-founded Dublin’s Anthropometric Laboratory, modeled on Francis Galton’s in London. His study of the racial features of the islanders applied the techniques of anthropometry to fieldwork: he followed the methods advocated by John Beddoe to scientifically describe the islanders. Mathematical formulas, long and comprehensive tables, as well as scientific classifications abound in Haddon’s book, which is supposed to leave no space for subjective statement. Haddon’s observations support the claim that the islanders are different from the Irish living on the mainland: he concludes that the Aran natives are smaller than other Irish people; he minutely describes the height, the limbs, the head, the eyes, the nose, the chin, the cheek and cheekbones of the islanders considering that they form a racially homogenous group apart from the inhabitants of the mainland while noting some local variables. Photographic close-ups, or anthropometric portraits, illustrate his arguments (see Fig. 8-1)10. Haddon endorses Beddoe’s opinion that “the people of the Aran Isles, in Galway Bay, have their own very strongly marked type, in some respects an exaggeration of the ordinary Gaelic one11” (Beddoe, 267, 1885 ed.). He quotes Mr. John McElheran, who consistently noted that the islanders were “a very peculiar people” (Haddon, 781) and observes that certain proportional measurements “in many respects differ from the accepted artistic canons, and also from the European proportions” (Haddon, 792). The mythical uniqueness of the islanders found itself supported by solid evidence as otherness could be grasped more empirically. Many travelers found a sustained interest in the traditional ways of life and the handicrafts on the islands: “the islanders were primitives, whose
language, customs and beliefs constituted a living museum” (Ashley, 13). The Araners’ lores were observed as were those of many farther-flung tribes. Haddon describes the occupations of the islanders (farming, fishing, kelp-burning), their family life and customs, marriages and burials, housing, and clothing. Synge’s The Aran Islands, published in 1906, is a medley of ethnographic, folkloric, and literary discourse. Local lores are described in detail. Synge explains that the organization of life on the island is utterly different from the mainland (Synge, 77) and that name giving is specific (Synge, 78). He is struck by the absence of class distinction (Synge, 84). In 1931, Ian Dall, shares with the readers his surprise at seeing clusters of girls in petticoats following the post-bag, women spinning wool or churning butter, and describes the organization of the cottages. Like in other accounts, kelp-burning is described as a singular, archaic activity (Dall, 142-43). Thomas H. Mason, a renowned photographer and an expert in Irish antiquities, archaeology, and zoology, visited the islands in the mid-1930s to collect traditional wares for the sake of the Folk Collection of Dublin National Museum. In his account, he describes many hand-made objects passed on from generation to generation and mentions basket-making as “one of the earliest handicrafts practiced by mankind” (Mason, 92). The crios, a brightly coloured, homemade belt is woven “by a method which is probably the most primitive in existence” (Mason, 77). Ellen Ettlinger (1902-1994), a member of the Folklore Society, visited the Aran Islands in 1949. She took series of photographs evidencing her interest in traditional handicrafts and costumes. The islanders’ costumes became the hallmark of their foreignness. Both Dall and Mason punctiliously describe men’s waistcoats (Dall, 122), pampooties (Masson, 76), stockings, or hats, conveying a sense of uniqueness. Painters and illustrators also took an interest in the traditional clothes of the Araners. Seàn Keating (RHA), who embraced cultural nationalism unabashedly, visited the islands in 1914 for the first time. In a style straddling social realism and ethnographic illustration, he painted the islanders performing their daily chores, either burning kelp or fishing. In An Aran Fisherman and his Wife (1916, Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin), An Aran Man and his Wife (1921, private collection), and several drawings, the traditional patterns of the women’s shawls or gowns are faithfully represented. In The Kelp Burners (see Fig. 8-2), the composition revolves around the red petticoats that most authors mention, while local earthenware and pottery occupy the foreground and a man is wearing pampooties and a crios. The painter relished picturesque traditions that are staged in his canvasses. Pertaining to the same ideological vein, Charles
Men of Aran, Strangers on the Fringe of Europe
Lamb’s depictions of the islands also enhance traditions though the inhabitants portrayed are more individualized. If Keating painted groups of islanders in their natural habitat united by social bonds that are repeatedly described as endemic to Aran life, Lamb portrays individuals performing their tasks isolatedly. While Keating’s titles never name the sitters but consider them as generic types, Lamb’s sometimes individualize them (like Tommy, date unspecified, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork). John Skelton, a Northern Irish plein-air painter who, from the 1940s onwards, painted very similar scenes and figures though in a slightly more modern style, equally depicted traditional costumes and stereotyped faces that matched anthropometric descriptions12. In most textual or visual ethnographic accounts, the islanders – represented either as a coherent group, or subdivided into gender or age groups – form a homogeneous cultural subject. Even the first-hand transcripts of dialogues published by Elizabeth Rivers, a young English artist who visited the islands for the first time in 1935 and stayed there from 1936 to 1943, cannot be construed as parts of a positivist and realistic ethnographical project as the characters stand for their community. These distant, detached observations of the habitat, life, and folklore of a people, rather than people, stem from and add to the sense of estrangement.
The allegorical other: ethnographic othering and primitivism Contemporary ethnographers have raised epistemological questions and have consistently pondered the relation between the self and the other underpinning ethnographic texts. James Clifford argues that ethnography is, ontologically, allegorical (Clifford, 99). The two modes that have previously been singled out (i.e. the mythologizing mode and the ethnographic mode) would therefore naturally blend. Because otherness has to be understandable to the reader, “strange behavior is portrayed as meaningful within a common network of symbols – a common ground of understandable activity valid for both observer and observed, and by implication, for all human groups” (Clifford, 101). This cultural bias affects the ethnographer’s propensity to map his descriptions of foreign communities onto conceptions or representations of primeval times (Clifford, 101) so that the strangeness of the observed is offset by references to better known archaic times. As it were, the Aran Islands have ceaselessly been described as primeval, timeless, or allochronic. Even though in his prose writings Synge refers to social realities13: in The Aran Islands, “the islanders
become a human ideal; they exist outside of history, in some vaguely timeless space” (Knapp, 59) and have a rural-to-universal significance14. Synge compares the simplicity of life on the island to “the artistic beauty of medieval life” (Synge, 16) and notes that the people of Inishmann are “moved by strange archaic sympathies with the world” (Synge, 85). Ian Dall also describes the islands as “timeless places” (Dall, 192). Elizabeth Rivers recounts match-making on the islands as something archaic that was totally strange to her. Similarly, the compositions of most visual documents do not enable the viewers to date the scenes. Neither Yeats’ drawings for the Manchester Guardian articles, nor Synge’s photographs are objective recordings. They do not document life on the islands but celebrate the native people’s primitive relation with their natural environment and foreground the primeval family cell. Robert Flaherty’s 1934 film, Man of Aran, also focuses on the family and lends itself to allegorical treatment. Most ethnographic accounts of the islands exemplify the denial of coevalness that Johannes Fabian has singled out. They are allochronic in that they establish a distance in time between the observers and the primitive observed (Fabian, 30-32). The Aran Islands appear as reminders of the vanity of modern life. Claude Levi Strauss’s words, applied to the Nambikwara – “I had been looking for a society reduced to its simplest expression” (Leach, 86) – could have been written by visitors to the Aran Islands. Thomas H. Mason’s text is imbued with nostalgia (Mason, 97). Ian Dall lamented: “I must go now, with the taste of its strangeness upon me. I had found traces of a beautiful and a vanishing world” (Dall, 181). The imagined authenticity of the islands is correlated to the inauthenticity of modernized civilizations. During her brief sojourn on the islands, in 1954, Dorothea Lange shot rural scenes in which the peasants, backward and humble as they were, seemed perfectly happy. Her article, published in Life Magazine was tellingly entitled “Serenely they live in age-old pattern”. The theme of the vanishing primitive, or the noble savage, which haunts ethnographic writing (Clifford, 112), is endowed with a therapeutic function (Tyler, 127). Though most ethnographers ground their judgments in scrupulously collected data and accurate observations, words like archaic, primitive, childish, or savage betray their primitivist assumptions. Elusively defined as “an amalgam of utopianism since the 16th century, Enlightenment views of ‘natural man’, rural attitudes toward urban existence since the industrial revolution, 19th century cultural evolutionism, and early 20th century ethnology” (Messenger, 46), primitivism is premised on the idea that different peoples are in different conditions at the same time, and on a
Men of Aran, Strangers on the Fringe of Europe
taxonomic approach to cultural reality. The word primitivism derives from an evolutionary time (Fabian, 17) which posits both a universal frame of reference and separation (Fabian, 26). Within this framework, primitivism is a symptom of the relations of power and domination between the observer and the observed. Such linear history accommodates backwardness and underdevelopment as negative mirror images of progress. Most primitivists contend that folk and primitive societies possess simple, static cultures in which dysfunctional forms are rare; that social cohesion stems from the family cell as well as from the pervasive force of religion; that folk and primitive people are content with their lives, and show qualities that tend to vanish (Messenger, 46). Such beliefs underlie the descriptions of Aran life. Synge’s revivalist appraisal is largely influenced by European primitivism (Veeranda, Knapp): “The Aran Islands appear to be authorized by the same primitivism that underwrote Haddon and Browne’s ethnographies” (Castle, 112). Synge uses the adjective “primitive” throughout his account (Synge, 7, 13, 15, 78) and nostalgically remembers his “weeks spent among primitive men” (Synge 42). Owing to the primitive nature of their ways of life, the inhabitants are at times compared to animals (Synge, 23, 24) while their simplicity is not unlike that of the madman (Synge, 30). Backwardness is equated with simplicity, and innocence. Synge continuously underlines the harmony between man and nature that characterizes, in his eyes, primitiveness15. The islanders’ muchpraised dexterity when handling their curraghs testifies to their primitive temperament. Ian Dall considers the native’s contests at sea as a source of primitive delight (Dall, 83, 88) and points out the childishness of the islanders’ interest in wars and violence (Dall, 131). The process of differentiation that runs through ethnographic accounts of the islands is therefore rooted in utopianism and primitivism. However, even when the Araners are exoticized, the distance between the estranged other and the self proves narrow.
Exoticizing the other: the comparative mode Historical or geographical exoticism (Segalen, 41 and 77) crops up in many 19th accounts. In Exotic Memories, Christopher Bongie defines exoticism as an alternative space or a refuge from modern civilization (Bongie, 4-5). Exoticism entails evocations of supremely familiar imagery because it stirs memories of ancient and better times (White, 16). Grounding his approach in Freud’s unheimlich, i.e. to the return of a familiar phenomenon under an unfamiliar guise, White argues that the nostalgic mode of exoticism boils down to a quest for the familiar in an
otherwise foreign environment (White, 22). Yet, according to Freud’s explanation, the unheimlich (uncomfortable, foreign, uncanny) entails home (White, 22-23). Many anthropologists agree that the quest for the exotic other, or stranger, is doomed as it leads to “reflection in a mirror” (Leach, 86). Yet, the mirror image, and its many trappings, is covered with a veil of exoticism. The comparisons and metaphors characterizing exotic discourses and conjuring up familiar imagery betray a reflexive exploration. The exotic is indisputably connected to strangeness: exôtikos refers both to the feelings of strangeness, estrangement and to the distance between the observer and the observed. Arthur Symons, whose writings on the islands may have influenced Synge, noted that upon his party’s return to the mainland, he felt as if he “had stepped out of some strange, halfmagical, almost real dream” (Ross, 437). It must be borne in mind that, in 1905, when Synge undertook his travel, it took about 4 hours to reach the islands from Galway by steamer boat so that “many grown women in the place […] have never set foot upon the mainland” (Synge, 11). Synge evokes the peasants’ “exhilarating strangeness and singularity” (Dalsimer, 208), confesses being struck by “the strange beauty of the women” (Synge, 13), the “strange simplicity” of the people, or their “peculiar charm” (Synge, 56). In the same way, Thomas H. Mason noted: “although, geographically, I was still in Ireland, yet, to all intends and purposes, I might have been a thousand miles away from Dublin. […] I felt that sense of wonder and interest which is common to travelers in strange places” (Mason, 65). Like other travelers, he hints at the astonishment of the islanders (Mason, 66) and his own inadaptation to the environment. Strangeness is indeed a two-way experience (Segalen, 36). The islands seemed all the more remote as they were exoticized. What Christopher Bongie calls “exoticizing” exoticism (Bongie, 17) is underpinned by Walter Benjamin’s argument that the modern era saw “the increasing atrophy of experience” (Bongie, 8). Fleeing a modern world unable to appeal to aesthetes, many visitors were enticed by the Aran experience, the much sought-after picturesque scenes and colorful folklore. Most writers and artists experienced a pleasure triggered by the contemplation of difference and diversity, which is precisely what Segalen identifies as the exotic. The closeness of the Aran Islands might even add to their exoticism (Segalen, 80). In many texts, otherness is visualized and aestheticized. Visualism has played a key role in the history of anthropology and ethnography, for “the taxonomic imagination of the West is strongly visualist in nature”, and cultural differences are primarily observed (Clifford, 11-12)16. Illustrations are ubiquitous in ethnographic accounts and paintings documenting and
Men of Aran, Strangers on the Fringe of Europe
constructing the distinctiveness of the Aran Islands abound so that to some extent, the Aran Islands are subsumed in a body of signs. Strings of visual artists have been enticed by picturesque scenes and Mason is no exception: “The dress is picturesque, particularly that of the older men who still cling to a tam-o’-shanter or a black hat” (Mason, 75-76). Travelers look for scenes that can match previous picturesque compositions. Synge and Flaherty recorded kelp-collecting scenes that resemble paintings by Charles Lamb, Lilian Davidson, or Aloysius O’Kelly so that the horsedrawn carriage with its heaps of sea-weed becomes a visual epitome of Aran distinctiveness. As strangeness is equated with a set of visual signs, or codes, the landscape becomes a stage on which the natives are expected to perform in a picturesque way. In the process, otherness is aestheticized. Indeed, ethnographic or pseudo-ethnographic descriptions of the islands are ridden with pictorial terms which transmogrify the place. The Aran landscapes are compared to other foreign places. Their undulating hills bring Rome to Synge’s mind (Synge, 11), the dotted cottages recall Bavaria (Synge, 73) while domestic scenes conjure up images of the East: “The red dresses of the women, who cluster round the fire on their stools give a glow of almost Eastern richness” (Synge, 16). Other scenes offer “as much variety and colour as any picture from the East” (Synge, 33). Ian Dall’s descriptions are also filtered through images of the Orient: “I was interested to see that so many of them had hair with a ruddy colour in it like the dregs of wine, for this is a kind of hair commonly seen in Arab children” (Dall, 100). In The Aran Islands, Synge puts to the fore light or colors and often resorts to metaphors: “the sun is shining with a luminous warmth that makes the whole island glisten with the splendor of a gem, and fills the sea and sky with a radiance of blue light” (Synge, 30). Dall, who admires men “picturesquely dressed” (Dall, 117), surprisingly concludes that “the love of colour to which these folk cling gives strength to a belief that the native Irish were originally from a Mediterranean race. And when I first caught sight of these men, jacketless, and wearing their broad-brimmed hats, I immediately thought of the Spanish muleteers!” (Dall, 123). He notes that “women group themselves by instinct into patterns that please the eye” forming right compositions (Dall, 194). While watching the setting sun, Mason also had some pictures in mind: “the setting sun shoots bright shafts of light and the whole sky from south-west to north-west becomes illuminated with brilliancy and coloured with a glorious profusion of tints to which no artist could do justice” (Mason, 73). As to Rivers, she observed that “over the immense expanse moved the slow cattle and the figures of the islanders with an oriental brilliance of colour” (Rivers, 31)17.
Like Pont-Aven and Brittany, the Aran Islands attracted a growing number of artists who perceived reality through the lens of previous representations or aesthetic codes. The enculturation process at work in the representation of otherness inevitably provokes distortions. The exoticization of the island results from cultural overlaying: each excursionist lands on the coast of the Aran Islands with previous depictions, textual or visual, in mind, which leads to multiple duplications, or distortions of realities. Johannes Fabian himself argues that “awkward as it may seem, othering expresses the insight that the Other is never simply given, never just found, or encountered, but made” (Fabian, 1990, 755).
Othering and enculturation: the authenticity issue In 1997, Dorothy Cross created Storm in a Tea Cup, a loop video showing a tea-cup in which the viewers could see excerpts from Robert J. Flaherty’s Man of Aran (see Fig. 8-3). Many oppositions are encapsulated in this object: the cup stands for civilization, wealth, elegance, art and Englishness while the curragh epitomizes the Other, namely the uncivilized, or savage, but is also redolent of humbleness, poverty, coarseness, nature; that is, in the final analysis, Irishness. The curragh is a culturally overloaded artifact and Flaherty’s work a complex object in which authenticity is encoded and aestheticized18. Cross’ work demonstrates that representation has to do with power, that culture is underlain by tensions between mechanisms of domination and resistance. It materializes the cultural bias that presides over the reception of images. As has been suggested, we perceive reality through thick cultural lenses so that the other is inevitably reduced to another, alternative self. Much has been said about Flaherty’s inauthentic pseudo-documentary, which is in no way what it pretends to be. It “reconstructed a historical world which no longer (or perhaps never) existed” (O’Brien, 47). The members of the mythical family are, in reality, unrelated individuals. Flaherty’s star, not a native, was chosen because his square jaws matched some preconceived representations of the Araners. The characters had to wear proper Aran sweaters to fit the film-makers’ idea of an Aran native. Last but not least, shark-fishing was no longer practiced on the islands when the film was shot. In much the same way as the depictions of otherness tell us more about the observer than about the observed, Man of Aran “is more valuable as a documentary of Flaherty’s vision of life than it is of life itself” (O’Brien, 48). However, the villagers resented the distortions in the film and Flaherty’s attempt at depicting them as savages
Men of Aran, Strangers on the Fringe of Europe
(Messenger, 47). The film-maker was well-aware of the symbolic discourse in his film. Commenting about Nanook, he said: “I am not going to make films about what the white man has made of primitive peoples … What I want to show is the former majesty or character of these people, while it is possible – before the white man has destroyed not only their character, but the people as well” (Barnouw, 95). His project on Aran equally pertains to salvage ethnography though the film is suffused with romanticism. Cross’ postmodern appropriation of Flaherty’s images transforms them into cultural fragments, thereby evidencing an ever-lasting recycling process. Owing to the enculturation process previously mentioned, the perception of otherness is both mediated and increasingly inauthentic. Flaherty was not impervious to the influence of previous ethnographic and artistic depictions. Men riding curraghs have been depicted countless times in literary or scientific texts and images (illustrations, photographs, paintings or postcards). Flaherty’s representation, like any other ethnographic representation, is a re-enactment, a repetition, a performance, even though the visual codes do not make the inauthenticity of the film visible. Flaherty knew of Synge’s writings and Synge, in his turn, was aware of pictorial representations of the islands. The writer also knew Pierre Loti’s Pêcheur d’Islande, a tale about Breton fishermen who sail each year into dangerous northern waters (Knapp, 55) and is said to have considered Loti “the greatest living writer of prose” and to have “wished to do for the peasantry of Western Ireland what M. Loti had done for the Breton fisherfolk” (Bourgeois, 56f. quoted by Knapp, 55). Ian Dall came to Inishmann with a copy of Synge’s book treasured in his pocket (Dall, 95). Synge’s account was gradually perceived as a faithful recording of authentic lores, which it wasn’t. Shawn, whom Dall interviewed and who had accommodated Synge, commented upon The Aran Islands: “It was a good book, and truth in it. Of course he did beputting it on a bit, making things out grander than they were, y’understand. That’s the way they do with a book, but there’s truth in, there is” (Dall, 96). John Messenger, searching the island for a figment of truth, reported that Synge’s book is thought to be superficial and totally neglects certain aspects of Aran culture. My informants felt that the author projects his own tragic world view into his interpretation of island existence. For instance, he continually stresses the dangers of the ocean and the great loss of life among fishermen and how psychologically depressing this state of affairs is to the people (Messenger, 47).
Messenger underscores the very small number of actual accidents at sea while most writers evoke sublimely dangerous scenes at sea.
Regardless of accuracy, Ian Dall was undoubtedly looking for scenes that Synge had described: “I knew, and from Westport on I had been feeling my way toward that world of yesterday where the men and women had preserved a bare beauty of living, unconsciously perhaps, and because of the hard struggle for existence” (Dall, 95). As to Elizabeth Rivers, it is worth noting that she rented the Man of Aran cottages that Flaherty had built for the shootings of the indoor scenes. The overlaying process seems endless indeed. It is therefore hardly surprising to see that on the islands, the strangers’ much-awaited strangeness should be revealed through the same scenes, for instance the gathering of cattle on the strand for Fair Day and their being loaded onto the curragh. Synge, Dall, Rivers, and Mason describe the scene in incredibly similar words and prove to be under the spell of earlier descriptions. Scenes of sublimity, which Segalen associates with the exotic, abound whether it is in Roderick Flaherty’s seminal description, in Synge’s The Aran Islands19, in Man of Aran, where the transcendental dimensions of these allegorical tempest scenes are extraordinarily similar, or in Elizabeth Rivers’ account (Rivers, 50), with the combat between man and nature taking on a philosophical nature20. The experience of the sublime, which could be thought of as the badge of an individual experience of authenticity, is in fact subsumed into an exoticized trope. This scene has been repeatedly illustrated, to the point of becoming the hallmark of Aran strangeness. Robert Flaherty’s film is no exception to this representational tradition. By trapping the tempest scene in a tea-cup, Dorothy Cross explicitly alludes to the reification of the Other, the commodification of the savage. If Saïd’s analysis cannot be applied literally to the Aran Islands, the question of misrepresentation obviously arises. Terence Ranger, Eric Hobsbawm, Edward Saïd, Christopher Miller, and James Clifford have argued that colonialism, and the ensuing taste for the exotic, led to the invention of new traditions within Europe itself (Ranger, 211). Though it seems problematic to consider Aran exoticization only as part of a colonial project, Robert Flaherty’s American cinematographic project, and O’Siochain’s commodification of faked authentic Aran knitware21, exemplify various possible instrumentalizations of ethnographic authenticity, or authentic reproductions. Created in the wake of postcolonial art, Dorothy Cross’ work is also an invitation to consider the distance between the observed and the observer, that between the knower and the known; in other words, the construction of ethnographic knowledge itself.
Men of Aran, Strangers on the Fringe of Europe
Conclusion To gain a full understanding of what can be called a cultural and political phenomenon, it is necessary to replace the exoticization of the Islands within a broader context. Focusing on local realities in Ireland rather than on national unity, and understanding them within a European, even global, perspective may eventually spur us to engage in daring but enlightening research. As Pat Cooke explains, the 1950s’ debates over the integration of the ethnographic collections with the exhibition spaces of the National Museum, betray the curators’ own reluctance to consider possible correspondences between the construction of Irishness and that of the Other (Cooke, 129-130). Cooke concludes that in the late 1920s, by refusing a continuity between Irish folklore and non-European ethnography, the newly freed nation was “reaffirming an essentially colonialist perspective on the material culture of ‘primitive’ peoples with whom it had in some respects shared the experience of being the colonial subject” (Cooke, 132). Several aspects of the subject need be further investigated: the history of the visual documents alluded to in this paper; the organization of the collections and displays of Aran ethnographic objects in the national collections; the recycling of Aran ethnography in literature; the specificity of the American perception of the islands; last but not least the commodification of Aran ethnography by the tourism industry. Yet, the premise that the islands have to be investigated as a specific object has hopefully been validated.
Bibliography Ashley, Scott. “The poetics of race in 1890s Ireland: an ethnography of the Aran Islands.” Patterns of Prejudice 35:2 (2001): 3-18. Barnouw, Erik. Documentary: A History of the Non-Fiction Film. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974. Bendix, Regina. In Search of Authenticity, The Formation of Folklore Studies. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1997. Bongie, Christopher. Exotic Memories, literature, colonialism, and the finde-siècle. Standford: Standford University Press, California, 1991. Bourke, Marie. “Yeats, Henry, and the Western Idyll.” History Ireland vol. 11 No. 2 Summer 2003. Available at http://www.historyireland.com. Web May 2011. Bourgeois, Maurice. John Millington Synge and the Irish Theatre. London: Constable & Co, 1913. Burke, Anne. “Intersections on the Aran Islands: Integrating photographic
practice and historical enquiry.” Journal of Media Practice vol. 9 n°2 July (2008): 127-136. Carvill, Justin. ‘“My Wallet of Photographs”: Photography, Ethnography and Visual Culture in J.M. Synge’s Aran Islands.” Irish Journal of Anthropology vol. 10 no. 1 (2007): 5-11. Casement, Roger. “Hy-Brassil: Irish origins of Brazil.” Irish Migration Studies in Latin America vol. 4 no. 3 (July 2006) (Edited by Angus Mitchell). Clifford, James. “On Ethnographic Allegory.” In James Clifford and George E. Marcus (ed.). Writing Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986. 98-121. Cooke, Pat, “Imperious post-colonialism: Dealing with the National Museum of Ireland’s non-European collections in a Free State (1927).” In Séamas Ó Síocháin, Pauline Garvey, Adam Drazin, eds. Exhibit Ireland: Ethnographic Museums in Ireland (under print). Dall, Ian. Here Are Stones, An Account of a Journey to the Aran Islands. London: Desmond Harmsworth, 1931. Dalsimer, Adele M. ‘“The Irish Peasant Had All His Heart”: J. M. Synge in The Country Shop.” In Dalsimer, Adele M. (ed.). Visualizing Ireland, National Identity and the Pictorial Tradition. Winchester: Faber and Faber, 1993. 201-230. Edwards, Elizabeth. “Straightforward and Ordered: Amateur Photographic Surveys and Scientific Aspiration, 1885-1914.” Photography and Culture vol. 1 issue 2 (November 2008): 185-210. Fabian, Johannes. Time and the Other, How Anthropology Makes Its Object. Columbia University Press, 2002. —. Presence and Representation.” Critical Inquiry, Summer 1990. Foucault, Michel. “Des espaces autres.” (A conference given at the Cercle d'études architecturales, 14 mars 1967), Architecture, Mouvement, Continuité n°5 (Octobre 1984): 46-49. Gibbons, Luke. “Romanticism, Realism, and Irish Cinema.” In Kevin Rockett (ed.) Cinema and Ireland. London: Routledge, 1988. Haddon, Alfred Cort. The Ethnography of the Aran Islands, County Galway, A Paper Read before the Royal Irish Academy, December, 12, 1892, reprinted from the proceeding, 3rd Ser. vol. II, N° 5. Dublin: University Press, Ponsonby and Weldrick, 1893. Harmon, Maurice. “Cobwebs before the Wind: Aspects of Peasantry in Irish Literature from 1800 to 1916”, in Daniel J. Casey and Robert E. Rhodes (ed.). Views of the Irish Peasantry 1800-1916, Hamden, Conn.: Archon, 1977. 129-159. Knapp, James F. “Primitivism and Empire: John Synge and Paul
Men of Aran, Strangers on the Fringe of Europe
Gauguin.” Comparative Literature 18:2 (1983): 53-68. Leach, Edmund. “Impressionistic ethnographer.” New Scientist 10 January (1974): 86. Mason, Thomas H. The Islands of Ireland, Their Scenery, People, Life and Antiquities. Cork: The Mercier Press, 1967 (first editied in 1936). McElheran, John. “Ethnological Sketches No 1. The Fishermen of Claddagh at Galway.” The Ulster Journal of Archaeology, ii (1854): 160. Messenger, John. “Literary vs. Scientific Interpretations of Cultural Reality in the Aran Islands of Eire.” Ethnohistory vol. 11, no. 1 (Winter 1964): 41-55. O’Brien, Harvey. The Real Ireland: The Evolution of Ireland in Documentary Film. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004. O’Dowd, Anne. “Bygones and Relics and Museum Acquisitions, Some thoughts on the Irish Folklife Collection, National Museum of Ireland.” In Séamas Ó Síocháin, Pauline Garvey, Adam Drazin (ed). Exhibit Ireland: Ethnographic Museums in Ireland (under print). O’Flaherty, John T. “A Sketch of the History and Antiquities of the Southern Isalnds of Arn, lying off the West Coast of Ireland; with Observations on the Religion of the Celtic Nations, Pagan Monuments of the early Irish, Druidic Rites, &C.” January 26 1824, Trans. Royal Acadamy Antiq., xiv (1825): 79. O'Flaherty, Roderic. A Chorological Description of West or H-Iar Connacht. Dublin: James Hardiman, 1846 (1st ed. 1684). Partridge, A. C. Language and Society in Anglo-Irish Literature. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1984. Rivers, Elizabeth. Stranger in Aran, Dublin: The Cuala Press, 1946. Ruby, Jay. Picturing Culture: Explorations of Film and Anthropology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000. Said, Edward. Orientalism: Western Representations of the Orient. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978. Segalen, Victor. Essai sur l’Exotisme. Paris: Livre de Poche, Biblio Essai, 1986 (first edited by Fata Morgana, 1978). Stokes, W. Life and Labors in Art and Archaeology of George Petrie. London: Longmans Green & Co, 1868. Synge, John M. The Aran Islands, Sioux Falls, SD USA: Nu Vision Publications, LLC, 2008 (first published in 1906). —. My Wallet of Photographs, Trinity College Library, Dublin. Tyler, Stephen A. “Post-Modern Ethnography: From Document of the Occult to Occult Document.” In James Clifford and George E. Marcus.
Writing Culture, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986. 122140. Veerendra, Lele. “Reading diaological correspondence: Synge’s The Aran Islands.” New Hibernia Review vol. 11 n°4 (Winter 2007): 124-129. White, Robin Anita. 19th Century and 20th Century French Exoticism: Pierre Loti, Louis Ferdinand Céline, Michel Leiris, and Simone Schwarz-Bart, A Dissertation Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, http://etd.lsu.edu/docs (Web June 2011). Williams, Raymond. The Country and the City, Oxford University Press, 1975.
Men of Aran, Strangers on the Fringe of Europe
Fig. 8-1: Haddon, Alfred Cort. The Ethnography of the Aran Islands, County Galway, A Paper Read before the Royal Irish Academy, December, 12, 1892, reprinted from the proceeding, 3rd Ser. vol. II, N° 5. Dublin: University Press, Ponsonby and Weldrick, 1893, Plates 6 and 9, black and white photograph.
Fig. 8-2: Seàn Keating, The Kelp Burners, Limerick City Art Gallery.
Men of Aran, Strangers on the Fringe of Europe
Fig. 8-3: Dorothy Cross, Tea Cup 1997, video still, video (3 min loop, 1hr duration), edition of 3, Image courtesy the artist and Kerlin Gallery, Dublin.
PART IV: ARTICULATING DIFFERENCE, NEGOTIATING IDENTITY
CHAPTER NINE AN ARMY OF INVISIBLE MEN? PAKISTANI WORKERS IN BRITAIN (1945-1968) OLIVIER ESTEVES AND PHILIPPE VERVAECKE UNIVERSITÉ LILLE III
Jihad, fatwa, imam, madrasa, sharia law: these words erupted into public debate from the Satanic Verses scandal (1989) to the more recent furore over Archbishop Rowan Williams’ statement on the accommodation in English law of elements from sharia law (February 2008). In this chapter, we want to focus on Pakistanis in Britain, and look at a period prior to the emergence of political Islamism, which replaced the Soviet Union as the enemy of the West after the end of the Cold War. For the period under consideration, these migrants were often referred to as “Blacks”, itself an attributed rather than chosen ethnicity, by which we mean that Pakistanis were called that but didn’t call themselves that, not least because whiteness is hugely important throughout the Indian subcontinent, where the word for “caste” (varna) also means “colour”. More often, they were called “Asians”: interestingly, a generalisation is at work in both names, “Blacks” / “Asians”, which dovetails with mainstream discourse on immigrants or ethnic minorities elsewhere in Europe. In France, Algerians, Moroccan and Tunisian people and their offspring are commonly lumped together as so many “Maghrebins”, “Arabes” or else “Nordafs” (for “North-Africans”, as they’d been negatively called during the Algerian War, 1954-1962). In Britain, although being labelled “Asians” or more bizarrely “Blacks”, Pakistanis would generally think of themselves as Pakistanis, decades before Islam was to dominate public discourse on ethnic minorities. This last point is key, since to investigate a time when Muslims were virtually invisible as Muslims and kept a low-profile is a way to dent Huntington’s manicheism and to suggest that the deterministic nature of Huntingtonian assumptions glosses over class identities bound up with regional origins, gender identities and, more importantly, economic issues.
An Army of Invisible Men?
It also indirectly qualifies how exceptional the “Muslim threat” is in British (or European) history. This becomes patent if one takes a long historical view. From the first Aliens Act (1793) passed at the height of the French Terreur to Salisbury’s bemoaning that Britain was a “factory of anarchism” for seditious foreigners in the 1880s1; from the Stepney Incident (1911)2 to the current fear of Jihadism. A similar point has been made in the case of media coverage of the Muslim menace in France by historian Gérard Noiriel3. The title of this chapter is deliberately problematic, hence the question mark. To illustrate this, it is worth quoting Jeremy Seabrooke’s remarkable fieldwork on Blackburn, carried out in the wake of Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech (22nd April 1968): “It is not to be expected that about five thousand, mainly Asian, immigrants should be absorbed without difficulty into a town like Blackburn with a population of just over 100,000”4. Albeit nationally invisible, these people’s presence could be strongly felt at local level, in Blackburn indeed, but also Birmingham, Bradford, Dewsbury, Oldham, Rochdale, etc. Bearing in mind this visibility / invisibility dialectic in (white) British public opinion and in popular representation, we’d like to develop six points: I/ The Muslim and Asian low-profile; II/ Housing; III/ Muslims at work; IV/ Forms of socialisation; V/ Paki-bashing and the “White Backlash”; VI/ The Times and Pakistanis: from low- to high-profile. This last section takes a look at the type of stories published on members of that community, which up until the late 1960s, especially if compared to other migrant communities, features quite rarely in the columns of the paper.
Muslim and Asian low-profile Algerian sociologist Abdelmalek Sayad, who worked closely with Pierre Bourdieu, insists on the necessity of focusing on the region of origin of immigrants, and goes so far as to argue that there is a form of “unconscious ethnocentrism” in studying immigration only from the perspective of the host country5. Obviously, this raises some serious methodological issues for the social scientist, as ideally the sociologist, historian, or socio-historian is, if one is to follow Sayad’s injunction, meant to specialise in both Pakistan and Britain, or Algeria and France, Turkey and Germany. In our case, looking at these migrants’ regional backgrounds is helpful in order to make sense of the low-profile they kept for so many years, until their sons and daughters overtly called into question this somewhat docile attitude. There are two historical and geographical reasons for that. First,
Pakistanis are Muslims who originate from what was, before partition of course, a predominantly Hindu country, although the regions of origin of numerous immigrants (Mirpur in Kashmir, for instance) are predominantly Muslim. One immigrant from Mirpur, who was a bus driver in West Yorkshire and arrived in 1962, reckons that “somehow these people of the Indian sub-continent have their own way of absorbing all the blows, which they have done for centuries”6. Secondly, this statement is bound up with the history of the British Empire. Pakistanis are “colonials”, so, as another immigrant, in the Midlands, argues: “Similarly our people have some misunderstandings about the English people, because of the language barrier and because of the fact that they ruled us for two hundred years, so they still suspect that these people do not have sympathies for us at their heart, even if they are trying to improve race relations, that is only a camouflage, you see. There’s no real substance behind it”. We see here how the low-profile was coterminous with a historical suspicion of the British, and a Pakistani willingness to keep among themselves and avoid mixing in with the white British. In the same way, Pakistanis and Indians were notorious income tax-shirkers, a fact which has also been interpreted as a legacy of colonial rule7, and is consistent with other immigrants to Britain who felt they too had been suffering from colonial rule. Indeed, some Irish in London, Glasgow or Liverpool avoided paying taxes because they were reluctant to send their money to “Dublin castle”, that hated symbol of British hegemony in Ireland8. The low-profile that Pakistanis kept in the first few decades after their settlement in the UK was also explained by the “myth of return”, which was perpetuated until the 1970s. Huge anecdotal evidence suggests that the immigrants were in Valayat (England) for a few years, that they were expected to make as much money as possible, to send remittances back to Pakistan (sometimes 50% of their earnings)9, to build what were known as “England houses” in Punjab or Kashmir, and to come back. Many never did. This myth of return explains how immigrants little questioned discrimination, for instance on the job market. Throughout the 1960s, not one letter to the editor sent to Mashriq or Asia Weekly, the two main Pakistani publications in Britain, complained of discrimination in general10. The broad consensus was that as long as they could keep their distinct culture, Pakistanis could cope with being an underpaid population of undesirable second-class citizens, before eventually going back to Pakistan. John Rex and Robert Moore, in an analysis of Sparkbrook (Birmingham), refer to Pakistanis as a community of pariahs evocative of middle-age Jews, in that these people kept socially and morally aloof from the host population, dealt with the majority population in their capacity as
An Army of Invisible Men?
cheap service providers (retail, housing) and came under fire from the host population if the services provided were deemed unsatisfactory or too expensive11.
Housing A number of Pakistani immigrants would live in the same house, privately-let, or bought with money loaned without interest from within the family (biraderi, clan), this owing to the forbidden character of usury in Islam. Many would live 5 or 6 in the same room, with the same bed slept in during the day by a worker doing night shifts, and during the night by some relative working day-shifts (a pattern reproduced in France among Algerian workers, and probably among immigrant communities the world over). There was a low-profile in housing in the sense that Pakistanis almost never dealt with local authorities to get council housing. W. W. Daniels even argues that around 70% of Indian and Pakistani immigrants in the 1960s never had to deal with a white landlord in the 1960s12, hence the fact that they never complained of discrimination on the housing market, as opposed to some West Indians for instance. The contrast was patent in areas hosting a large number of each ethnic group, such as Sparkbrook (Birmingham). Now, quite apart from the analysis of the “housing classes” by sociologist John Rex13, Pakistanis often deftly manoeuvred the housing market. Pnina Werbner, who investigated Pakistanis in Manchester, said in 1979: “Asians, whatever their background, may be regarded as strategic house owners, highly conscious of the way the housing market operates”14. So much so that locally elected labour and conservative members would sometimes expose Pakistani landlords as “Black Rachmans”15, the reference here being to Perec Rachman, the most notoriously moneygrabbing landlord in 20th century Britain. A certain number of Pakistanis owned property in run-down areas, known as “twilight zones” in the 1960s; relegation areas with once-beautiful, but by then derelict, Victorian buildings. Occasionally, some Pakistani landlords came under fire for allowing too many people to live in their property and were sued under the 1961 Housing Act which gave local authorities greater power to deal with overcrowding16. The white people who didn’t manage or who didn’t want to leave those areas were sometimes tenants of those Pakistani landlords. The conservative party at local level (Birmingham, Blackburn, Wolverhampton, Oldham) tried to capitalise on this feeling that “Blacks” or “colonials” were better off than the British. Indeed, Harold Macmillan’s sanguine statement that “most of us never had it so good” (speech at
Bedford, 20th of July 1957) does imply that a minority of people didn’t really reap the fruits of post-war prosperity, thereby generating frustration, resentment and bitterness, which all too often was to be expressed in racial / racialist terms. We’ll come back to that in part 5 of this chapter. The rather large number of Asian home-owners doesn’t mean that Pakistani immigration to Britain was a rags-to-riches story, though. Many would actually own houses or flats in run-down areas, houses whose price would decrease as the often-called “white flight” to suburbia increased. These areas were to erupt into urban violence in the early 1980s: Moss Side (Manchester), Handsworth (Birmingham) or later, in Manningham (Bradford) on two occasions, in 1996 and more tragically on July 7th 2001.
Muslims at work Asian and Caribbean workers were key in keeping alive a declining industry, especially textiles in Lancashire and West Yorkshire. In that sense, they made up a reserve army of labour or a relative surplus population (in Marxian terms) who was massively mobilised; that is, overworked for a limited number of years, before experiencing mass unemployment owing to de-industrialisation. The 1950s coincided with a large-scale modernisation in textiles, which necessitated the recruitment of workers doing night shifts. Pakistanis then were absolutely pivotal, but they generally had the worst jobs in inexorably declining industries. Another woeful irony is that some of these jobs, by the 1980s, would be off-shored to the very places these immigrants had left in the first place in order to work in England (Pakistan, Bangladesh, India). In an extensive study of textile firms based in Lancashire and Yorkshire, one excerpt reads: The employment of immigrants has facilitated new capital investment in the sample of firms under study. This is because new machinery is too expensive to be worked only forty or 48 hours a week and must be employed as intensively as possible, thus necessitating shiftwork. This is a trend not confined to the wool industry … It is well recognized that there is a general disinclination to work nights or changing shifts, and higher rates of pay are the general rule. The Pakistani workers are usually more willing to take this work than local labour17.
Much in the same way, one Rochdale employer interviewed in 1972 argued: “Let us be honest: if the Pakistanis stop working night shift and other alternative shifts or even overtime, we will have to close the firm because it is so difficult to compete in textiles these days”18. In order to
An Army of Invisible Men?
justify the employment of Pakistanis, employers frequently mobilised certain stereotypes, either cultural or geographical ones (i.e. “Pakistanis or West Indians are good in foundries, they’re used to the heat because of where they come from”), or physical and phenotypical ones (“Asians are good in textiles; their nimble hands are suited to the job”)19. Asians themselves, especially those from lower castes, valued physical work wherein they drew a great deal of pride20, not unlike the traditional masculine pride of the British workers themselves. Despite this last element, whites numbered fewer and fewer in the textile or other heavy industries, which were seen as a stigma of social relegation in post-1945 prosperity. Many of the Pakistani workers would be hired together in one department of the same firm. Frequently, there would be a snowball effect in that one Pakistani worker would pull strings for his brother, cousin or uncle, so that whole departments of the same firm would swiftly become Pakistani-dominated. One Dewsbury textile worker from Mirpur said: “Whichever department an Asian worker went you’d find that English workers slowly moved out of there”21. This was bound to have all-tooobvious linguistic consequences: many migrants spoke very little English and this Pakistani domination of whole departments in factories perpetuated the general trend. Those who did speak some English could more easily be hired as bus drivers for example, a more visible job to mainstream white British citizens. Others in night shifts were sometimes given English classes locally. VLCs (Voluntary Liaison Committees) were made up of British people willing to help the Pakistanis integrate, and gave free English tuition sometimes, or translated administrative papers22. Certain churches or charities were also involved. Some employers looked down upon the potentiality of Pakistani Anglophone workers, such as this West Yorkshire textile manufacturer interviewed in the early 1970s: “Language Link [free English tuitions] may produce some benefit but may also produce problems – a little bit of knowledge can be more dangerous than none at all”23. Other employers, however, would want to hire Englishspeaking workers, especially if some skill was demanded. Another effect of Pakistani (self-)segregation in the work place was, according to a 1967 report by the Commission on Industrial Relations, “to create groups which are held together by a powerful set of mutual obligations”24. Therein lay a potential challenge for employers. If keeping Pakistanis together in factories was a way to preserve racial and labour peace in the workplace, similar difficulties shared by Pakistanis who worked in the same factory departments could well erupt into labour unrest. In this respect though, the myth of return powerfully acted as the
employers’ best ally: “What’s the point in joining a union, we thought; we’ll stay here ten years or twelve years and go back to Pakistan, let’s earn as much money as possible”25. Indeed, Pakistani workers were regarded as persons who were totally alien to the traditions, values and norms of British trade unionism. At the grassroots level, many trade unionists spent a great deal of time trying to explain to those migrants the necessity of paying their taxes. More generally, as far as appreciation of those Pakistani workers is concerned, there was a real gap between the grassroots and the national level. Whereas the TUC was largely multicultural in outlook and tried to expose racialism, local union sections mostly defended white workers, and occasionally participated in the backlash against Asians or West Indians. The first strikes involving Asians, in Nottingham (1972, Crepe Sizes) or Leicester (1974, Imperial Typewriter) saw local unions siding with employers, against striking migrants26. The main reason for this broad evolution from docility to assertiveness was undoubtedly the arrival of African Asians in the late 1960s and early 1970s, those who had been expelled because they were stigmatised as “leeches” by Idi Amin in Uganda, Jomo Kenyatta in Kenya, Julie Nyerere in Tanzania, and Hastings Kamuzu Banda in Malawi. For these Anglophone Asians who had made up a prosperous middle-class in East Africa, the “myth of return” was simply irrelevant, and many were not low-profile Asians. It is no coincidence that these workers would organise the first significant Asian strike at Imperial Typewriters in Leicester in 1974. One of these African Asians, a Hindu from Uganda living in Bradford, remembers how unfazed the white Britons were when facing an “educated Paki” like himself: When I came to Bradford, they [the whites] did envy me because I was too smart … That is a historical fact … The reasons that Asians came from India and other places is because they were working-class people, and many of them didn’t have any English. But when we came from East Africa, where education was in English, we were always after a better job, and the average person in the street had the impression that a Black person is only meant like an Irish to work on the road, you know, many say ‘he’s no brain’27.
Unsurprisingly, some earlier migrants from Kashmir would reluctantly witness the arrival of those East-African Indians, who were dismissed as arrogant, know-it-all people who “caused all the problems”. All the more so as their arrival coincided with the vicious backlash against the Race Relations Act (1968) and the start of Enoch Powell’s campaign against
An Army of Invisible Men?
New Commonwealth immigrants. For some of the low-profile Pakistanis, the East-African Asians were easily blamed for this jeopardising of what was then known as “racial harmony”. All these reasons taken together indicate that the year 1968 is a watershed in the evolution of Asians in Britain.
Forms of socialisation The invisibility of Pakistanis in the traditional forms of socialisation among the British working classes is striking. There are primarily linguistic reasons for that, but also cultural and religious ones. Most Muslims in those early years shared a religiosity which was largely negative, mostly refraining from doing things which are considered as haram (forbidden), like drinking alcohol or eating pork. This could frustrate communication with English workers, even in the workplace: “Because we were Muslims, we found some of the food the English were eating offensive; we should not eat, but even stay away from the sight and the smell of pork. So we stayed away from the smell of pork, and we stuck together among our own kind, on one side of the cafeteria”28. The culture clash was indeed huge for those Mirpuris who had stayed all their lives in the most remote areas of Pakistani Kashmir. Another cultural misunderstanding was that those on night shift would then, during the day, aimlessly walk in parks, alone, sometimes gaping away at those loosely dressed British white females who were obvious symbols of 1960s British “permissive society”, thereby generating the feeling they were perverts or drifters not doing anything. In turn, this cultural misunderstanding fuelled a stereotype which was at loggerheads with the economic rationale, according to which they worked so hard for so little pay: that they stole white British jobs, an obvious contradiction which also informs other racial stereotypes in the history of immigration in Britain. The Irish, for instance, were often dismissed as feckless, unreliable wretches just as much as they were feared because they worked the British away. None other than Keir Hardie himself had referred to the typical Irish immigrant as having “a big shovel, a strong back and a weak brain” and as producing “coal enough for a man and a half”29. A vast 1960s research into cross-ethnic forms of socialisation in 26 heavy-industry factories in the Midlands suggests that in virtually all cases, white British workers much preferred West Indians to Pakistanis or Indians. The sole problem for West Indians was that they happened to be Black. As for the rest, these people were Christians, considered themselves British, drank alcohol, had eating habits not unlike those of the British,
and liked and played football, etc. For Pakistanis, on the other hand, working-class institutions like the pub or football stadiums were construed as dangerous and racist places (South-Asian youths in the Oldham, Burnley and Bradford riots in 2001 deliberately targeted certain pubs). This general picture holds true, although a certain number of Pakistanis dropped their faith altogether and did drink alcohol in the early years, or went to the pub without drinking alcohol in order to get warm30, or even ended up as publicans, as one case reported in The Times in 1963 suggests.31 Lastly, many Pakistanis or Indians had names the British found very hard to pronounce, whereas West Indians often had names which were more British than the British themselves. The arrival of wives and children in the 1960s would duplicate some of these forms of segregation. Indeed, much like Pakistani husbands were excluded or excluded themselves from pubs and football, Pakistani wives (Asian women in general, but more particularly the West- and East-Pakistanis among them) excluded themselves or were excluded from bingo halls, so popular among white working-class females32. To conclude on this point, here are a few graphic excerpts from interviews with white British workers: 1/ “It’s not a matter of colour – it’s their [Asian] way of life”. 2/ “[Asians]’re different. They have different habits, a different religion, a different hygiene”. 3/ “I would rather have the Jamaican. He has the same way of life. He eats the same way as you do. He speaks the same language”. 4/ “[Asians]’re too sly and oily for me. You can see it when they look at you, in their eyes. It isn’t the Jamaicans I’m against”. 5/ “The Jamaicans seem to be the easiest going”33.
White backlash and Paki-bashing We have said before that numerous white workers were reluctant to be hired in certain industries – especially textiles – that were seen with the stigma of economic relegation after 1945 (especially the wool industry, which Bradford specialised in). Huge anecdotal evidence indeed suggests that hired white workers would work in those firms for two or three days and then not come back, or would arrive late very often, etc. Contrary to this, employers tended to be very happy with Pakistani workers (“we found that the management was very good towards us”34); it is easy to understand why. It is also tempting to argue that the domino effect referred to here may have been a working-environment reduplication of the “white flight” mentioned above about the housing market: in both, you have a
An Army of Invisible Men?
capitalistic rationale (the working and housing market, regulated by offer and demand) explained away in strictly racial terms (“they’re stealing our jobs”, “they’re invading our streets”, “they want to stick together”, “they’re culturally so different”), but also an illustration of urban and economic decline, a “creative destruction” (after Schumpeter’s phrase) that creates very little and which is apprehended in racial and cultural terms just as strictly. At the grassroots level, the white working-class perception of Pakistani migrants sometimes equated the workers with, on the one hand, wholesale mechanisation being competitive in the world market, and the subsequent decline in the number of jobs, on the other hand, with the arrival of the migrants themselves. This was generally nothing but a hunch, a gut-feeling among the white working classes, but a feeling which was indeed substantiated by the industrial report on the necessity of “new machinery” quoted in part 1. More generally, the white backlash phenomenon, particularly strong among older generations, could feed on several historical facts, some of which were grossly exaggerated. One thinks first of Mahatma Gandhi’s call upon fellow-Indians not to participate in the war effort, although Indian soldiers were more numerous during World War II than even during the Great War. There was also the nostalgia around the Empire, whose demise was hard to swallow for a certain number of Britons: in that regard, Pakistanis and other migrant groups were so many physical reminders that Britain was now a second-rate power, because its Empire was gone. It is well-known that this loss coincided historically with the introduction of the Welfare State. Here, too, some older generations lamented bitterly the generosity of the Welfare State, mostly because they had experienced the very dire times of the 1930s unhelped and had had to tough it out alone. The Welfare State was seen as extending a helping hand to too many undeserving people, among whom were coloured immigrants. The fact that many of these older folks were working class constituted yet another example of Bourdieu’s notion of symbolical violence, since they too could benefit from the Welfare State. Admittedly, such muffled resentment, especially among the older generations, would occasionally erupt into violence, especially among disgruntled young males. Little surprise, then, that the phrase “Pakibashing” was introduced in Lancashire around 196535. Aside from what has been suggested before, we would like to mention three reasons for such flare-ups of anti-Pakistani hatred: 1/ Asian docility: until the late 1970s at least, it was felt that if assaulted, Asians wouldn’t react, therefore they were easy targets36:
a Home Office study of racial violence published in 1981 stated that West Indians were 36 times more prone to be the victims of racial violence than whites, whereas Asians were 50 times more prone to racial violence than whites37; 2/ In youth and popular culture, Asians were uncool, unfashionable. To quote a Hounslow headmaster in the mid 1970s, “It is a matter of style. In the eyes of children, West Indians have it and Asians don’t […] The West Indians are at the top and the Asians are at the bottom”38. This was decades before the celebration of “Asian cool”, a time when a certain number of Londoners avoided Southall if they could because the smell of curry was disgusting to them; 3/ The need to vent masculine aggressiveness (as illustrated by the Teddy Boys’ phenomenon), at a time when working-class male chauvinism was waning because of the decrease in the number of jobs, but also at a time when conscription, through which one could channel this aggressiveness, was put to an end (1960). Further insights into the intertwining of the white backlash and Pakibashing are discovered when one looks at the grassroots level. Jeremy Seabrook’s study of Blackburn in the late 60s is worth quoting at some length here: There is a kind of folk-ogre, nearly always referred to in the singular, but who is a personality, a compound of all the least acceptable characteristics of the immigrants in the town, and whose name sounds like “Packie Stan”. He kills goats and chickens in the back yard, his children pee on the flagstones, he has a large family, and he depresses the price of property wherever he goes. He contrives to filch people’s jobs and yet batten on Social Security at the same time. The police are on his side and he has been granted immunity from the laws of the land by the Race Relations Act39.
Various comments can be made at this stage: 1/ The name “Packie Stan” seems to be a way of trying to tame an outlandish, monstrous reality by anglicising it, unless it is a way of pointing to some unnatural, bastardized phagocyte, as in “Pakiford” or “Bradistan” (to refer to Bradford), or more recently “Londonistan” (allegedly invented by some French journalist in the mid-1990s); 2/ The immigrant as sponging off “social security”: this is more mythical than anything else. The first generation immigrants largely avoided the social security services, although their presence
An Army of Invisible Men?
may have been costly in certain respects (translation of official documents, etc.). For many of them, to admit to being unemployed or to admit to being helped by the State was not possible, especially to their families who had remained in Pakistan. It often happened that unemployment was not talked about to relatives in the subcontinent. Remittances were still sent, despite the experience of massive joblessness by the 1980s. Such dissimulation to the families “back home” made some second-generations irate40. 3/ “Race Relations Act”: some argue that such legislation (especially the 1968 Race Relations Act) was more counter-productive than anything else. It did not prevent discrimination and it caused a robust white backlash, which is mostly what Jeremy Seabrook’s book is about. What follows in his study of Blackburn is equally eloquent: The most frequently repeated story last summer  was one which certainly didn’t originate in Blackburn. I have heard it in Birmingham and in Manchester. It concerns a woman, living in a terraced house, who is awakened one night by a scuttering above the bedroom in the space between roof and rafters. Imagining there are rats in the roof, she urges her husband to go up and investigate. He squeezes through the trap door which acts as an entry into the loft, and stumbles across a Pakistani sleeping on a mattress. But this is not all. There is a series of mattresses the whole length of the street, each one containing a sleeping Pakistani. They were said to have gained access through a single Pakistani household at the end of the street, and to have been wandering freely in the space between roof and rafters […] Each time I was told this story, it was said to have originated in a different (and named) street in the town. Nobody could identify the protagonists.41
The Times and Pakistanis: from low- to high-profile One source confirming the overall invisibility of Pakistanis in the 1950s and 1960s and their higher profile in terms of newsworthiness from the 1970s onwards is The Times. A search through The Times Digital Archive (TDA) shows that just over a hundred articles (101 precisely) dealing with Pakistanis in Britain were published in the paper between 1947 and 1982.42 Until the mid-1960s, very little appears on the community. Attention is focused in the 1950s and until the mid-1960s on what a newsreel from British Pathé called “Our Jamaican Problem” in 1955.43 January 1965 appears to be a turning point in terms of rising interest in “coloured migrants” other than West Indians, as The Times then
released in eleven instalments a notorious series of articles on race relations and “coloured migration” entitled “The Dark Million”.44 From the sample we studied, what is striking is that two types of articles stand out from the rest. Out of these 101, no fewer than 36 are dedicated to the issue of entry into British territory and 26 report crimes and offences perpetrated by Pakistanis with stories ranging from murder, embezzlement and arson. The earliest judicial wrangle involving a Pakistani is a 1954 story about one John Ullah who claimed that, owing to his nationality, he could not be considered liable for military service, with the court finally rejecting his claim.45 After the 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act, owing to the obstacles put in the way of all “coloured” migrants, one finds more and more stories on Pakistanis either challenging deportation, or reported as having illegally entered British territory by boat46. Among the articles reporting criminal conduct on the part of Pakistanis, what looms large is honour killing. In one lurid story from 1969, entitled “Pakistani cut off father’s nose, QC says”, Mohammed Anwar is made to explain his gesture in the following terms: “In my country the custom is to cut off the nose and hand of one who brings disgrace on his family, but I did not want to kill him. He disgraced his family by going with other women. I wanted him to send money to my mother in Pakistan and treat my mother right”47. What has to be stressed also is how rarely one finds instances of violence committed against Pakistanis. In the sample, only four articles cover such incidents, notably the infamous incidents in 1961 in Smethwick, when council house tenants threatened to conduct a rent strike if one maisonette was allocated to a Pakistani, and a few years later, threats by a Midland branch of the Klan to burn out a house owned by a Pakistani48. More widely, instances of discrimination against Pakistanis are seldom discussed. The few exceptions to this rule are to be found when The Times alludes to the unfair treatment Pakistani doctors received in the UK in terms of wages, or to a case in which the BBC sacked a Pakistani broadcaster because, according to the employee himself, of his ties with the Pakistani Workers’ Union49. Finally, the scarcest type of material in the sample is positive news about Pakistanis living in the UK, especially elements underlining the successful integration of Pakistanis. Notable exceptions are when Bradford appointed a Pakistani as a liaison officer for its health department in 1962 or when Oxford nominated a Pakistani as its race relations officer in 1972. The very fact that Pakistanis reaching such junior positions was judged newsworthy speaks volume about how invisible they otherwise were in white-collar employment50.
An Army of Invisible Men?
To conclude, we would like to make the following comments: 1/ Such myths as those related to mass Pakistani immigration by stealth, as mentioned earlier, go way beyond the “mere” dismissing gossips analysed by Norbert Elias and John Scotson in The Established and the Outsiders51, although their basic function is also to promote class and ethnic cohesiveness, here, at a time when the Lancashire white working class culture is slowly but inexorably being dismantled. 2/ The whole description is informed by a dialectic of ubiquity / invisibility, wherein Pakistanis are both everywhere (in all houses) and nowhere (hidden in the attics), present but absent, testifying to a cultural representation of Pakistani Otherness as the embodiment of sheer sneakiness. To quote again one viewpoint expressed by a white worker above, they are above all “sly and oily”, and now they are taking power, although they are depicted here as “sleeping”. Obviously, this sneakiness is made all the more frightening as some Britons are prone to give credence to Enoch Powell’s bogus demographic evidence on the “huge number” of immigrants52. It is also in keeping with British fears of an American-style racial segregation at a time of tragic riots in Detroit, Newark and Cleveland, a fear which Powell also deftly managed to whet in 196853. 3/ In his 1943 essay entitled “Antisemitism in Britain”, George Orwell noticed the same type of myth being propagated among Londoners. One day, after an umpteenth Nazi bombing of the London tube, a panic struck and a huge crowd fled into the mouth of the underground, with about a hundred people being crushed to death; “the very same day it was repeated all over London that ‘The Jews were responsible’”. Orwell was bewildered by this; at the same time he insisted that instead of shrugging this off as rubbish, such myths ought to be taken seriously: “the only useful approach is to discover why they can swallow absurdities on one particular subject while remaining sane on others”54. To be sure, as in the myth of “Pakistanis in the attics” held by so many sensible people, a real challenge lies for the social scientist, beyond the general dictum by pragmatist Richard Rorty that people’s opinions are ruled by emotions and beliefs, not by truths which may be scientifically proven55. 4/ More importantly, the references to these people as “Muslims” or to “Islam” are absent from the whole book; it’s all about “killing goats and chickens in the backyard”, or having a different culture, or sometimes religion. Words like “imam”, “jihad” are still unknown. The international context (starting with the Iranian revolution of 1979 and culminating with 9/11) would generate other myths (such as “they’ve banned Christmas”56)
and a barrage of amalgams, simplifications and generalisations. But that is another story.
Bibliography Ansari, Humayun. The Infidel Within, Muslims in Britain since 1800. London: Hurst & Co, 2004. Banton, Michael. White and Coloured, The Behaviosur of British People Towards Coloured Immigrants. London: Jonathan Cape, 1959. Daniels, W. W. Racial Discrimination in England. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968. Esteves, Olivier. De l’invisibilité à l’islamophobie, musulmans britanniques (1945-2010). Paris: Presses de Sciences-Po, 2011 (preface by Gérard Noiriel). Mungham, Geoff, Pearson, Geoff. Working-class Youth Culture. London: Routledge / Kegan Paul, 1976. Rex, John, Moore, Robert. Race, Community and Conflict, a study of Sparkbrook. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969. Rose, E. J. B., ed. Colour and Citizenship, A Report on British Race Relations. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969. Sayad, Abdelmalek. La Double absence, des illusions de l’émigré aux souffrances de l’immigré. Paris: Seuil, 1999. Seabrook, Jeremy. City Close-Up. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971. Wilson, Amrit. Finding a Voice, Asian Women in Britain. London: Virago, 1978. Wright, Peter L. The Coloured Worker in British Industry. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968. Bradford Central Library, oral archives. The Times Digital Archive.
CHAPTER TEN SCHADENFREUDE AND ANGLO-FRENCH RELATIONS IN THE 20TH CENTURY: KNOCKING PAUVRE FRANCE, BUILDING UP GREAT BRITAIN: A FRENCH FOIL FOR BRITISH IDENTITY RICHARD DAVIS UNIVERSITE LILLE III
In seeking to show the ways in which France has been used as a foil in the fashioning of Britain’s own identity, or how different portrayals of France have in some ways been almost a self-portrayal of Britain, a mirror in which it sees itself as much as a window through which it sees another, it is no doubt difficult to be truly scientific. The field is vast and made up of a multitude of different components which can shift over time and which can be interpreted in different ways and seen from numerous different perspectives. Moreover, we are dealing here with much that is stereotypical: with caricatures, sometimes with simple distortions and untruths. This last difficulty has long been recognised by observers of Anglo-French relations. As Robert Mengin recognised, “Les deux nations ont grand peine à se comprendre. Elles se connaissent depuis longtemps mais elles ne parviennent pas à se voir comme elles sont. On dirait qu’un verre déformant les sépare”1. Despite its inclination to fall back on caricatures, this subject is not, however, as trivial as it may sound and we cannot entirely separate the question of representations, images and imaginings, with all their dangers of misrepresentation and deformation, from the more substantial aspects of the relations between the two countries. There are, for example, numerous examples that can be found in the official records of both countries of the ways in which such deeply-rooted images, and the sentiments that underlie them, played an important role at the very heart of the government,
amongst decision makers, politicians, ministers and diplomats alike. The underlying assumptions that these people held of their counterparts across the Channel can be clearly felt when reading the official documents they have left behind. The archives, therefore, give a relatively consistent picture of the ways in which France and the French were portrayed in governmental, parliamentary and diplomatic circles in London. A parallel image, which often closely resembled that held in London, can be found in the corresponding sources available from the French side. This is not to say that there were not changes over time, or differing views, more or less favourable or sympathetic. There is nonetheless an underlying consistency. That the British national identity has in large part been built up by the country’s position on the world stage – or perhaps more pertinently, how it has played out its part on the world stage – has long been recognised. Just as Charles de Gaulle famously argued that “la France ne peut pas être la France sans la grandeur”2, British identity was fashioned in large part by its position in the world, via its Empire, its great power status, all of which supported the idea of Britain’s greatness. Such considerations have continued to influence British identity well beyond the end of any truly global status; the dominant mindsets of the British leadership in the early and mid-twentieth century, and well into the 1960s, still reflected an almost nineteenth-century vision of the country. Traces of this can be found up to the present day and both David Cameron and Tony Blair in their respective campaigns to “rebrand” Britain have attempted to use the country’s supposed success in the world, or at least its relative success compared to certain other countries, as part of this3. The 2012 Olympics provided perhaps the best example of how this was attempted, and also of how ephemeral and superficial such campaigns can be. Successive British leaders have, nonetheless, continued to claim for their country a leading role in the world and have put this forward as a fundamental part of British identity. Harold Wilson, during his time as Prime Minister from 1964 to 1970, famously said that “we are a world power and a world influence or we are nothing” and that Britain’s “frontiers are in the Himalayas.”4 A few years later, on a somewhat less global scale but with an equally exaggerated sense of Britain’s importance, his Foreign Minister, George Brown, wrote that “We have a role: our role is to lead Europe … It may be that Britain is destined to become the leader of Europe … we must … offer leadership wherever we can. I don’t see where else leadership can come from other than from this country”5. Twenty-five years later, Tony Blair’s style was hardly different. Despite increasing evidence to the contrary, he was still using the same pretentious style of British greatness. Shortly before the 1997 election, he said that, “Century upon century, it
Schadenfreude and Anglo-French Relations in the 20th Century
has been the destiny of Britain to lead other nations … That should not be a destiny that is part of our history. It should be part of our future … We are a leader of nations, or we are nothing”.6 Whatever these claims being made by politicians, looking back at the history of the twentieth century, and more particularly at the post-Second World War decades, it seems that it was increasingly obvious to all but the most blinkered and jingoistic of Britons that the claims that Britain was still a leading player in world affairs were becoming increasingly untenable, and at times almost ridiculous. There was, however, one way in which at least some vestige of grandeur could be salvaged. Britain could not honestly claim to be on the same scale as the newly emerged super-powers of the United States and the Soviet Union, joined today by China, India and a host of other rising powers previously dismissed or largely ignored on the international stage but who are now claiming, justifiably, a seat at the international high table. However, it could lay claim to a certain superiority over France and the French, and it was this that was often used to maintain this idea of Britain’s identity. How Britain sought to hold onto to the vestiges of its “greatness”, and therefore to hold onto a certain identity, to maintain its rank through comparisons and references to France, will be seen below. It has long been accepted that there is nothing quite like an enemy to reinforce, sometimes even to create or forge, a sense of national identity. Equally, there is little doubt that France and the French played this part wonderfully well at the outset of the modern British nation state. The Hundred Years’ War, with its roll call of memorable battles from Crecy to Agincourt and such national heroes as the Black Prince or Henry V (or de Guesclin and Joan of Arc on the French side), the European and global conflicts with the France of Louis XIV and Louis XV, and then against the revolutionary and Napoleonic regimes, did much to build up a legacy of enmity that can still be felt today. Some older and deeply-rooted histories of William the Conqueror, as well as more recent clashes of a military, diplomatic or sporting character, can also be drawn on to this end. For Britain, therefore, France has been the perfect enemy, the perfect “other” and the perfect foil against which the British have created and developed many aspects of their own identity and image. Part of this has been based on a presentation of France as inferior, a country to be beaten, to be outdone in the various fields of international competition, and as a means of providing the raw materials for British victories7. As a country and close neighbour with a roughly equal population and with, in many ways, a comparable national history, France has always fitted the bill perfectly. Despite their obvious similarities, France has nonetheless also
been frequently presented in the British psyche, at least until the recent past, as somehow not quite as rich, not so technologically advanced, or as politically stable as Britain, no matter how untrue these ideas may be. The validity of many of these images and preconceptions that both the British and the French have of the other is, in many ways, hardly relevant here. What does matter is that they are so deeply-rooted and strongly held, and that they have repeatedly had such a direct impact not just on popular opinion but also on concrete policies. In terms of providing the perfect “other” against which to build up and to maintain “a certain idea of Britain”, to paraphrase de Gaulle again, France also has the advantage of being almost the exact same size as Britain (it would be difficult to use, for example, the United States, the Soviet Union or China as comparable “others”). It is also Britain’s closest neighbour and one which the British tend to look to more than any other – perhaps simply because it is the first place they come to when they travel abroad. As Jack Straw, then Foreign Secretary, argued in 2004, there is between Britain and France “a kind of family relationship” from which “there is no escape … we are part of them and they are part of us”.8 We can, therefore, possibly see Britain and France as resembling an old couple forced to live together, or at least side by side, for reasons of geography, history and culture; living together, but still the “best of enemies”9. The ingrained images that the British and French have of each other can be found in both the official archives, in both countries, and in the more “popular” sources such as the media, the written press and political cartoons. These same pictures could also be drawn from purely literary works and some studies have already been carried out in this area. It is also interesting to note the ways in which we can identify parallels, on the British side especially, between these various sources and to see the ways in which the images found in “official” and “unofficial” documents correspond, especially between politicians and diplomats on the one hand and the political cartoonists on the other. Although the two milieus, the one political and diplomatic, the other journalistic and artistic, come from quite different backgrounds, and that they operate in quite distinct spheres (it is hard to imagine the two frequenting the same worlds or rubbing shoulders in any way at all), and the fact that these documents are of a fundamentally different nature, the images they draw of Franco-British relations, and of France and the French, and the messages they put across, are often remarkably similar. Indeed, it is at times almost as though they were feeding off each another.
Schadenfreude and Anglo-French Relations in the 20th Century
British superiority and the denigration of France France, of course, has not been at war with Britain for something like 200 years, and during this time both countries have found new and perhaps more terrible enemies. Both countries have also suffered in very similar ways from a loss of international standing: both have lost empires and great power status; both were confronted by the challenge of imperial and then Nazi Germany in the first half of the twentieth century and by communism across much of the rest. But despite facing shared threats, the two countries have rarely worked together. Nor have they been inclined to show any great understanding of, or empathy for, the other’s predicaments, much to the detriment of both countries’ foreign policies. The international context in which they have worked, and the common threats they have faced, may have pushed the two countries into various forms of collaboration, and at times alliance, but this has rarely been sufficient reason for them to work whole-heartedly, or effectively, together. If there has been an Anglo-French alliance or entente, it has been one of reason and not one based on a genuine feeling of friendship or mutual sympathy. Instead, it has been an alliance, an entente, marked by a certain Schadenfreude: that “malicious enjoyment” or “mischievous glee”, that “satisfaction or pleasure felt at (the other’s) misfortune”10. If, over the past two centuries, France has not been an actual enemy11 as such, it has, nonetheless, at times still played the role of a potential enemy that has had to be guarded against. In the 1920s, it was the threat of a French air attack that RAF commanders were warning against and preparing for (Germany had no air force to threaten Britain with until the 1930s and other enemies were too far off). The RAF needed to have something to justify its claims for maintaining expenditure on new planes and however far-fetched this threat may have been it served a purpose. France could, therefore, still play a similar role as in the past, although at a reduced level, in maintaining a certain idea of Britain as an island fortress, threatened from a hostile world beyond, and also by reinforcing a sense of national unity and solidarity, as it had done in previous centuries. In the 1960s, General de Gaulle was perhaps not seen as an enemy, although the word was sometimes used, but he was certainly thought of as Britain’s diplomatic adversary who should be countered at every possible turn. He was seen as seeking to do Britain harm in every possible arena12. France had ceased to be, or ceased to be presented as, an enemy to be defeated in an immediate sense. Yet de Gaulle was certainly seen as a diplomatic adversary against whom the British Foreign Office, followed by a majority of successive Conservative and Labour Ministers, was
waging a form of diplomatic warfare. British foreign policy at this time often seemed to be aimed first and foremost at foiling the French, sometimes even more so than confronting more serious dangers from other real enemies. De Gaulle, of course, was doing much the same at the same time, trying to renew what he saw as France’s standing in the world. As was the case for the government in London, this involved an equivalent denigration of the British. The supreme disparagement was, and still is, to dismiss Britain out of hand as a mere satellite of the United States, as a country which had sold out to its principal ally to such an extent as to have lost its very identity. Britain in this analysis simply ceased to exist, subsumed into an essentially American bloc, scornfully dismissed as an increasingly irrelevant part of the “Anglo-Saxons”, a term which has now become so widely used in France as to be taken as an accepted reality of today’s world. In the same way as his British counterparts could not hide their pleasure at their French allies’ difficulties and reverses on the world stage, so de Gaulle took an evident delight in looking down on his unfortunate neighbours. “Les pauvres Anglais”, de Gaulle said, were “en plein désarroi”, with “les reins cassés”13; they were “lurching” and “tottering”; “La livre est à bout de souffle, les Anglais aussi”14, “la Grande-Bretagne n’est plus grand-chose … Les Anglais ne savent plus où ils en sont … Ils sont malheureux … ils n’ont même pas l’esprit de décision qui leur permettrait de nous gêner. Ils mènent mélancoliquement une petite politique au jour le jour. Leur seul plaisir est de caresser les Américains”. As for Britain’s leaders they were, according to de Gaulle, “les nouilles”15. It was not, however, in this role of an enemy “other” that France has most contributed to the British national identity in the twentieth century, but rather as a foil. Various dictionary definitions give “foil”, as it is taken here, as meaning “anything that serves by contrast of colour or quality to adorn another thing or set if off to advantage” or “a person or thing of a kind that makes more noticeable the better or different quality of another”16. “Foil” can, of course, also been seen in this same AngloFrench context as meaning to “overthrow, defeat (an antagonist); to beat off, repulse, discomfit”, to “outdo, to surpass”; to “prevent (someone) from succeeding in some plan”17. As we have seen, the ambition to foil France, and in particular de Gaulle, was very much in the minds of British leaders in the late-1950s and 1960s. As well as continuing to play the role of an enemy, or at least an adversary, France could also be pitied, patronized, denigrated, and looked down upon. The archival records of the views of France held by British
Schadenfreude and Anglo-French Relations in the 20th Century
politicians and diplomats in the 1930s show all of these views in abundance: French leaders were frequently seen as corrupt, incompetent, and at times immoral. Some were simply dirty and unwashed. One Foreign Office record of Pierre Laval, who was then Président du Conseil, and long before he was tarnished by the years of collaboration, was that “the only white thing about him is his tie and that is only washed occasionally”18. Such views were confirmed and accentuated by the events of May-June 1940, which firmly set in place in almost all British minds a vision of France that was almost entirely negative. This was reinforced by the dark days of the wartime occupation of France and the collaboration of the Vichy regime with Nazi Germany. This image remained fixed for a generation or more and can still be felt today, and not only in The Sun and The Daily Mail. Of course this conveniently erases, or at least pushes into the background, Britain’s own catastrophic military record in the early years of the War and the fiasco of Norway, the defeat in the Battle of France (and not the mythology surrounding Dunkirk), the fall of Greece and of Britain’s humiliating defeat in Singapore – the “worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history”, according to Winston Churchill – and elsewhere as the “Yorktown of the British empire in Asia”19. Such images, once set in place, proved to be very enduring. In 1954 the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick, wrote: I believe that for the last fifty years or so France has stood still in almost every field of human endeavour … today one has the impression that France is unable and unwilling to move with the times … In electronics, atomic energy, and indeed in every field of scientific endeavour, the French are hopelessly behind. Politically they are also living in a bygone age … with the passage of time France will be more and more left behind … France is necessary to us [and] we shall have to make the best of a bad job. But it is always dangerous to cherish illusions, and any belief that France is likely to become a good job is, I think, an illusion20.
Softening the fall of British decline: Schadenfreude and the “blame game” By the 1960s, the balance of power in Anglo-French relations had significantly shifted, although many British leaders and many British people had difficulties in coming to terms with this fact. The attempts to simply dismiss the French as somehow inferior, to put France down so as to build Britain up, were becoming less and less convincing, even if such efforts were never entirely abandoned and France continued to be
denigrated in all sorts of ways. This indicates that there were still deeplyingrained feelings of superiority over the French in official circles in London where de Gaulle, and the French in general, were accused of all sorts of faults. At various times the records show that he was seen as being dishonest, double-dealing, insincere, and a whole list of other shortcomings. In this, de Gaulle was often seen by some people in London as being characteristic of the French nation as a whole. At the same time, behind these attempts to present France in a negative light, Britain was being praised for exactly the opposite virtues that were so lacking, in many British accounts, in de Gaulle. For each example of French foul play there was British fair play, while France’s apparent perfidy and de Gaulle’s diplomatic disingenuousness were used by the British not only as tools to undermine the French position but also in an attempt to show Britain in a positive light, at least relative to France. Considerable efforts were certainly made to this end in the media battle between the two governments and between the Foreign Office and the Quai d’Orsay. The British archives for these years abound in messages sent out from London to their allies in Washington and in the capitals of the so-called “Friendly Five”21 in western Europe, in which the British did their best to paint as negative a picture of France, and especially of de Gaulle, as they could. As always, the unstated message here was always that while the French were untrustworthy, the British could always be depended on. While some of these messages certainly received favourable receptions in some of these quarters, on many occasions, they seriously back-fired and only served to portray a negative image of both countries. At this time, France also became an excuse for British failures, a scapegoat blamed for Britain’s increasingly frequent reverses in the diplomatic, political, technological, economic, or any other fields. France had already been blamed for being too intransigent towards Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, for not showing enough resistance in 1940, and for failing to face up to the reality of West Germany’s new strength (and the need to accept her rearmament) in the 1950s. Responsibility for the commercial failure of Concorde, the devaluation of the pound in 1967, Britain’s diplomatic setbacks in Africa, the Middle East and in its relations with the Soviet Union, could at least partially be placed at the door of the French. The more recent failures to reform the European Union along British lines, i.e. for it to be more economically liberal and “open”, have likewise been presented in London, in the media and as part of a concerted government information campaign, as being somehow the fault of the French. All too often when things have not worked out for Britain, politically for the government or in almost any way, it has been all too
Schadenfreude and Anglo-French Relations in the 20th Century
easy to blame the French. In recent years, the most flagrant use of this knee-jerk reaction to blame the French, and to play this as a sort of “get-out-of-jail” card whenever a government in London is in trouble and losing popularity, came in the case of Iraq. Dominique de Villepin famously complained of the British: “What kind of game are we playing? Are we playing the blame game? Are we looking for a scapegoat in order to accuse one country of being irresponsible?”22 This is, of course, precisely what Tony Blair and many others in Britain were doing. Speaking on the eve of the second Iraq war, Tony Blair argued: France will vote ‘no’ [in the UN Security Council on the resolution to threaten Saddam Hussein with armed action] whatever the circumstances. Not my words, but those of the French President [this was in fact a deliberate mistranslation and misrepresentation of Chirac’s exact words]. And I find it sad that at this point in time he cannot support us in the position we have set out which is the only sure way to disarm Saddam … with the greatest respect to somebody shouting out ‘well, the troops down there shows that it works’, yes. But it is British and American troops that are down there and not French troops.23
This most official of voices was reflected in the popular press, or parts of it, with the presentation of the French as “cheese eating surrender monkeys”.24 Like the Prime Minister, the British press were more than willing to draw unfavourable comparisons between the British army’s fighting spirit and France’s apparent lack of this, and between Britain’s diplomatic steadfastness and France’s, and particularly Chirac’s, chicanery. Of course, when seen from the other side of the Channel, and from many other perspectives, including that of many people in Britain who were opposed to the war in Iraq, the roles of steadfast leader of the resistance to Saddam Hussein (at its most extreme, this image took on a Churchillian anti-appeaser aspect) and worm-like irresolution combined with diplomatic sharp practice are exactly reversed25.
Superiority over France as a cushion to Britain’s loss of world role and status So long as Britain could maintain this image of superiority in the Anglo-French relationship, then they could hold onto the idea that they were still relatively important. The image of Britain’s position as one of the “big three” in 1942-45 quickly lost much of its shine after 1945. Ten years later, it had become entirely unconvincing. However, for some in
Britain, France’s even greater exclusion from the diplomatic high table served to ease Britain’s loss of standing in world affairs. By the end of the war Churchill, followed by his successor Clement Attlee, may have been very much the lesser of the “big three” but de Gaulle’s exclusion from the inner sanctums at the summits at Yalta and Potsdam made it somehow easier to come to terms with this26. Similarly, during the Cold War, Britain sought to hold onto a major role as the United States’ “reliable second”, contrasting itself favourably with French weakness and their unreliability as an ally, something which British Ministers and diplomats constantly underlined in their exchanges with their American counterparts throughout this period. By the 1960s and 1970s, the debate in Britain was turning far more to British decline. The sense that Britain no longer had the upper hand in the Anglo-French relationship, that it was no longer in the same comfortable position of superiority, came as a serious blow to Britain’s prestige and added further to its growing lack of self-confidence. French advances in new technologies, its new-found political stability with the establishment of the Fifth Republic in 195827, and superior rates of economic growth added to Britain’s growing angst over its own fortunes. By the mid-1960s, British political cartoonists were consistently presenting de Gaulle, and though him France, as the dominant figure in Anglo-French relations, portraying de Gaulle’s enormous and imposing physical stature over the cowering and feeble representations of successive British Prime Ministers from Macmillan, to Home and Wilson.28 That the French rugby team won the grand slam for the first time in 1968 only added to the British pique; the ultimate proof of national failure, the loss of national pride and selfassurance, being when France comes out on top against British teams on the sports field. In recent years, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair have certainly sought to redraw the image of Britain in a more positive fashion, and, as in the past, international comparisons have been part of these attempts to “rebrand” the country along more favourable lines. In part, this has been a negative exercise: seeking to counter the idea of national decline by saying that France has been the victim of an even steeper decline and in this way taking some comfort in France’s even greater troubles. As in previous eras, Margaret Thatcher was certainly prone to putting down the French, even questioning France’s claims to be the home of modern democracy at the very moment the French were celebrating the bicentenary of their Revolution. So was the apparently more pro-French Tony Blair. Speaking to the Labour Party Conference in 2005, he described Britain as “a country today that increasingly sets the standard: not for us the malaise of France
Schadenfreude and Anglo-French Relations in the 20th Century
or the angst of Germany. It’s a national pastime to run ourselves down, so occasionally it's worth saying: Britain is a great country and we are proud of it”29. In reply, at around the same time, and in words that are clearly similar to those used by de Gaulle to denigrate the British in the 1960s, Jacques Attali argued, “Here in Paris, when we look at Europe we look at Germany, when we look at culture we look at Italy, when we look at movies we look at the United States. We don’t say [the] English language we say [the] American language … England is something which is not a standard for anything … It’s not an enemy, it’s not a best ally, it’s not a criteria of anything”30. It seems, therefore, that old patterns of AngloFrench exchanges, their mutual denigrations and recriminations still have a great deal of life left in them, even if, today, much of the heat and piquancy of the relationship has been lost, along with its importance in world affairs. Looking back over the record of the twentieth century, we can identify the ways in which the various and differing comparisons between Britain and France have been used to produce quite opposite conclusions. At times, France and the French have served to raise and reinforce Britain’s sense of its own importance, its prestige and its qualities. But it has also been the case that other representations of France have reinforced precisely the opposite idea of British national decay and decline, and even of a profound national malaise, by pointing out how Britain has fallen behind France, showing how it was, by the 1960s, France that was in a dominant position. Such comparisons will no doubt continue to be made in the future, some presenting Britain in a more favourable light while others will no doubt be less kind. It seems likely, however, that the British will continue to see themselves in, and through, this same mirror that France conveniently places before them and that success or failure in AngloFrench competition, across all fields, will still be used as a yardstick to judge their performance.
Conclusions The considerations of standing in the world – of rank, prestige, grandeur or greatness – need always to be seen as relative concepts. Therefore to be great, or even good, we need to have someone or something, of comparable size and history and ambition (hence the use of a French “other”), against which to defend this idea, this image of ourselves. Of course the French have been doing the same, although, as the views of de Gaulle and Attali above have shown, there is an inclination
in France to dismiss Britain out of hand as a valid comparison, something which still seems to be absent from the British side of the relationship. Perhaps such comparative considerations have become nonsensical and pointless in the modern world. Perhaps the competitive element to the Anglo-French relationship has been reduced to a ridiculous form of the “one-upmanship”, that “art of outdoing or showing up a rival or competitor, as in exploits, privileges, or honours” similar to the “malicious glee” of Schadenfreude already mentioned, that Stephen Potter popularly put forward in the 1950s. After all, both countries have long since ceased to play the central roles in world affairs that they once did; both have been overshadowed by other far greater powers, and both continue to be overtaken by other newly emerging powers. Knocking “poor old France” may continue to provide some sort of comfort for the British, and in some ways it continues to form part of their national characteristics, but the records of the past half-century show that this ingrained national reaction has served little purpose. Indeed, it has only reinforced the reluctance to confront Britain’s own problems, acting as a form of self-deception: a recognition of the other’s faults and failures, but a refusal to recognise their own. In the 1960s, British diplomats, politicians, cartoonists and many others liked to present de Gaulle as an emperor parading with no clothes. But perhaps the way Britain saw itself, and the way it sought to present itself, and this continues up to the present day, is equally inaccurate. Perhaps de Gaulle was as justified, if not more so, in talking of “les pauvres anglais”.
Bibliography Aprile, Sylvie and Bensimon, Fabrice. La France et l’Angleterre au 19e siècle. Echanges, représentations, comparaisons. Paris: Créaphis, 2006. Bell, P.M.H. Britain and France, 1940-1994. The Long Separation. London: Longman, 1997. —. France and Britain: Entente and Estrangement, 1900-1940. London: Longman, 1996. Cairns, John C. ‘A Nation of Shopkeepers in Search of a Suitable France, 1919-1940’, American Historical Review, Vol. 79, No. 3 (1974). —. ‘De Gaulle Confronts the British: The Legacy of 1940’, International Journal, Vol. 23, No. 2 (1967-68). Capet, Antoine (ed). Britain, France and the Entente Cordiale Since 1904. London: Palgrave, 2006. Chassaigne, Philippe and Dockrill, Michael (eds). Anglo-French Relations 1898-1998. From Fashoda to Jospin. London: Palgrave, 2002.
Schadenfreude and Anglo-French Relations in the 20th Century
Crouzet, François. De la supériorité de l’Angleterre sur la France. L’économique et l'imaginaire. XVIIe-XXe siècle. Paris: Librairie académique Perrin, 1985. —. ‘Problèmes de la communication franco-britannique aux 19e et 20e siècles’, Revue historique, Vol. 254 (1975). Davis, Richard. ‘The “Problem of de Gaulle”: British Reactions to General de Gaulle’s Veto of the UK Application to Join the Common Market’, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 32, No. 4 (October 1997). Delporte, Christian. ‘Les Métamorphoses de John Bull: Les Anglais dans la caricature française de Munich à Suez’, Franco-British Studies, No. 14 (Autumn 1992). Dockrill, Michael. British Establishment Perspectives on France, 19361940. London: Palgrave, 1999. Gerbod, Paul. Voyages au pays des mangeurs de grenouilles: La France vue par les britanniques du XVIIIe siècle à nos jours. Paris: Albin Michel, 1991. Gibson, Robert. Best of Enemies. Anglo-French Relations Since the Norman Conquest. London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1995. Le Breton, Jean-Marie (dir). France et Grande-Bretagne. Mythes et préjugés. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2007. Mangold, Peter. The Almost Impossible Ally. Harold Macmillan and Charles de Gaulle. London: I.B. Taurus, 2006. Mayne, Richard, Johnson, Douglas, Tombs, Robert, Vaïsse, Maurice. Cross-Channel Currents: 100 years of the Entente Cordiale. London: Routledge, 2004. Mengin, Robert. La France vue par l’étranger. Paris: La table ronde, 1971. Sharp, Alan and Stone, Glyn (eds). Anglo-French Relations in the 20th century. Rivalry and Cooperation. London: Routledge, 2000. Taschin, Agnès. Amie et rivale. La Grande-Bretagne dans l’imaginaire français à l’époque gaullienne. Bruxelles: Peter Lang, 2009. Tombs, Robert and Tombs, Isabelle. That Sweet Enemy: The British and the French from the Sun King to the Present. London: Heinemann, 2006. Waites, Neville (ed). Troubled Neighbours. Franco-British Relations in the Twentieth Century. London: Littlehampton Book Services, 1971.
CHAPTER ELEVEN MARKERS, BORDERS, CROSSINGS: ON THE REPRESENTATION OF A DIVIDED SPACE IN NORTHERN IRELAND GABRIEL N. GEE FRANKLIN UNIVERSITY, SWITZERLAND
The north-south partition of Ireland was implemented by the 1920 Government of Ireland Act. It constituted a crucial development in the history of the Irish Republican emancipation movement, leading to the creation of the Irish Free State and eventually to the Republic of Ireland1. It also significantly established a parliament in Belfast in order to legislate in the province of Ulster2. A geographical caesura split the island into two distinct territories. The six northern counties of Tyrone, Fermanagh, Armagh, Down, Antrim and Derry were cut from the former spatial unity of the island and remained anchored to the British Isles. Within the northern territory, the tensions opposing Protestant and Catholic communities increased in the aftermath of the Second World War. Access to housing and accusations of gerrymandering featured amongst the most pressing issues that fostered political unrest3. The international civil rights movement which gained prominence in the 1960s also fuelled civic protests in Northern Ireland4, before armed conflict took over during the period known as the Troubles, which extended from the late 1960s to the Good Friday agreement of 19985. In Belfast, vertical extensions rose to physically separate the two communities, furthering an ancient history which can be traced back to the construction of the Derry walls in the early 17th century6. Historical commemorations such as the parades of the Orange Order on the 13th of July have often kept hardy the antagonisms of old. The marches celebrate the victory of the armies of William III of Orange over those of the Jacobite party led by James II at the battle of the Boyne in 16907. Every year, symbolic furrows in the urban texture that signal the passage from
Markers, Borders, Crossings
one realm to another were infringed in a variation of the Remus and Romulus mythical discord. In the northern city, the confrontation of groups between districts, the military control of passageways leading to different inhabited spaces, and the terrorist attacks conducted by both parties through punitive intrusions contributed to this spatial differentiation and fragmentation of communities. This study is concerned with forms through which aesthetic practices in Northern Ireland have engaged with border history in the late 20th century. It is concerned with aesthetic reflections on the modes through which this history has been internalised by two intermingling communities which ultimately shaped Northern Ireland as a distinct socio-political space. While murals have provided powerful visual indicators of political and social affiliations in Protestant and Catholic districts, artists have often been able to explore the duality of border zones. These are both dividing and circulating spaces, external and internal presences. The study focuses on three components through which aesthetic tools and means of visual representation and production have incorporated the conflicted sites of identities in contact with the physical fragmentation of the Northern Ireland territory. First, it considers a set of mobile-prown markers in rural and urban areas; second, it looks at a number of works which explore the dual nature of borders: dividing lines that invite forms of trespassing; and finally, it reflects on the notion of interstitial passages as conduits enabling an overtaking of ideological pressures and determinations.
Markers and crossings A marker is to be understood as “an object placed to mark a position, distance, etc”8. It can take a variety of forms, such as “a block of stone, a post, or other, indicating the boundary of a field”9. A rural image comes to mind. The field can be closed or opened. But in any case, the marker to be seen in the field indicates the presence of an anchor or an anchorage. People and histories are stowed to anchors. Vessels, as much as boundaries are tied to markers, though to identify their flag requires a knowledge that is specific in time and space. Furthermore, a field can be understood as an intellectual entity – governing very physical human relations, such as the religious field, the social field (etc.), framed within particular historical and geographical contexts. In which case, the marker itself preserves its anchorage function as well as its physical attributes, but it gains access to movement. It is this dual characteristic combining materials with ideas and the static with the mobile that has been proficiently seized by artists in Northern Ireland.
At the recently opened Orchard Gallery in Derry in 1984, the British artist Richard Long covered the walls with mud brought from the River Avon and his native Bristol10. Large stripes and neatly drawn circles of mud covered the white cubes of the gallery space. In Derry, a city erected by a river itself – the Foyle – and surrounded by fields and hills, the abstract mud designs acquired a rich albeit appropriately hazy metaphorical aura. The designs echoed Long’s outdoor practice. Simple structures such as lines and circles made of stones have been a longstanding component of the artist’s dialogue with our natural environment. In the Orchard, the reproduction of such patterns by the hand of the walking artist conveyed both the natural and the cultural sign systems in use for orientating oneself in space. And ultimately, the abstract geometrical paintings emphasised the importance of the soil in a region where its role in defining identity has been both paramount and a source of contention11. The mud markers were not so much that of a defined area, but of fields whose boundaries were prone to be displaced according to individual and group perceptions. The Derry artist Willie Doherty pointed to this Shifting Ground(s) in a black and white photograph taken on the pathway of the Derry Walls (1991). The perspective is bordered by two metallic railings that confine the onlookers’ promenade to a secluded yet undetermined space. Dark trees and void grounds further underline the bleak settings. The territorial markers are there to be seen, but their exact anchorage is veiled in uncertainty. Urban space provides a parallel and complementary surface to that of rural grounds on which to observe the potency of markers in Northern Ireland12. The Derry sculptor Richard Livingstone made a series of totemic collages in the 1980s and 1990s in order to describe “the fragmentation of modern life”13. Albeit generic in words, this fragmentation appears highly specific in its visual articulation. In Isolation (1989), a relief made of metal and wood, a schematic face-shaped head is nailed to two black poles. A black painted blindfold covers the eyes, while a shirt-shaped black tape blocks the opened mouth. Five metal bars layered horizontally from the bottom to the top of a structure complete the piece: a jail window with a silenced victim. In Deliverance (1989), a door provides the core reference of the totem. It has been turned horizontally, and a coffin has been drawn within it. Four metal bars again are layered over the work vertically. Out of these bars on the upper and lower flanks of the door, eight outstretched hands reach outwards. The sources of Livingstone’s figurative reconstructions were found in his immediate environment. Barred windows and doors are taken from the streets of Derry and Belfast and mounted on the walls. They are the markers of division, blocked
Markers, Borders, Crossings
conduits of the urban texture. The tribalism of the late twentieth-century hunter-gatherer leads to “Ireland being skinned alive” when an island of metal is stretched as a Skin (1992) on a wooden frame, ready to be lacerated14. Within this universe, The Futility of Gardening (1992) offers a mitigated reflection. A wooden triptych of golden hues supports a tiny pair of children’s shoes and a dress on the side panels, with upturned flowers in the larger middle panel. A fence from another world, The Futility of Gardening appears as an angelic vision that might border pleasantly a picturesque and adjacent field. The preoccupation with the afterlife has found a lease of light, though it does not disclose whether it might concern an earthly or celestial renewal. The Northern Ireland Secretary of State had declared in 1991 that Great Britain had no strategic interest in Ireland, and the work might echo the ongoing negotiations then taking place between the Social Democratic and Labour Party, Sinn Fein, the Ulster Unionist party, and the Irish and British governments15. As totemic sculptures hanging on the gallery walls, the doors and windows of Richard Livingstone functioned as the symbolic signifiers of a tumultuous social order. They brought to the eyes of the beholder the scrapped and unadorned architectural remnants of the divided polis. As such, they did not offer so much a new cult value, as they elaborated on the outcome of conflicting yet essentially akin communal rituals. Similarly, Kerry Trengrove hung what he termed “monuments” directly on the walls. These monuments, however, were not markers made of disused fabric but suitably ancient looking condensations of pervading ideologies. Working out of a reflective intersection between the political situation of Germany and Ireland prior to both the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the cessation of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland in the 1990s, his Points of Defense are re-imagined military markers. Shaped in the form of a temple’s façade, they stand as hybrids between painting and sculptural reliefs. The fragmented mouldings that encase the shrines convey the sense of an ancient historical grandeur. In the installation Thou shall not at the Lewis Johnson Gallery in 1982, relief carvings were also supported by a massively autonomous arch structure. Michael Archer in a text entitled “Over-riding imperatives” underlined the analogical role played by the use of varied techniques in Trengrove’s work: Kerry Trengrove sees his claim to the role of artist lying in an attitude of responsibility towards the world. It would not be sufficient to rely for credentials upon the carrying on of some particular activity such as ‘painting’ or ‘sculpture’, and although this current work does involve drawing and painting, carving and modelling, each skill is not practised separately within traditionally defined limits. The boundaries between
Chapter Eleven areas are destabilised by the application of a variety of techniques in conjunction with one another16.
The in all appearance grounded quality of the works is superseded by the interloping of artistic genres. Paintings acquire a three-dimensional quality through framing and soft modelling. The architectural and sculptural pieces have carvings and drawings on their surface. These disciplinary interpenetrations embody for Michael Archer an essential quality in the work of Trengrove – transgression: “the simple activity of crossing a pre-determined boundary, with a variety of associated ideas involving our notions of law and morality”17. This interpretation underlines the metaphysical questioning borne by the work from its anchorage point on the wall. The Point of Defence XIX – Ireland displays Christ on the cross on the upper hand corner and two funerary crosses at its heart. An inscription reads in the Roman capitals: REGULA HISTORIAE. Point of Defence IV – Berlin has a memorial crown in its centre and two army rifles flanking it with their barrels pointing upwards as for a celebratory salute (See Fig. 11-1). The inscription reads COINCIDENTIA OPPOSITORUM – REGULA ORDINIS. The background of this iconography draws further on the stated principle of the unity of opposites18. Patches of red are inscribed on the blue surface and orange counterbalances green on both pieces. Trengrove’s points of defence are layered markers with references to the weight of history in Germany and Ireland, the ambiguous role of religion and its competing orders, the tradition of arms and loyalty leading to a fractured self embodied by the checkpoints in the urban space of Berlin and Belfast. To this unresolved dialectic, the artist responds by an invitation to circulation: “A rabbit bolts through the barbed wire to the other side of the border. Overhead the bird of prey crosses in the opposite direction”19. Archer was suggesting that the over-riding imperatives were to be found in Trengrove’s intermingling of techniques. The hybrid nature of the markers analogically conferred a liberation from within, an exit route installed at the core of the dividing signal. However, if the segmentation of space and people had found a concrete materialisation, barriers and markers are arrayed and sustained by ideas. Therefore, the driving incentive to overtake such a fragmentation implied a mental redeployment. Imagination, in particular, was deemed to hold the key, as it “knows no limit” and “cannot be contained”. The free standing spiritual agility of the artist as manifested through his transgression of aesthetic barriers would lead the way towards a resolution of opposites that would reunite the whole. However, it follows that if
Markers, Borders, Crossings
contesting markers are seen on land, they are also powerful in the mind. The painter Brian Maguire has precisely explored and represented this internal rift, which predates the division of external space. Of his expressionist pictural work rooted in modernist interrogation, Donald Kuspit wrote that “if expressionism is a kind of scream […] then Maguire’s expressionism is that of Ireland and its own agony”20. In the painting The Foundation Stones (Mental home) (1990), a psychiatric hospital has grown on the underlying foundations. The perspective leads onto a vast corridor whose walls appear to be drifting. A ray of light bursts through the ceiling, yet remains distant in the overwhelmingly charged atmosphere. The ground is grey and shifting; the focal point at the end of the corridor is empty and melts into the greyness of the foundation stones which extends towards the viewer. The painting must be seen as a whole, which suggests that it is a portrait of interiority, more particularly, of the hectic ambivalence that informs insanity, with its violent alterations between feelings of hopelessness and hopefulness, helplessness and self-help21.
Maguire’s Foundation Stones is an image of isolated and imprisoned interiority. Spatial markers are doubled up by mental markers. The otherness of the self is mirrored on the picture plane. And ultimately, at the root of this fragmentation, as Livingstone and Trengrove also reflected on, the other is likely to be the same.
Borders and crossings A border: “A limit which determines the expanse of a territory, any type of barrier, defence, obstacle, that might or should be cleared”22. We have underlined how physical markers appeared fixed only to reveal underlying mobile anchorages. Similarly, borders divide space only to invite a communication between their then segmented parts. Checkpoints and various markers might signal the border’s presence on land, but considered as a whole, it often remains largely an abstract and intellectual entity. As with markers, it is the dual nature of the border as a division inviting circulation and as a line of evanescent materiality that has repeatedly captured the interest of the visual arts in Northern Ireland. In the work of Willie Doherty, the frontier is framed and staged. It is pictured as a space to observe from a distance, a space to ramble on, and a space to cross over openly or secretly. Its clearing and overstepping is captured by a video shot from the “interior of a car driving along a border
road – dusk” (At the end of the day, 1994). The action is shot through the windscreen of a car which travels a long deserted country road. The vehicle follows a bend on the road and a concrete road blocks comes into the view. The vehicle drives right up to the obstruction and comes to a halt. The engine continues to run. The scene is interrupted by a male voice which speaks a short phrase. At this point the scene ends abruptly and outs to the opening shot. The sequence is repeated, each time ending with a different phrase23.
Roads, which as pathways recur significantly in the work of Willy Doherty, are real as well as symbolical conductors. Roads lead somewhere – else. The physical interruption of the journey which the spectator witnesses as an impotent driver does not prevent him from seeing the land beyond. Indeed, he is faced and surrounded by the otherness to which the road alludes. Firstly, as the car comes to a halt before three pyramidal stones that block the road, one can see in the distance, albeit slightly off the track, another car facing towards us. In the highly suggestive work of Doherty, the viewer might be led to interrogate himself as to the hypothetical continuation of the sequence: a dead end or a cataract to be surmounted by other means? There is certainly space for a pedestrian to walk by. But even more suggestively, the road is “bordered” on its left hand side by an open field which runs along a fence made of a few stripes of wire and a series of wooden poles. Furthermore, the short sentences which punctuate the scene emphasise the temporal nature of the border. For borders are inscribed in space and crossed over in time: At the end of the day, there’s no going back We’re all in this together, the only way is forward We’re entering a new phase, nothing can last forever Let’s not lose sight of the road ahead There’s no future in the past At the end of the day, it’s a new beginning Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past
Political history and destiny are both embedded into the border road. Dan Cameron has underlined the importance of Derry’s specific geographical position in the development of Doherty’s aesthetic concerns. For the city stands at the north west of Northern Ireland, “a mere stone’s throw from the line separating the counties of Donegal and Derry, one of which is part of the Republic of Ireland, while the other functions as part of the UK”24. Hence the shifting grounds where west (towards Donegal) becomes south (towards the Republic of Ireland) and east becomes north
Markers, Borders, Crossings
(towards Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom) lettered on the 1988 photograph taken from a overhanging field over Derry (THE OTHER SIDE, waterside, Derry, 1988)25. The uncertain nature of Doherty’s borders is mirrored in the activities that take place therein. Hidden behind some bushes, they become a vantage point from which to consider the invasion of a neighbouring territory (INVADING, Brachead road, Derry, 1987). A country road becomes an axis of circulation from which to consider the protection of a territory from an adjacent menace (PROTECTING, Brachhead road, Derry, 1987). And foremost, borders are spaces where secrecy is paramount and movements are invisible. One stays undercover by the river and reaches the border unseen (UNDERCOVER, disused railway, Letterkenny road, Derry, 1985; UNSEEN, Letterkenny road, Derry, 1985). Doherty’s silent rural and urban landscapes devoid of visible human figures are clouded by the echoes of the untraced channels of the paramilitaries. More generally, they are packed with indistinguishable motivations and coded terrains whose disquieting effects obscure the horizon. The specific geographical position and history of Derry has favoured an aesthetic attention to the modes through which dividing borders invite circulation, as well as to their symbolical potential. Philip Roycroft used a week of immersion in the Donegal landscape to capture earthly essences to partake in the city (Fig. 11-2 and 3): I lit fires in seven specific locations in Donegal. I collected kindling from the first site, and used it to light the second fire, and from the second site to the third fire; up to the seventh fire. I took the ashes from the seventh fire to the Orchard Gallery, Derry. On the seventh day, at the Orchard Gallery, I presented the contents of my pack, changed into my original clothing, and distributed the samples of ash taken from the seventh fire to those present. I asked that people disperse these ashes in a fire of their own choice26.
The final distribution of ashes in the gallery space functioned within the reference to the primitive ritual of lighting fire accomplished by Roycroft beforehand. These alightings took place on a journey evoking ancient nomadic practices. It started in “a sheltered spot behind a low state wall”. Before his friend departed, a rainbow trout was fished in Pert Lake, boiled and eaten. The subsequent locations were equally remote: a derelict outhouse, a sheltered overhang on the bank of a river, a centre of a ruin, a sheltered spot under rocky outcrops, an old farmhouse, a thicket on the
low side of the road. The sharing of the hearth brought from the nearby and akin territory re-enacted an elementary holistic experience of the underlying land. The metaphoric unification of the parts which have been severed was also the object of Nigel Rolfe’s 1981 red Bridge of timber at the Orchard Gallery27. Built over a week, the wooden structure eventually joined the two central and characteristic columns of the main gallery space. This work is considered by the artist not as a live performance in itself but as a necessary working ritual to achieve a specific installed sculpture. These works are considered as characterised, totemic (a symbol structure through ritual) sculptures in themselves28.
As in the work of Richard Livingstone, components which have been extracted from the immediate environment of the artist serve as meaningful conductors to compose the art object. In the case of Rolfe’s piece, however, it is not the material elements from the urban world which are used. The substance of the work rests on an idea, that of linking two entities which stand separate. It has no apparent specific claim as to the nature of the then established link. Yet the sculpture points towards the idea of split unity, directly informed by the Northern Ireland sociopolitical environment. In Derry, beside immanent fractures, a very visible internal border line runs along the city walls. It has an ancient history which has long contributed to the potency of its symbolical associations. The painter Gerry Gleason has precisely reflected on the siege of Derry in the 17th century and its contemporary ramifications. In 1689, when James the Second arrived in front of the city, the inhabitants refused to open its doors. The siege was eventually broken by the arrival of the ships of the Dutch captain Frederic Schomberg, followed by those of the future British admiral John Leake. The act of resistance became mythical. It was said to have originated in the closure of the city gates by 13 apprentice boys, whose act of defiance has since then been commemorated by songs and parades29. The photographer Victor Sloan captured the force and tension occasioned by the annual Derry parades in a 1989 series. Drums and ensigns are portrayed in saturated black and white underneath the 17th century walls and the military wire fencing of the 1980s. The Orange Order Parades reproduced a complex ritual of spatial codification through the displacements of bodies and portable markers. In Derry, they further exemplified the recurring conflict between acts of closure and aperture. In the painting Stalemate (1988), Gerry Gleason located the dead end within and around the yellow crenellated fortifications (Fig. 11-4). Immobile
Markers, Borders, Crossings
sketchy silhouettes stand underneath a passing helicopter. Arrows fly upwards, sideways and downwards. Noughts and crosses remain unresolved. A large figure looms within the walls, its skull face appearance a memento mori to the beholder. Roy Wallis noted the capacity of this specific iconography to gain a universal reach: Gleason chooses no side in the dispute. Deprived of identifying particulars, the representation is also de-humanised, reduced to its most basic lineaments, lacking distinguishing individual features. Figures are abstracted to a restricted set of conventions: sticklike, iconic, totemic or amorphous. The fortress may defend life and culture, but it also distorts and constrains its organic development. The particular reference may be local, but the dilemma is universal30.
Thus the pictorial lines of separation represent both the physical extensions of the walls in the northern landscape and the multiple social and mental cracks they analogically convey. As Wallis suggests, and as Gleason as much as Doherty report, borders can define spaces as much as they can entrap these spaces within self-re-enacted confinement. Set within the specific history of Northern Ireland, the visual exploration of borders stresses how these ultimately appear to provide the same function for both opposite parties: a symbol of fluctuating shape to define one’s identity mirroring that of the other standing beyond.
Passages and interstices: notes from Available Resources Passage: “the act of passing; movement from one place to another, transit; transition from one state to another; a voyage a crossing; a way by which one passes…”31 In 2005, the Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast published a catalogue to accompany an exhibition of works by Brian Kennedy at the Ice House in Philadelphia entitled “Passage”32. In his essay, Declan Long judiciously reflected on the dual meanings the term could hold for the Belfast born artist. He first noted the mobile component introduced above. Secondly, he remarked on the relevance of considering the word’s meaning as a textual fragment, or in visual terms “a detail”, both of which should be read as platforms of exploration for the imagination. However, beside these associations, he added a word of caution: But if the nuances of this term assist in a process of encouraging our minds to freely travel from one idea or point of reference to another, it is also worth noting Kennedy’s interest in how ‘passage’ could imply difficulties,
Chapter Eleven impediments or dangers – think, for instance, of the potential anxieties regarding the need to ‘pay for one passage’, or the threats that lurk behind the requirement of ‘safe passage’. Moreover, this sense of journeys as either fraught with hazards or involving complex social, cultural or psychological ‘bagage’ inevitably suggests the unconscious element that may be common to all apprehensions about journeys: that is, that the journey through life is also a journey towards death33.
A decade earlier at the turn of the 1990s, Brian Kennedy had coinstigated with Alastair MacLennan, Nick Stewart and Brian Connolly an exhibition in Derry that captured both explicitly and metaphorically this ambivalence. Available Resources aimed to explore transitional processes through performance work and site-specific installations34. As a curatorial entity, it embodied the idea of passage with this dual connotation, a going to and fro as well as a movement towards an endpoint, none the more so for its main exhibition site to have been located in a funeral parlour. The artists had approached the director of the Orchard Gallery in Derry, Declan McGonagle, with a view to mount an exhibition that would respond to the gallery’s ethos known to place particular emphasis on establishing a dialogue with the city and its inhabitants35. However, the organisation of the exhibition came to coincide with the nomination of Declan McGonagle at the head of the new Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin. Available Resources found itself in an in between: on institutional terms as it had to make do with the temporary imbalance of its main support, which led to its funding prospects being significantly curtailed36, and ultimately in aesthetic terms as it shifted its main focus on what Alastair MacLennan identified as “lean means”: Another term that came on was ‘lean means’. Sometimes even when we don’t organise all the events because we had so few financial resources, we would ask the artists if they would think in those terms […] How can you make something effective that you are satisfied with if there isn’t really much money there for buying materials? Artists can, especially if they are doing performance, focus on imagination […] You rely then much more on simply the actual as it is, and use that as a material37.
Sixteen artists were involved in the displays and events that took place in June and July 1991. The use of the exiting fabric as material and a departure point, rather than a reliance on external components, facilitated an aesthetic exploration of the visible and invisible textures of the place, and the porous qualities at play in the social fabric. The sites of interventions varied, yet as gateways, streets provided a direct access to the city’s interstratas: the corridors of interaction in the seemingly clear-
Markers, Borders, Crossings
cut urban structure. The québecquois performer Richard Martel walked through the city with a beef tongue attached to its ankle, urging the crowd to realise its economic power and to emancipate itself from its oppressor38. Alastair MacLennan performed a meticulously timed one-hour circumvolution around the Diamond square in the city centre (Fig. 11-5 and 11-6). The two World Wars’ memorial that stands on the square constitutes an ambivalent marker, for as Slavka Sverakova underlined, “one community’s heroes may be the other’s terrorists”39. To counterbalance this divisive component (or to release its presence), MacLennan, who harboured both the Unionist and Republican colours, carried a globe around its neck that evoked a wholeness beneath – or beyond. Although the incident was unexpected, the fact that the globe broke at the very end of the actuation40 led observers to reflect on the performance’s powerfully symbolic ending41. Yet if the street offered an available site to incorporate the city and the province’s context (a considerable part of MacLennan’s work in Belfast from the mid-1970s onward specifically uses patterns and gaps in the city streets to that purpose), the funeral parlour provided Available Resources with a powerful locus to explore states of being, transformation and immutability. The vacant William Adair parlour had been found by artist John Ford, who was then artist-in-residence at the Orchard Gallery42. The building offered different qualities from one floor to another. The ground floor presented a business front, the first floor dated back to the 1950s; the second floor had kept its First World War decoration, while the top floor was in the Victorian style. These vertical layers reinforced the sentiment of the passing of time, which the place through its original function immediately conveyed. Interventions and installations in the building fed themselves on those layers and the imaginary visions associated within. Brian Connolly, in particular, presented a piece entitled In Remembrance, which stemmed directly from the unveiling of the interstitial components in the building (Fig. 11-7). The artist had noticed how different textures composed the space: the Georgian frameworks that had been painted with an undercoat, the newspapers from the First World War underneath the lino, the shattered glass behind the back wall that must have resulted from the window being blown in, and various “cracks in the space”. He made those layers visible to the visitor, while in the centre of the room, he placed a number of coat hangers which bore names akin to a family tree, and arranged for six chairs to support two glass shelves in a manner reminiscent of the coffin bearers at a funeral43. On the horizontal glass shelves, dead flies were pinned with remembrance cards:
Chapter Eleven I found remembrance cards, and all the dead flies that had been trapped in the room […] Somehow they had gone into the space, were trapped, and couldn’t get back out, and I just felt that was such a metaphor for someone being brought up in a certain place, not being able to get out of the circumstances, and being trapped by the conditions […] and it became the centre of the piece.44
The funeral parlour stood as a gateway to be worked upon as the streets of the city in the work of Martel and MacLennan. Connolly unveiled the historical layers that stood beneath this dusty abandoned bulk of a space already immersed in the past. In the context of Derry and Northern Irish society, In Remembrance reflected on the permanence of social barriers while simultaneously unearthing conduits that had disappeared from the sight of the living. On the one hand, the traces and memories of that which had been and became something else; on the other hand, the passageway as a dead end, a tragic step into eternal stillness. In 1991, Brian Kennedy had also contributed to a light intervention in one of the rooms of the funeral parlour. The artist had filled certain surfaces and certain cracks in the walls with white plaster. On the tamed and worn out walls, the whiteness of the intervention provided a form of healing that conjured past trajectories. Remains Intact alluded to the passage of time while aiming to bring back a former unity whose disappearance it necessarily indicated. In “Passage”, Declan Long emphasised the ritual associations present in the work of Brian Kennedy, noting the presence of references to the “passage graves of ancient cultures”. These were particularly suited to the contemplation of the large wooden boat armatures that were suspended to the ceiling of the Philadelphia exhibition space. One thinks of the Egyptians’ funerary solar ships and the mythological Charon bringing the souls of the dead to the gates of Hades. The passages that were unveiled by Brian Kennedy and the actors of Available Resources brought together the duality evoked with respect to mobile markers and porous borders. That which seemed deadlocked could reveal cracks within its apparent unity, and those interstices could constitute conduits of exchange. The nefarious pendant of this condition would reside in the possibility, yet not a necessary conclusion, of the cracks belonging to but one body whose divided appearance concealed a mummified unity. The recurrence of iconographical elements pertaining to markers and borders in the visual arts production in Northern Ireland reflects an awareness of its spatial fragmentation during the second half of the 20th century. The north-south partition had segmented the island as well as the region of Ulster. The period of the Troubles induced the creation of further
Markers, Borders, Crossings
and numerous internal social markers, and visible as well as invisible borderlines. Invisible borders could be found both in physical space: from one field to another, from one road to another, from one body to another. From this bodily location, they could also be seen as separating one mind from another. By extracting out of their specific occurrence the essential components of these markers and borders, artists practicing in the context of Northern Ireland were able to construct multidirectional objects and readings of the complex spatial dilemma faced by the region and its inhabitants. Benefiting from the privileged relation held by visual thought with symbolical forms, they were able notably to explore the depth and fertility of associational processes. The symbolical role of their materials and artistic devices can be understood as facilitating or suggesting passages from one state to another. These passages inscribed within signs of fragmentation could lead to the pursuit of channels of communication, potentially subverting the static enclosures produced by socio-political conflict. Imagination and interstitial exploration could nevertheless also unveil mechanisms of enclosure, tainting this invitation to travel with a poetic melancholia.
Bibliography Alastair McLennan. Is No. 1975 – 1988, Bristol: Arnolfini, 1988. Archer, Michael. “Over riding imperatives”. In Trengrove, Kerry. Points of Defence, Derry: Orchard Gallery. 1985. Available Resources. Derry: Orchard Gallery, 1992. Bossi, Lorenzo and Prince, Simon. “Writing the Sixties into Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland into the sixties”. In The Sixties: a journal of history, politics and culture, Vol. 2, Issue. 2, December 2009, 14562. Cameron, Dan. “Partial View; transgressive identity in Willie Doherty’s photographic installations”. In Willie Doherty. Dublin: Douglas Hyde Gallery, 1993. Coogan, Tim Pat. The Troubles, Ireland’s ordeal 1966-1996 and the search for peace. London: Arrow, 1996. Doherty, Willie. No Smoke without Fire. London: Matt’s Gallery, 1996. Gee, Gabriel “Négocier les Troubles. La Orchard Gallery à Derry, 19782003”. In Branland, Marine and Mastin, David. “L’art dans la guerre. La guerre dans l’art”. Textuels, Paris, Presses de l’université Paris VII, 2010, 76-80. Ingraham, Jeson. “The Irish Peace Process”. In CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet) 1998.
Jackson, Alvin. “Three Quarters of a Nation once again: Independent Ireland”. In Ireland, 1798-1998. Oxford: Blackwell, 1999, 272-330. Kelly, Liam. Thinking Long. Contemporary art in the North of Ireland. Kinsale: Gandon Editions, 1996. Kuspit, Donald. “Brian Maguire’s primitivism”. In Maguire, Brian. Paintings 1990-93, Dublin: Kerlin Gallery, Derry: Orchard Gallery, 1993. Livingstone, Richard. New Skin for Old Ceremony. Derry: Orchard Gallery, 1989. Livingstone, Richard. Heads we win, tails you lose, Belfast: Arts Council Gallery, 1992. Long, Declan. “Passage”. In Kennedy, Brian. Passage, Belfast: Golden Thread Gallery, 2007, 17. Odling-Smee, James. “Victor Sloan”. In Sloan, Victor. Walls, Derry: Orchard Gallery, 1989. Richard Long, River Avon Mud Works. Derry: Orchard Gallery, 1984. Rolfe, Nigel: Bridge. Derry: Orchard Gallery, 1981. Roycroft, Philip: A stay in two parts. Derry: Orchard Gallery, 1979. Russell, Bertrand. History of Philosophy, London: Routledge, 1996 (1st publication 1946). Sverakova, Slavka, Campbell, Wanda B., Perreault, Nathalie. “Available resources: Derry, Juin et Juillet 1991”. In Inter: art actuel, n.53, 1992, 38-45. Wallis, Roy. “Gerry Gleason: art, history and language”. In Gleason, Gerry, History and language, Derry: Orchard Gallery, 1989.
Markers, Borders, Crossings
Fig. 11-1: Kerry Trengrove, Points of Defense IV, Berlin (1984), reproduced in the 1985 Orchard Gallery publication: Kerry Trengrove. Points of Defense (courtesy of Derry City Council).
Fig. 11-2: Philip Roycroft, A stay in two parts (1979), map featuring in the 1979 Orchard Gallery publication: Philip Roycroft: A stay in two parts (courtesy of Derry City Council).
Fig. 11-3: Philip Roycroft, A stay in two parts (1979), text featuring in the 1979 Orchard Gallery publication: Philip Roycroft: A stay in two parts (courtesy of Derry City Council).
Markers, Borders, Crossings
Fig. 11-4: Gerry Gleason, Stalemate, 72 x 53, oil on canvas, 1988 (courtesy of the artist)
Fig. 11-5 and Fig. 11-6: Alastair MacLennan, Layer A Dair (1991), Actuation at the Diamond, Derry, Northern Ireland, 1pm-2pm, Saturday, 27th July 1991 (courtesy of the artist)
Markers, Borders, Crossings
Fig. 11-7: Brian Connolly, In remembrance (1991), Installation, William Adair parlour, Derry (courtesy of the artist)
Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Randon) 1978. For a conceptualisation of hybridity, see Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London: Routledge, 1994). 3 “Brown speech promotes Britishness”, BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk_politics/4611682.stm. Published: 2006/01/14. For a historical account and discussion of the construction of the British nation and Britishness, see Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707 to 1837 (New Haven: Yale UP, 1992). 4 For a study of the movements of peoples, cultural practices and ideas in the constitution of the British Empire, see for example Kathleen Wilson (ed.) The New Imperial History: Culture, Identity and Modernity 1660-1836 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004). Also, for analyses of the global in the 18th century, see Felicity A. Nussbaum (ed.) The Global Eighteenth Century (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2005). 5 Srinivas Aravamudan, Tropicopolitans: Colonialism and Agency, 1688-1804 (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1999). 6 Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eye: Travel Writing and Transculturation (London: Routledge, 1992). 2
Chapter One: Otherness and English Identity in the Colony of New York in the 17th Century 1
Nicholas Canny, Alaine Law, Origins of Empire: British Overseas Enterprise To The Close Of The Seventeenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 21-23. 2 English presence in North America had started in 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia, followed by the Puritan colonization of New England in the 1620s. In the 1660s, England enlarged its empire with the settlement in the Carolinas in 1663, New York in 1664 and Pennsylvania in 1682. 3 Edmund Bailey O’Callaghan and Bertold Fernow, eds. and trans., Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, 15 vols (Albany: Weed, Parsons, 1865-1887), hereafter quoted as DHSNY, IV, 21.
The Foreignness of Foreigners
4 Joyce D. Goodfriend, Before the Melting Pot: Society and Culture in Colonial New York City, 1664-1730 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), 62, 161. 5 Charles Lodwyck, “New York in 1692”, Collections of New York Historical Society. 2d. series, vol. 2 (New York, 1849), 244. 6 DRCHNY, IV, 526. 7 Simon David Middleton, From Privileges to Rights: Work and Politics in Colonial New York City (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), 57. 8 Edwin G., Burrows and Mike Wallace, Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 81. 9 Henry P. Hedges, History of East Hampton (Sag-Harbor: J.H. Hunt, 1897), 201. 10 William III had joined the League of Augsburg and the Netherlands (Grand Alliance, 12 May 1689) to resist Louis XIV’s invasion of the Rhenish Palatinate. War first came in the West Indies, where the French invaded the English half of St Christopher with the aid of Irish settlers who joined their Catholic coreligionists. It ended with the Treaty of Rijswick in 1697. 11 Owen Stanwood, The Empire Reformed. English America in the Age of the Glorious Revolution (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011), 481. 12 Edward T. Corwin (dir.), Ecclesiastical Records of the State of New York, 7 vols (Albany: J. B. Lyon, 1901-16), hereafter quoted as ERNY, 991, 1034, 1214, 1658, 1670, 1807, 2756, 4632. 13 The colonial Laws of New York from the year 1664 to the Revolution: including the charters to the Duke of York, the commissions and instructions to colonial governors, the Duke’s laws, the laws of the Dongan and Leisler Assemblies, the charters of Albany and New York and the acts of the colonial legislatures from 1691 to 1775 inclusive (Albany: J.B. Lyon, 1894), vol. 1, 428-30. 14 ERNY, 491. 15 DRCHNY, III, 57-59. 16 Michael Kammen, Colonial New York: A History (New York: Oxford University Press US, 1975), 83. 17 Thelma Wills Foote, Black and White Manhattan: The History of Racial Formation in Colonial New York City (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 91-92. 18 Colonial Laws, I, 123-4. 19 Randall Herbert Balmer, A Perfect Babel of Confusion: Dutch Religion and English Culture in the Middle Colonies (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 85. 20 Joyce D. Goodfriend, “The Social Dimensions of Congregational Life in Colonial New York City,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd series, 46 (1989), 266. 21 Goodfriend, “The Social Dimensions”, 270. 22 Sheldon S. Cohen, “Elias Neau, Instructor to New York’s Slaves”, New York Historical Society Quarterly, vol. 55 (1971), 7-27. 23 ERNY, 1647. 24 ERNY, 1654.
Kammen, Colonial New-York, 136. Goodfriend, Before the Melting Pot, 275. 27 DRCHNY, vol. 5, 356-7. 28 DRCHNY, vol. 5, 157. In 1686, the English Crown worried that too strict a legislation might anger slaves even more and had already warned Governor Thomas Dongan to try and limit the owners’ ill-treatment of their slaves: “provision is to be made that ye wilful killing of Indians & Negros may bee punished with death, And that a fit penalty bee imposed for the maiming of them”, DRCHNY, vol. 3, 374. 29 Thomas Archdeacon, New York City, 1664-1710: Conquest and Change (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1976), 145-6. 30 T. Foote, Black and white Manhattan, 170-171. 31 Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), 402. 32 T. Foote, Black and white Manhattan, 91. 33 Kathleen Wilson, The Island Race: Englishness, Empire and Gender in the Eighteenth Century (London: Routledge, 2003), 6-15; Nicholas Hudson, “From ‘Nation’ to ‘Race’: The Origin of Racial Classification in Eighteenth-Century Thought”, Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 29, n°3 (spring 1996), 247-264. 34 Reginald Horsman, “Origins of Racial Anglo-Saxonism in Great Britain before 1850”, Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 37, n°3 (July-September, 1976), 387410. 35 Foote, Black and white Manhattan, 150. 36 DRCHNY, vol. 5, 342. 37 T. H. Breen, “A Changing Labor Force and Race Relations in Virginia 16601710 “, Journal of Social History, vol. 7, n°1 (fall 1973), 2. Indeed, New York settlers were certainly aware of the rebellion in the neighboring colony as Sir John Werden, the secretary of the Duke of York informed Governor Edmund Andros (1674-1681) that the King “forb[ade Andros’s] admitting any of the accomplices of Bacon the cheife of the seditious in Virginia into [his] governmt; [as] they may have scattered about to debauch the fidelity or attract the pitty of the neighbour colonyes,” DRCHNY, vol. 3, 245. 38 Wilson, The Island Race, 11. 39 Colonial Laws, I, 631. 40 Middleton, From Privileges to Rights, 133. 41 DRCHNY, I, 505. 42 Charles WOLLEY, A Two Years Journal in New York and Part of its Territories in America (London, 1701), 20. 43 ERNY, 1118. 44 Wilson, The Island Race, 3. 26
The Foreignness of Foreigners
Chapter Two: ெNull’altra Musica è qui gradita che la nostra? Cultural Politics, Anti-Catholic Anxiety, and the Italian Operatic Community in London in the 1720s 1
See Gerald Newman, The Rise of English Nationalism: A Cultural History 17401830 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997) and Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837 (London: Pimlico, 1994). 2 Sidney L. Gulick, ed., Some Unpublished Letters of Lord Chesterfield (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1937), 78 (from Chesterfield’s planned treatise on education for the use of his godson written between 1762 and 1771). 3 On the production of such stereotypes and the bipolarity they rest upon, see for instance Marc Martinez, ெLe Grand Tour dans la caricature graphique et le théâtre satirique anglais au milieu du XVIIIe siècle, in Les Représentations du Sud: Du factuel au fictif, ed. Jean Mondot (Pessac: Maison des sciences de l’homme d’Aquitaine, 2003), 41-63 (especially 58-59). See also Michael Duffy, The Englishman and the Foreigner, The English Satirical Print 1600-1832 (Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey, 1986), especially 31-39, on the representation of the French. 4 In this regard the theological discourse of England as the new Israel, which was established in the 16th century, was still in use 200 years later; see for instance Hans Kohn, ெThe Genesis and Character of English Nationalism, Journal of the History of Ideas 1 (1940): 69-94; Liah Greenfeld, Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity (Cambridge, USA: Harvard University Press, 1992), 27-87 and Colley, Britons, 30-33. On the importance of the assimilation to the chosen people of the Old Testament as the ideological foundation of a typically English musical genre, see Ruth Smith, Handel’s Oratorios and Eighteenth-Century Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995). 5 See the very useful classification of themes in early Italian opera criticism to be found in Lowell Lindgren, ெCritiques of Italian Opera in London, 1705-1719, in Il melodramma italiano in Italia e in Germania nell’età barocca / Die italienische Barockoper ihre Verbreitung in Italien und Deutschland, ed. Alberto Colzani et al. (Como: Centro italo-tedesco / Deutsch-Italienisches Zentrum Villa Vigoni, 1995), 143-65. 6 The bibliography on the introduction of Italian-style opera, and soon thereafter genuine Italian opera, in London is vast. For a general overview, see Robert D. Hume, ெThe Sponsorship of Opera in London, 1704-1720, Modern Philology, 85 (1988): 420-32. For a more detailed account, see in particular Curtis Price, ெThe Critical Decade for English Music Drama, 1700-1710, Harvard Library Bulletin 26 (1978): 38-76 as well as John Merrill Knapp, ெEighteenth-Century Opera in London before Handel, 1705-1710, in British Theatre and the Other Arts, 16601800, ed. Shirley Strum Kenny (Washington: Folger Shakespeare Library; London and Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1984), 92-104.
From a letter written by Luigi Mancia to Nicola Cosimi, dated 15 January 1702 and quoted in Lindgren, ெNicola Cosimi in London 1701-1705, Studi Musicali 11 (1982): 237. 8 Charles Gildon, Les Soupirs de la Grand Britaigne: or, the Groans of Great Britain, Being The Second Part to the Groans of Europe (London: Baker, 1713), 78. The magnetism of London for Italian singers and instrumentalists remained strong throughout the 18th century and well into the next, for indeed ெto all Foreigners England [was] Elyzium. (A Fair Enquiry Into the State of Operas in England [London: Cooper (c. 1760?)], 16.) 9 Nicola Francesco Haymed, La Gierusalemme Liberata di Torquato Tasso (Londra: Tonson and Watts, 1724), I, [*a4] (from ெAl Lettore). This taste for Italian music in Britain was noted much later by foreign visitors: ெThe Italian music is that which is most esteemed in England, where it is in some measure naturalized. (Jean-André Rouquet, The Present State of the Arts in England [London: Nourse, 1755], 111 (transl. of L’État des arts en Angleterre [Paris: Jombert, 1755].) ெThe Britons prefer Italian musick to that of all Europe, except their own. (Henry Fuseli (Johann Heinrich Füssli), Remarks on the Writings and Conduct of J. J. Rousseau [London: Cadell, 1767], 91.) 10 The British Journal 20, 2 February 1723. 11 Richard Steele, The Plays, ed. Shirley Strum Kenny (Oxford: Clarendon, 1971), 273. 12 This passage, quoted in the April 1720 issue of a newspaper to which Defoe contributed, contains a glowing review of an article which Steele had written for his own periodical The Theatre some time before and in which he ridiculed Italian opera. ([Daniel Defoe] Mercurius Politicus […] for the Month of September 1720 […] [London: n. p., 1720], 51.) (Strangely enough, the article in question cannot be found in the modern critical edition of The Theatre [by John Loftis, ed., The Theatre 1720 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1962)].) 13 The Devil to pay at St. James’s: or, A full and true Account of a most horrid and bloody Battle between Madam Faustina and Madam Cuzzoni. also of a hot Skirmish between Signor Boschi and Signor Palmecini [recte: Palmerini]. moreover How Senesino has taken Snuff, is going to leave the Opera, and sing Psalms at Henley’s Oratory (London: Moore, 1727), 4-5. That same year, the following dialogue appeared in a comedy: ெColonel Beaufort: ‘we are sing-song’d at once out of our Senses, and our Money.’ Colonel Severne: ‘Thanks to a good Government, that defends us from Popery! I’m sure our Diversions are Popish enough; that is, they are perform’d in an unknown Tongue.’” (Leonard Welsted, The Dissembled Wanton; or, My Son get Money. A Comedy [London: Watts, 1727], 1-2; from the first act.) 14 Do you know what you are about? or, A Protestant Alarm to Great Britain: Proving our late Theatric Squabble, a Type of the present Contest for the Crown of Poland; and that the Division between Handel and Senesino, has more in it that we imagine. That the latter is no Eunuch, but a Jesuit in Disguise; with other Particulars of the greatest Importance (London: Roberts, 1733), 3. Known for his works against the profanity of the stage, the Reverend Arthur Bedford had slightly
The Foreignness of Foreigners
different reasons to complain about Italian opera. Earnest though they are, his accusations of blasphemy and lasciviousness seem somehow risible and are nowhere to be found in the rest of the vast critical literature against that form of entertainment: ெWhat Pity is it […] that there should not be as great Care taken of the Words, as there is of the Notes? and that whilst the one is harmonious, the other should be offensive? But here the Poets take their usual Liberty, and scorn to be confin’d […] to the Rules of Modesty and Religion. Those Pieces are generally very full of Love-Songs, and the whole Plot and Contrivance of the Poets runs in this Way. […] they are too rampant and flaming in their Discourses on the Joys of Love, especially when we consider at another time they perswade to Whoredom and Adultery. (Arthur Bedford, The Great Abuse of Musick. In Two Parts. Containing An Account of the Use and Design of Musick among the Antient Jews, Greeks, Romans, and others; with their Concern for, and Care to prevent the Abuse thereof. And also An Account of the Immorality and Profaneness, which is occasioned by the Corruption of that most Noble Science in the Present Age [London: Wyatt, 1711], 105.) Bedford’s stance is all the more singular, perhaps even extravagant, for his religious caveats do not prevent him from largely approving of some of the Italian or Italianate operas which had recently been performed in London: ெThe Opera call’d Love’s Triumph […] is comparatively modest and inoffensive. Almahide and Hydaspes are better than any of our Stage Performances. Clotilda hath several moral Sentences, and concludes with very excellent Instructions collected from the Design and Plot of the whole: And tho’ I have no Intention to excuse the Faults of either, yet in this respect, there is something in them which excels, and may shame us. (Bedford, The Great Abuse, 121.) 15 The Gray’s Inn Journal 9, 24 November 1753. 16 For Bononcini’s very positive reputation in England before he was hired as one of the two official composers of the Royal Academy of Music in 1720, see Lindgren, ெParisian Patronage of Performers from the Royal Academy of Musick (1719-1728), Music and Letters 58 (1977): 6-7. 17 For Bononcini’s early London success, see Lindgren, ெA Bibliographic Scrutiny of Dramatic Works Set by Giovanni and His Brother Antonio Maria Bononcini (PhD dissertation, University of Harvard, 1972), 247-96. For the performances of his operas, see the tables in Elizabeth Gibson, The Royal Academy of Music 17191728: The Institution and Its Directors (New York: Garland, 1989), 143, 154, as well as those in Carole Taylor, ெItalian Operagoing in London, 1700-1745 (PhD dissertation, University of Syracuse, 1991), 340-41. 18 In decreasing order, the three most frequently performed works in these two seasons, all by Bononcini, were L’Astarto (twenty-three performances between 19 November 1720 and 28 June 1721, to which should be added a revival with six performances the following season), Crispo (eighteen performances between 10 January and 16 June 1722), and Griselda (sixteen performances between 22 February and 2 June 1722). In fourth position comes Handel’s Floridante, with fifteen performances between 9 December 1721 and 26 May 1722 (see Gibson, 143, 154).
19 Letter from Giuseppe Riva to Rinaldo d’Este, 26 January 1721, quoted in Lindgren, ெBibliographic Scrutiny, 269 (also quoted in Marta Lucchi, ெDa Modena all’ Europa melodrammatica: I carteggi di Giuseppe Riva e carteggi varii, in Teatro e musica nel ’700 estense: Momenti di storia culturale e artistica, polemica di idee, vita teatrale, economia e impresariato, Historiæ Musicæ Cultores Biblioteca 73, ed. Giuseppe Vecchi and Marina Calore (Firenze: Olschski, 1994), 55. Riva had been a close friend of the composer’s for some years and might have played a part in his engagement by the directors of the Royal Academy (see Lowell Lindgren and Colin Timms, ெThe Correspondence of Agostino Steffani and Giuseppe Riva, 1720-1728, and Related Correspondence with J. P. F. von Schönborn and S. B. Pallavicini Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle 36 (2003): 12), but his opinion about Bononcini’s popularity at that time can hardly be considered an overstatement. 20 John Ernest Galliard, Six English Cantatas after the Italian Manner (London: Walsh, 1716), 2. 21 John Brown, An Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times (London: Davis and Rymers, 1757), 46. In what became a commonplace locus of early musical criticism, the author contrasts Bononcini’s style with ெthe manly, the pathetic, the astonishing Strains of Handel (Brown, 46). This is taken up much later by Charles Burney: ெBononcini’s peculiar merit in setting Italian words seems to have been out of reach of an English audience, and […] Italians were alone competent to judge of it; who say, that his knowledge in singing and in their language was such as rendered his cantilena, or melody, more natural and elegant to vocal performers, and his recitatives more passionate, and expressive of nicer sensations and inflexions, to every hearer accustomed to the tones of Italian speech, than those of his rival; but in majesty, grandeur, force, fire, and invention, which are not local beauties, but striking and intelligible in all countries, Handel was infinitely his superior. See Charles Burney, ெSketch of the Life of Handel. In An Account of the Musical Performances in Westminster-Abbey and the Pantheon, May 26th, 27th, 29th; and June the 3rd, and 5th, 1784. In Commemoration of Handel (London: Payne and Robinson, 1785; repr. New York: Da Capo, 1979), 18 (separate pagination.) See also John Hawkins, A General History of the Science and Practice of Music, 2 vols (London: for the author, 1776; repr. London: Novello, 1853), II, 861, as well as the entry ெBononcini in David Erskine Baker, The Companion to the Play-House: Or, An Historical Account of all the Dramatic Writers (and their Works) that have appeared in Great Britain and Ireland, from the Commencement of our Theatrical Exhibitions, down to the Present Year 1764, 2 vols. (London: Becket et al., 1764), II, unpaginated. 22 Letter by Jean Beddevole in Paris to Giuseppe Riva in London, 25 February 1727, quoted in Lindgren, ெBibliographic Scrutiny, 359 (Beddevole heard Bononcini’s music in the private concerts he gave for the Duchess of Marlborough in the second half of the 1720s). 23 For the list, see Lindgren, ெThe Three Great Noises ‘Fatal to the Interests of Bononcini,’ Musical Quarterly 61 (1975): 561. According to Lindgren, the total of subscribers is 237 and the total of copies bought 441; the number of subscribers
The Foreignness of Foreigners
may vary from copy to copy because some of them include names added in manuscript or late in the publishing process (the numbers mentioned above come from the copy in the British Library [shelf mark D.360]). The record of the number of copies subscribed for is held by Judith Tichborne, the wife of Charles Spencer, third Earl of Sunderland (she seems to have been a pupil of Bononcini’s; see Lindgren, ெBibliographic Scrutiny, 416). 24 About the plot, see Basil Williams, The Whig Supremacy 1714-1760 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1962), 182-84. For a more detailed narrative and analysis, see Gareth Vaughan Bennett, The Tory Crisis in Church and State, 1688-1730: The Career of Francis Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester (Oxford: Clarendon, 1975), especially 25675, as well as Edward Pearce, Sir Robert Walpole: Scoundrel, Genius and Britain’s First Prime Minister (London: Cape, 2007), 157-73. The fullest and most recent survey is Eveline Cruickshanks and Howard Erskine-Hill, The Atterbury Plot (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). 25 J. H. Plumb, Sir Robert Walpole: The King’s Minister (London: Cresset, 1960), 46. On Walpole’s political exploitation of the Atterbury plot to weaken the opposition, see also Jeremy Black, Walpole in Power (Stroud: Sutton, 2001), 2527, as well as Bruce Lenman, The Jacobite Risings in Britain, 1689-1746 (London: Eyre Methuen, 1980), 201. 26 The Post Boy 5153, 31 July-2 August 1722. The previous issue (5152, 28-31 July 1722) stated that all Catholic peers and dignitaries would be prohibited from attending the funeral. 27 See Lindgren, ெBibliographic Scrutiny, 282. According to a letter from Giuseppe Riva to Rinaldo d’Este, the Duke of Modena, dated 14 August 1722, Bononcini was selected as composer for the funeral anthem by the king, the dowager Duchess, Sarah, and the daughter and heiress of the deceased, Henrietta Churchill (see Lindgren, ெBibliographic Scrutiny, 282-83). This piece of information is not incompatible with the one to be found in The Post-Boy. 28 See mainly Lindgren, ெMusicians and Librettists in the Correspondence of Gio. Giacomo Zamboni (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MSS Rawlinson Letters 116-138), Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle 24 (1991): 1-194; Lindgren and Timms, as well as the extracts of Cocchi's London diary reproduced in Lindgren, ெBibliographic Scrutniy, 330-38. 29 See the present writer’s ெLa Duchesse de Shrewsbury et son frère : Deux crimes, deux châtiments, in Crime et châtiment dans les Îles Britanniques au dix-huitième siècle, ed. Serge Soupel (Moscou, Rubrica, 2001), 59-74. 30 On this friendship, see Lindgren, ெBibliographic Scrutiny, 328-41. 31 The diary extract appears in English translation in Lindgren, ெMusicians and Librettists, 44; it is also quoted in the Italian original in Lindgren, ெBibliographic Scrutiny, 330. 32 See Hawkins, II, 871. 33 See Cruickshanks and Erskine-Hill, 206. 34 See the present writer’s ெHistory and Sociology of the Italian Opera in London (1705-45): The Evidence of the Dedications of the Printed Librettos, Studi Musicali 27 (1998): 339-382.
See Lindgren, ெParisian Patronage, 17. Farnace Drama Da Rappresentarsi Nel Regio Teatro di Hay-Market per La Reale Accademia di Musica (London: Wood, 1723), [A3]. Anastasia Robinson was part of the cast in the secondary female role of Cirene. The libretto was derived from an homonymous one which had been set to music in Venice in 1703 (see Gibson, 195). 37 See the entry for 2 November 1723 in Lindgren, ெMusicians and Librettists, 62 (in English translation) and Lindgren, ெBibliographic Scrutiny, 331 (in the Italian original). It appears that Cocchi also wrote the dedication to Charles Douglas, third duke of Queensberry, officially signed by Bononcini, of the composer’s Calfurnia, premiered on 18 April 1724 (see the entry in Cocchi's diary for 14 March 1724 reproduced in Lindgren, ெBibliographic Scrutiny, 334). 38 Letter dated 14 December 1723 and translated in Lindgren, ெMusicians and Librettists, 65. The Italian original appears in Gibson, 198. About Pope’s longlasting friendship with Peterborough, see Maynard Mack, Alexander Pope: A Life (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985), 373-75, 649-51. 39 Alexander Pope, The Correspondence, ed. George Sherburn, 5 vols (Oxford: Clarendon, 1956), II, 123. 40 Pope, II, 190. 41 See Cruickshanks and Erskine-Hill, 17-19; about the friendship between the two men, see also Mack, 336-37. 42 See Cruickshanks and Erskine-Hill, 210-12. 43 About Pope and the Atterbury plot, see Mack, 393-402. 44 See George Sherburn, The Early Career of Alexander Pope (Oxford: Clarendon, 1934), 220-28, as well as Mack, 396-97, 430-31. 45 This hypothesis is put forward in Mack, 399. 46 An example of this allegorical use of these two Roman characters is to be found in A Letter from a Nobleman Abroad to His Friend in England, written in 1722 by George Granville, Lord Lansdowne (for these allusions and their complexity, see Cruickshanks and Erskine-Hill, 87-88). 47 See Lindgren, ெBibliographic Scrutiny, 290-94. 48 Pope, II, pp. 99-100. This was written on 27 January of an unspecified year. 1721 was the year of the publication of Bononcini’s anthology of cantatas and duets, but the letter might have been written in 1722, which would better account for Pope’s allusion to Bononcini’s ெill Treatment. 49 Manuscripts of the Earl of Egmont, Historical Manuscripts Commission, 63th report, 4 vols (London: HMSO, 1905), I, 202. In another entry of his diary dated 31 August 1731, Egmont wrote down the following anecdote, true or fabricated, to give more credit to his judgment on Bononcini: ெBononcini, the famous composer, was in the Emperor Joseph’s favour to that degree that he made him extraordinary presents above his salary, yet he had the insolence often to refuse to play when he sent to him for that purpose. At last the Emperor made him come to Court, and asked him, “Do you consider it is an Emperor whom you refuse?” “Yes,” replied the saucy fellow, “but there are many sovereign princes, and only one Bononcini.” 36
The Foreignness of Foreigners
This insolent temper obliged him to leave that Court, and he came in the late Queen’s time for England.” (Manuscripts of the Earl of Egmont, I, 201.) 50 ெHe was easily elated with success, and apt to be intoxicated with admiration and applause. John Mainwaring, Memoirs of the Life of the Late George Frederic Handel. To which is added, A Catalogue of his Works, and Observations upon them (London: Dodsley, 1760; repr. Buren: Knuf, 1964), 19. 51 This is asserted by the castrato Gaetano Berenstadt in a letter to his colleague Francesco Antonio Pistocchi dated 19 May 1724: ெquesto matto […] pretende tener testa a Bononcini e […] unito ad altri eroi della musica moderna ha suscitato mille persecuzioni e maledicenze contro Bononcini. (ெThis madman is determined to harm Bononcini and, joining his forces with those of other heroes of music in the modern taste, he has managed to damage and tarnish his reputation in numberless ways.) (quoted in Lindgren, ெLa carriera di Gaetano Berenstadt, contralto evirato [ca. 1690-1735], Rivista italiana di musicologia 19 (1984): 67); see an English translation in Lindgren, ெParisian Patronage, 20-21. The husband of Francesca Cuzzoni, Sandoni would later publish in London a collection of cantatas around 1730; in 1735, the so-called Opera of the Nobility brought his opera Issipile to the stage. 52 The Conscious Lovers. Gli amanti interni Commedia Inglese Del cavaliere Riccardo Steele, trans. Paolo Rolli (Londra: n. p., 1724), 165. 53 See Richard A. Streatfield, ெHandel, Rolli, and Italian Opera in London in the Eighteenth Century, Musical Quarterly 3 (1917): 437 and especially Lindgren, ெThe Accomplishments of the Learned and Ingenious Nicola Francesco Haym (1678-1729), Studi Musicali 16 (1987): 304-06. See also Lindgren and Timms, 84-85. 54 We know for example, among other hints, that Pope was one of the subscribers of Rolli’s edition of Guarini’s Il pastor fido published in London in 1718. Rolli was also very close not only to Bononcini, but also to Giuseppe Riva. 55 John Hervey, Earl of Bristol, The Letter-Books of John Hervey, First Earl of Bristol, 3 vols (Wells: Jackson, 1894), II, 35. 56 Lindgren, ெParisian Patronage, 16. 57 According to a letter sent by Giuseppe Riva to the composer Agostino Steffani in Hanover on 27 March 1727, it was thanks to the intervention of the Duchess that Bononcini was able to have one last opera of his, Astianatte, performed under the auspices of the Royal Academy of Music in 1727. The letter appears in the Italian original in Colin Timms, ெMusic and Musicians in the Letters of Giuseppe Riva to Agostino Steffani (1720-27), Music and Letters 79 (1998):40-41, and in both the Italian original and in English translation in Lindgren and Timms, 110. 58 Letter dated 3 November 1733, Hervey, III, p.108.
Chapter Three: Robertson’s studio. Contradictory Orients: A British Photographer in Constantinople in the Mid-Victorian Period 1
Anon., ெJerusalem, The Christian remembrancer XXXVII, no. 1 (1859). For an introduction on James Robertson, see Nissan Perez, Focus East: Early Photography in the near East (1839-1885) (New York: Abrams, 1988), 210-11.; Bahattin Öztuncay, Robertson Osmanli : Osmanli Baskentinde Fotografçi Hakkak (Istanbul: Kuzguncuk, 2013); The Photographers of Constantinople: Pioneers, Studios and Artists from 19th Century Istanbul, vol. 1 (Istanbul: Aygaz, 2003), 10152 ; James Robertson: Pioneer of Photography in the Ottoman Empire (Istanbul: Eren, 1992); B. A. Henisch and H. K. Henisch, ெJames Robertson of Constantinople; a Chronology, History of Photography History of Photography 14, no. 1 (1990);. On his relationship with the Beato brothers, see Luke Gartlan, ெJames Robertson and Felice Beato in the Crimea: Recent Findings, History of Photography 29, no. 1 (2005). On this question, see also David Beato Felice Harris, Of Battle and Beauty: Felice Beato’s Photographs of China (Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1999), 20-21. For an insight on Robertson’s views in French collections, see Roger Thérond, Une Passion Française : Photographies De La Collection De Roger Thérond (Levallois-Perret: Filipacchi, 1999); Sylvie Lacarrière Jacques Pausanias Aubenas, Voyage En Orient (Paris: Hazan, 1999). On the Egyptian and Palestinian prints of Robertson’s studio, see Colin Osman, Jerusalem: Caught in Time (New York: New York University Press, 2000), 157. For information on his views of Greece, see Claire L. J. Lyons, Antiquity and Photography: Early Views of Ancient Mediterranean Sites (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005), 231-32. 3 Lucien Naef and Weston J. Goldschmidt, The Truthful Lens: A Survey of the Photographically Illustrated Book, 1844-1914 (New York: The Grolier club, 1980). 4 Robertson-Beato’s prints can be found in the Orsay Museum and in the Bibliothèque National which holds the Comte de Paris’ album in four volumes and Jean-Charles Chenu’s views of the Crimean War as well as individual prints from the George Sirot collection. A few others are kept in The Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles has the Pierre de Gigord collection of photographs of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey, 1852-1950. The New York Public Library, the Pennsylvania State University (Henisch Collection), the Birmingham Central Library, the Courtauld Institute of Art, and the Palestine Exploration Fund (Elizabeth Finn collection) keep various examples of Robertson’s works. 5 Many European observers were aware of such shortcomings; see James J. Reid, Crisis of the Ottoman Empire: Prelude to Collapse, 1839-1878 (Stuttgart: F. Steiner, 2000), 236-307. 6 James Robertson worked with his brothers-in-law, Antonio and Felice Beato. Most views of Egypt or Palestine from 1857 by Robertson’s studio are signed 2
The Foreignness of Foreigners
ெRobertson and Beato. There is little doubt that he had a major influence on them in the 1850s even if they became well-known practitioners of photography on their own after their formative years. Felice Beato (1832-1909) founded his own studio in Japan in 1864 and Antonio Beato (1825-1906) opened his in Luxor in 1862. 7 Frederick, 2nd Lord Methuen (1818-1891) served in the Crimean War. His album of Crimean photographs was sold in May 1999 at Christie’s (Sale 8373, Fine and Rare Photographs, May 7, 1999, London). 8 There are at least two versions of this view at the National Library of France (Cabinet des Estampes). One in the Comte de Paris’ folios signed ெRobertson and Beato (accession n° RESERVE VH- 315 (1-4) FOL), the other one from the George Sirot collection, published here, is only signed “Robertson” (accession n° RESERVE VH- 273 –FOL). 9 On early 19th century exoticism, see Tim Kitson, Peter J. Fulford, Romanticism and Colonialism: Writing and Empire, 1780-1830 (Cambridge, United Kingdom; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 169-75. On the picturesque, see Linda Nochlin, The Politics of Vision: Essays on Nineteenth-Century Art and Society (New York: Harper & Row, 1989), 33-59. 10 Richard Robert Madden, The Turkish Empire. In Its Relations with Christianity and Civilization, vol. 2 (London: T.C. Newby, 1862), 390. 11 The structure above the gate was sometimes used by the ladies of the Harem and was eventually destroyed in the latter half of the 19th century, see Gülru Necipoglu, Architecture, Ceremonial, and Power: The Topkapi Palace in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries (New York: MIT Press, 1991), 38-39. Among many others, see Billie Melman, Women’s Orients: English Women and the Middle East, 17181918: Sexuality, Religion, and Work (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992), 59. 12 Thomas Walsh R. Allom, Constantinople and the Scenery of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor, Illustrated, vol. 1 (London; Paris: Fisher, Son, & Co., 1838), 7. 13 Bartlett W. H. Virtue George Clay Richard Pardoe, The Beauties of the Bosphorus (London: George Virtue, 1839). 14 Robertson and Beato, Couvent de Mar Saba, salted paper print, 1857 (Comte de Paris’ folio, Jérusalem et la Syrie, 1859, National Library of France, 21). David Roberts’ works were published in George Croly, The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt and Nubia. From Drawings Made on the Spot by David Roberts, R.A. (London: F.G. Moon, 1842). 15 James Robertson, Photographic Views of Constantinople (London: Joseph Cundall, 1853). 16 For instance, see the Illustrated London News, February 3, 1855, 113; February 17, 1855, 149. 17 Walter Thornbury, Turkish Life and Character (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1860); Théophile Gautier, Constantinople of Today: Translated From the French, by Robert Howe Gould. Illustr. With Engravings from Photographic Pictures (London: Bogue, 1854).
18 On the notion of distinction in the early uses of photography see P. L. Roubert, ெLes Fonds De La Distinction: Le Financement Des Sociétés Photographiques Du XIXe Siècle, Etudes Photographiques 24 (2009). 19 Getty Research Institute, Pierre de Gigord Collection. 20 Alberto Pasini’s La Porte de la Mosquée de Yeni-Djami à Constantinople (oil on canvas, 163 x 116 cm, Nantes, Musée des Beaux-Arts). 21 Jean-Léon Gérôme, Le général Bonaparte au Caire, oil on canvas, 88.9 x 74.9 cm, 1871, Metropolitan Museum New York, see Nezar AlSayyad, Making Cairo Medieval (Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2005), 115. 22 One of the most extensive collections of Robertson-Beato’s Crimean War photographs is located in the National Library of France (archives of the Société de Géographie, accession n° SG WC- 186). It is an album collected by Jean-Charles Chenu (1808-1879), a doctor and naturalist who participated in the Crimean campaign in 1855. 23 Jennifer Green-Lewis, Framing the Victorians: Photography and the Culture of Realism (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1996), 97-148. 24 Mary A. Favret, War at a Distance: Romanticism and the Making of Modern Wartime (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010), 212. 25 From a review of Roberston Crimean photographs published in 1856, Anon., ெPhotographic Pictures of Sebastopol, The Art Journal XVIII(1856). 26 See Ernest Benecke’s Children from the Village of Kalabshah, Nubia, 1852, Salted paper print from paper negative, 6 ¾ x 8 ½ in. (17 x 21.5 cm), Gilman Collection, Metropolitan Museum, New York, (www.metmuseum.org/toah/worksof-art/2005.100.257). 27 John Murray, A Hand-Book for Travellers on the Continent (London: Murray, 1861). 28 Luke Gartlan makes a very strong case to distinguish between costumes and types: Luke Gartlan, ெTypes or Costumes? Reframing Earlyyokohama Photography, Visual Resources XXII, no. 3 (2006). Ernest Lacan, who published a review of Robertson’s prints at the French Exposition Universelle in 1855, used the term ெtypes to categorize his scenes, see Ernest Lacan, Esquisses Photographiques, À Propos De L’exposition Universelle Et De La Guerre D’orient (Paris: Grassart, 1856), 105. 29 Eleanor M. Sampson and Gary D. Hight, Colonialist Photography: Imag(in)ing Race and Place (London: Routledge, 2002), 117. 30 James Robertson’s Street Peddlers, Constantinople, c.1853, was reproduced on the cover of Kathleen Stewart Howe, First Seen: Portraits of the World’s Peoples, 1840-1880 (Santa Barbara, CA: Santa Barbara Museum of Art , 2004). 31 Anon., ெOmer Pacha – with a Portrait, The Anglo-American Magazine 6(1855). 32 Getty Research Institute, collection Pierre de Gigord, (accession no. 96. R.1) see for example A2.F09: Costume de Maison. For another illustration of “Turkish life” see Robertson’s Street Merchant in Sylvie Aubenas and Jacques Lacarrière, op.cit., 199.
The Foreignness of Foreigners
33 J. Forbes Watson and John William Kaye, The People of India: A Series of Photographic Illustrations, with Descriptive Letterpress, of the Races and Tribes of Hindustan (London: India Museum, 1868). 34 Derek Gregory, ெEmperors of the Gaze: Photographic Practices and Productions of Space in Egypt, 1839-1914, in Picturing Place: Photography and the Geographical Imagination, ed. Joan Schwartz et al. (London: I.B. Tauris, 2002), 195-225. 35 James Robertson and Felice Beato, Le barrage du Nil à Kala-Saida, Egypte, salted paper print, 23.8 x 30.2 cm, 1857 (from the Duc de Chartres’ album Voyage en Orient, fifth folio, kept at the Orsay Musuem, accession n°PHO 1985 122 3, a caption of the print is published on the museum’s website: http://www.museeorsay.fr/fr/collections/catalogue-des-oeuvres/notice.html?nnumid=31544). For an analysis of such discrepancies in a later period, see Michelle L. Woodward, ெBetween Orientalist Cliches and Images of Modernization: Photographic Practice in the Late Ottoman Era, History of Photography XXVII, no. 4 (2003). 36 Orsay Museum, salted paper print, 29 x 25 cm, circa 1860, accession n° PHO 1996 5 70 (http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/index-of-works/notice. html?no_cache=1&nnumid=083328&cHash=9f2b2c3084) 37 See Illustrated London News, August 14, 1855; Oriental and Turkish Museum, Catalogue of the Oriental and Turkish Museum, St. George’s Gallery, Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly (London: Golbourn, 1854). 38 Ulrich Keller, The Ultimate Spectacle: A Visual History of the Crimean War (Australia; Amsterdam, Netherlands: Gordon and Breach, 2001), 64. Albert Smith, Hand-Book to the Grand Moving Diorama of Constantinople: Including the Dardanelles, and the Bosphorus, up to the Entrance of the Black Sea, Which Is Now Open in the New Room at the Egyptian Hall (London, 1854). 39 John Salt, ெLocal Manifestations of the Urquhartite Movement, Int. Rev. Soc. His. International Review of Social History 13/3 (1968). 40 Eric Anduze, La Franc-Maçonnerie au Moyen-Orient et Au Maghreb fin XIXedébut XXe Siècle (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2005). Jean-François Solnon, Le Turban et sa stambouline : l’Empire Ottoman et l’Europe, XIVe-XXe siècle, affrontement et fascination réciproques (Paris: Perrin, 2009), 487. 41 Terry Bennett, Early Japanese Images (Rutland: Tuttle, 1996), 39. 42 Jessica Harland-Jacobs, Builders of Empire: Freemasons and British Imperialism, 1717-1927 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007). 43 James Robertson views of Greece, Egypt and Constantinople, Research Library, The Getty Research Institute (accession n° 2001.R.1; image ID: 2001.R.1.66). It is available online on the Getty Research Institute website: http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/digital_collections/index.html). 44 This collection of hundreds of photographs is kept by the Library of Congress, Washington D.C., most of the prints, showing a modernized Ottoman Empire, are digitized and available online (http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/ahii/). Thanks are due to Malcolm Stuart for his precious comments and to the GSPE – UMR Prisme (Université de Strasbourg) for assisting towards travel for research.
Chapter Four: “Never the Twain Shall Meet”: The Impossible Encounter of Self and Other in the Illustrations of Nineteenth-Century British Travel Books on Egypt 1
On the ideological construction of otherness in colonial discourse, see Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London: Routledge Classics, 1994) and James Duncan, ெSites of Representation. Place, Time and the Discourse of the Other, in Place/ Culture/ Representation, ed. James Duncan et al. (London: Routledge, 1993). 2 We use the term “view” to refer to realistic representations of sites (whether ancient, Islamic or modern – a view of a natural site being referred to as a landscape), as opposed to maps, sections and elevations. Views are typically structured by a strongly marked point of view and based on the three-distance convention, including characters and elements of the scenery. 3 We use the term “scene” to refer to illustrations that show one or more character(s) involved in some action and depict the scenery in which this action takes place, whereas we use the term “figures” for representations of one or more character(s) that are not unified by a common action or scenery. 4 See for example in Amelia Edwards’ A Thousand Miles up the Nile the title page wood-cut “Gertássee”; see also in Eliot Warburton’s The Crescent and the Cross the frontispiece “Egyptian Travel” (vol. 1); and in Isabella Romer’s A Pilgrimage to the Temples […] “Dahabieh, or Boat on the Nile” vol 1: 112. 5 For examples of portraits of the author used as frontispieces, see George Frederick Weston, Journal of a Tour in Europe and the East, 1844-1846 (London: Seeley and Co. Limited, 1894); Harvey Attfield, A Private Journal in Egypt, from May 1894 to May 1895 (London: Printed by Spottiswoode and Co, 1895); Andrew Haggard, Under Crescent and Star (Edinburgh, London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1896). For an example showing the author in Oriental dress, see the frontispiece “Head of Burckhardt” in John Lewis Burckhardt’s Travels in Syria and Holy Land (London: John Murray, 1822). 6 For examples of illustrations using the scientific mode of representation, see the “Ground Plan of the Great Temple of Ebsambal” in Charles Leonard Irby and James Mangles’ Travels in Egypt and Nubia, Syria, and Asia Minor, during the years 1833-34, and -25 […] (London: John Murray, 1871), 80; “Section of the Pyramid” in William Henry Bartlett, The Nile Boat […] (London: A. Hall and Virtue, 1850), 103; “Head of Ti” in Amelia Edwards, A Thousand Miles up the Nile, 62 and “Early Christian Shrine, Philae” (Amelia Edwards, A Thousand Miles up the Nile, 218) and “Shrines of Osiris 1, 2 and 3” (Edwards, 227-8). 7 According to The Dictionary of Art, the term “staffage” designates “small figures and animals used to enliven a landscape or architectural composition”. 8 For examples of illustrations showing shadoofs or sakkiehs, see Thomas Walsh “Methods Used for Overflowing the Lands” facing, in Journal of the Late
The Foreignness of Foreigners
Campaign in Egypt […] (London: T. Cadell, 1893), 249; see “The Shádoof” in Edward William Lane, An Account of the Manners and Customes of the Modern Egyptians […], vol. 2: 25; Bartlett “Water-wheel on the Lower Nile”, 40, “The Shadoof” facing 136; Edwards “Sakkieh, or Water-wheel”, 257, “The Shadoof” 110; “Abû Tîg” in Anthony Wilkin, On the Nile with a Camera, 79. Illustrations showing Egypt’s modernity appear in a very limited number of travel accounts on Egypt, especially in those published after the 1880s and in those including reproductions of photographs. 9 See for example Bartlett “Karnak – Grand Hall”, frontispiece; Edwards “Hypostyle Hall, Karnak”, 149.
Chapter Five: Beyond the Screen: Encountering Otherness in W. Somerset Maugham’s On a Chinese Screen (1922) 1
See Jeffrey Meyers, Somerset Maugham, A Life (New York: A. Knopf, 2004), 391-392. 2 Maugham visited Burma, Siam, Cambodia, and Vietnam in 1922-1923. 3 Maugham published The Gentleman in the Parlour in 1930. 4 William Hazlitt, “On Going a Journey” , in Selected Writings, ed. Ronald Blythe (London, Penguin, 1982), 141-142. 5 Gaudichon’s essay (in French) appears in Geneviève Verseau, Une histoire de paravent (Paris: Somogy, 2005), 9. 6 See Chapters 1 (“The Spirit of Andalusia”) and 14 (“Characteristics”), for instance. In the first of these chapters, Maugham writes: “After one has left a country it is interesting to collect together the emotions it has given in an effort to define its particular character” (Maugham 1920, 11). In the second, he asserts: “It is a hazardous thing to attempt the analysis of national character, for after all, however careful the traveller may be in his inquiries, it is from the few individuals himself has known that his most definite impressions are drawn. Of course he can control his observations by asking the opinion of foreigners long resident in the country; but curiously enough in Andalusia precisely the opposite occurs from what elsewhere is usual. Aliens in England, France, or Italy, with increasing comprehension, acquire also affection and esteem for the people among whom they live; but I have seldom found in Southern Spain a foreigner […] who had a good word to say for the Andalusians.” (Maugham 1920, 77) 7 “Fear” is the title of this 11th sketch. 8 A phrase used by Louise Maunsell Field in her February 1923 review in The New York Times. See W. Somerset Maugham: The Critical Heritage (London: Routledge, 1987), 155. 9 In a proleptic sentence, Maugham imagines his daughter Elizabeth “very smart in the white squirrel I brought her from China” (Maugham 1922, 63).
10 Seeing that Maugham did not jot down these sketches in an actual notebook but rather on loose scraps of paper, which he set in some kind of order once he was back in Europe, one can assert that Maugham consciously built up this growing sense of unease, and even felt that it gave the narrative more weight and drama, heralding as it does the necessity to prepare for the homeward trip. 11 Maugham has in mind the German town of Worms. 12 Maugham 1938, 46-49. 13 Concerning this character (Macalister), the narrator wishes he could learn the logic behind such an evolution: “I wondered by what steps he had come to be the man I knew now from the man he had been then. This is the story I should like to write.” (Maugham 1922, 49) 14 See the 42nd sketch, “The Sights of the Town”. 15 Maugham 1938, 48-49. 16 See Robert Calder, Willie: The Life of W. Somerset Maugham (London: Heinemann, 1989), 162.
Chapter Six: (Per)forming the Self through the Other: Gender, Transgression, Writing in Anna Jameson’s Winter Studies and Summer Rambles im Canada (1838) 1
The Western name of this prototypical Indian woman comes from her marriage with an Irish fur trader. 2 “I have only to add that, on no subject do I wish to dictate an opinion, or assume to speak as one having authority: my utmost ambition extends no farther than to suggest matter for inquiry and reflection.” (Jameson 4) 3 Voyageurs were boatmen employed by the fur companies to transport goods and passengers to and from trading posts, especially in Canada. 4 On several occasions, Jameson invites her readers to come and see by themselves, stressing the uniqueness of the experience and its untranslatability. See for instance: “Can you imagine my bliss, my gratitude? No! Impossible unless you had travelled three days through the wilds of Canada.” (Jameson 257). 5 ANTOLYCUS: I know you are now, sir, a gentleman born. CLOWN: Ay, and have been so any time these four hours. (Shakespeare 335) 6 “[A] paradoxical locality, paratopia, which is not the absence of any location but a difficult negotiation between belonging to a place and not belonging, a parasitic localisation which exists through the impossibility of stabilization itself” (my translation).
The Foreignness of Foreigners
Chapter Seven: The Role of Missionaries in Forging British Identity: The Church Missionary Society and the London City Mission, 1870-1900 1
Reverend John Walton, “Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the LCM Committee,” LCM Magazine, June 1870, 142. 2 “Address to the Missionaries on New Year’s Day,” LCM Magazine, February 1868, 26. 3 James Salter, The East in the West, or Work Among the Asiatics and Africans in London (London: Partridge & Co., 1895), 24. 4 James Salter, The East in the West, 17. 5 James Salter, The East in the West, 65; 57. 6 James Salter, The East in the West, 57. 7 Wilson to CMS, December 22, 1877 (CMS Archives, Birmingham University). 8 Wilson to CMS, March 2, 1877 (CMS Archives, Birmingham University). 9 CM Gleaner, March 1880, 33; 26; 36. 10 “The Two Districts in St Giles’s Relinquished in 1866 for Want of Funds,” LCM Magazine, January 1868, 2. 11 “The Thirty-Third Annual Report,” LCM Magazine, June 1868, 119. 12 “Address to the Missionaries on New Year’s Day,” LCM Magazine, February 1868, 30. 13 “The Funds of the Society,” CM Magazine, June 1866, 52. 14 The Germans were praised for their “perseverance, […] self-sacrifice and devotion” during the siege of Paris; one only had to look into the knapsacks of the soldiers to realize that religion and morality had deserted the French: “the knapsacks of the French contained those immoral productions and packs of cards; but in the knapsacks of the Germans were found, as a rule, copies of the Word of God.” Rev. Patterson, “Proceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the LCM Committee,” LCM Magazine, June 1871, 131. 15 Major Lake, “Proceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the LCM Committee,” LCM Magazine, June 1871, 120 (my emphasis) 16 Rev. Canon Nisbet, “Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the LCM Committee,” LCM Magazine, June 1872, 130. 17 Shepherd Allen, LCM Magazine, 132. 18 Reverend MacDonald, “Proceedings of the 44th Annual Meeting of the LCM Committee” LCM Magazine, June 1879, 142. 19 Reverend Edward Garbett, “Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the LCM Committee,” LCM Magazine, June 1872, 123. 20 Susan Thorne, “‘The Conversion of Englishmen and the Conversion of the World Inseparable’: Missionary Imperialism and the Language of Class in Early Industrial Britain,” in Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World, ed. Frederick Cooper et al. (Berkeley: UCP, 1997), 238-239.
21 Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler, “Between Metropole and Colony: Rethinking a Research Agenda,” in Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World, ed. Frederick Cooper et al. (Berkeley: UCP, 1997), 9. 22 Reverend A.W. Snape, “Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the LCM Committee,” LCM Magazine, June 1873, 126. 23 Reverend Dr. Mackay, “Proceedings of the 45th Annual Meeting of the LCM Committee,” LCM Magazine, June 1880, 136. 24 W. Shepherd Allen, “Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the LCM Committee,” LCM Magazine, June 1872, 132. 25 Reverend J.F. Kitto, “Proceedings of the 40th Annual Meeting of the LCM Committee,” LCM Magazine, June 1875, 131. 26 Reverend Daniel Wilson, “Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Meeting of the LCM Committee,” LCM Magazine, June 1868, 125. 27 Reverend John Walton, “Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the LCM Committee,” LCM Magazine, June 1870, 144. 28 Walton, LCM Magazine, 142. 29 Reverend Donald Fraser, “Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the LCM Committee,” LCM Magazine, June 1872, 127. 30 Earl of Shaftesbury, “Proceedings of the 44th Annual Meeting of the LCM Committee,” LCM Magazine, June 1879, 126. 31 Jean and Jane Comaroff, “Home-Made Hegemony: Modernity, Domesticity and Colonialism in South Africa,” in African Encounters with Domesticity, ed. Karen Tranberg Hansen (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1992), 65. 32 Reverend John Walton, LCM Magazine, 142. 33 Earl of Shaftesbury, “Proceedings of the 44th Annual Meeting of the LCM Committee,” LCM Magazine, June 1879, 130. 34 John Thomson, Victorian London Street Life (New York: Dover Publications, 1877-1994), 1; 54; 124. 35 Reverend MacDonald, “Proceedings of the 44th Annual Meeting of the LCM Committee,” LCM Magazine, June 1879, 142.
Chapter Eight: Men of Aran, Strangers on the Fringe of Europe: Authentic or Aesthetic Forms of Otherness? 1 Throughout the 19th century, science backed up an evolutionist perception of the Irish and their differences went along with the scientifically grounded superiority of the Anglo-Saxons. See L. P. Curtis, Apes and Angels: the Irishman in Victorian Caricature (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1971); Curtis L. P. Jr, Anglo-Saxons and Celts: a study of Anti-Irish Prejudices in Victorian England (Bridgeport: New York University Press, 1968); David Hayton, “From Barbarian to Burlesque: English Images of the Irish, c. 1660-1750”, Irish Economic and Social History, 15 (1998): 5-31; Michael Hetcher, Internal Colonialism: the Celtic Fringe in British National Development 1536-1996 (Berkeley: Taylor & Francis, 1975, reed. 1996).
The Foreignness of Foreigners
In 1927 several members of the Gaelic League created the Folklore of Ireland Society to collect, publish and preserve the country’s folklore. In 1930, the government established the Irish Folklore Institute, which was replaced by the Irish Folklore Commission, attached to the Department of Education, in 1935. 3 Knapp’s article on Synge and Gauguin emphasizes the European taste for primitivism. 4 Haddon is known to have read this version and quotes the editor’s footnote. 5 The 1893 fifteenth report of the Folklore Society, closely tied to Haddon’s anthropometric project, stipulated that the members should select villages (in England or in the British Isles) that “contain not less than a hundred adults, the large majority of whose forefathers have lived there so far back as can be traced”. Folk-Lore Society. Fifteenth Annual Report of the Council. Folklore, Vol. 4, No. 1 (March 1893), 112-118. 6 George Petrie collected archaeological material for the Ordnance Survey. On the instrumentalization of anthropology, see Delmas, Vandamme and SpaldingAndréolle, Science and Empire in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010). 7 Synge was 27 when he went to the Aran Islands for the first time in l898, armed with a typewriter and a camera. Yeats and Synge undertook their first tour of the Congested Districts in 1905. They had been commissioned to write a series of articles, “In the Congested Districts”, on the effect of the Famine by the editor of the Manchester Guardian, C. P. Scott. In these articles, Synge “chronicled with restraint, mindful to avoid both sensationalism and sanctification” (Dalsimer, 207). 8 He underscored the prevalence of “dysfunctional culture forms”, factionalism and antagonism within the families, as well as personality disorders. He also debunked the myth of the islands’ self-reliability (Messenger, 51). 9 Haddon was not the first to carry out a survey in the islands: William Wilde had led the “Ethnological Section of the British Association to Aran” in 1857 (Ashley, 8). 10 Brabrook, the secretary of the British Association for the Advancement of Science’s committee for the ethnographical survey of the UK reported in 1893 that: “I proposed that negatives should be obtained, in full face and also in profile, in each district, of individual adults answering to the description ‘very pure’ in the Committee’s schedule of statistics of nationality”. See Alison Petch, Photographic evidence used by the Ethnographical Survey of the UK, http://england.prm.ox.ac.uk/englishness-Photographs-and-the-EthnographicalSurvey.html 11 He continues: “the face being remarkably long, the chin very long and narrow, but not angular; the nose long, straight, and pointed; the brows straight, or rising obliquely outwards; the eyes light, with very few exceptions; the hair of various colors, but usually dark brown”. 12 Skelton shared with the English artists from the Eudson Road School a commitment to social realism and favored depictions of traditional communities.
13 He confesses that “it is part of the misfortune of Ireland that nearly all the characteristics which give colour and attractiveness to Irish life are bound up with a social condition that is near to penury” (Dalsimer, 210). 14 “The Aran Islands transforms the local into the universal; there is no sense of historical time to distract his portrayal of peasant characters” (Partridge, 214). Clifford James noted that even though Synge described real cultural events, he also made “moral, ideological, and even cosmological statements”, in other words, The Aran Islands are an “ethnographic allegory” (Clifford, 98). 15 He describes people who, though living in hovels, live lives which have “the strange quality that is found in the oldest poetry and legend” and who share the charm of this humble life with flowers and birds (Synge, 63). 16 Edward Said also stressed the persistent visual tropes that conveyed an almost theatrical representation of the Orient. 17 For all that, she does not remain indifferent to the hardships of the islanders: evictions are evoked and the buying of the lands by the Congested Districts Board. 18 For an analysis of the film, see: Fuad Quintar, Robert Flaherty et le Documentaire Poétique (Paris: Minard, 1960); Richard Griffith, The World of Robert Flaherty (Michigan: Duell, Sloane and Pearce, 1953); William Christopher, Realism and Cinema, a Reader (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul in association with the British Film Institute, 1980) and Richard Barsam, The Vision of Robert Flaherty; the Artist as Myth and Filmmaker (Indiana University Press, 1988). 19 A sense of the sublime inevitably crops up when Synge describes his arrival on the islands: “a dense shroud of mist” first surrounds the boat (Synge, 7), then “a dreary rock appeared at first sloping up from the sea into the fog” (Synge, 7). “A week of sweeping fogs has passed over and given me a strange sense of exile and desolation” (Synge, 29). Men “live forgotten in these worlds of mist” (Synge, 30). The barrenness is described as “wilderness” (Synge, 29) and Synge is awed by “the horror of the mist” (Synge, 30). 20 “If we were dropped into the blue chasm of the waves, this death, with the fresh sea saltness in one’s teeth, would be better than most deaths one is likely to meet” (Synge, 49); “The sense of solitude was immense. I could not see or realize my own body, and I seemed to exist merely in my perception of the waves and of the crying birds, and the smell of seaweed” (Synge, 75). 21 As Anne O’Dowd explains, the island women had begun to knit jumpers and cardigans for sale for a cash income, in the late 1920s early 1930s (O’Dowd, 79).
Chapter Nine: An Army of Invisible Men? Pakistani Workers in Britain (1945-1970) 1
On the first instance, see T. W. E. Roche, The Key in the Lock, Immigration Control in England from 1066 to the present (London: John Murray, 1969), 47-48; on the second, see Colin Holmes (ed.), Immigrants and Minorities in British Society (London: Allen & Unwin, 1978), 132-3.
The Foreignness of Foreigners
Police search into some Stepney homes were made after some complaints had been issued by neighbours. A poor, Jewish East End area, Stepney was regularly described as a no-go, un-British area. On 3 January 1911, two armed burglars, actually Latvian revolutionaries, were trapped in a house at 100 Sydney Street after having killed three of the policemen who had tried to arrest them. Young Winston Churchill, then Home Secretary, brought in a detachment of Scots Guards, and when the building caught fire, Churchill gave the order to let it burn. 3 See, among other essays, Racisme : la responsabilité des élites (Paris: Textuel, 2007), 79-80. 4 Quoted in City Close-Up (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971), 43. 5 See his essay, La Double absence, des illusions de l’émigré aux souffrances de l’immigré (Paris: Seuil, 1999), 11. 6 Bradford Central Library, Bradford oral archives, C0104. 7 On this point, see M. Quraishi, Muslims and Crime, a Comparative Study (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005). 8 See Olivier Esteves, Les Communautés irlandaises à Glasgow et Liverpool : sectarisme et identité (1880-1945), PhD Thesis (Lille III University, 2002), 322. 9 See E. J. B. Rose (ed.), Colour and Citizenship, A Report on British Race Relations (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), 442. 10 Rose, Colour and Citizenship, 445-446. 11 See John Rex, Robert Moore, Race, Community and Conflict, a study of Sparkbrook (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969), 165. 12 See W. W. Daniels, Racial Discrimination in England (Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1968), 41. 13 A concept which emerged from a study of Sparkbrook (see Moore, Race, Community and Conflict). Urban social groups are here conceptualized in terms of a struggle over the allocation of scarce resources, the main focus being access to desirable suburban housing. In Birmingham, ethnicity was a key issue in determining access, linked both with disadvantage in the market and the bureaucratic regulation of public-sector housing allocation. Immigrants to the city from abroad lacked the sizeable and secure income necessary to raise a loan for house-purchase, and were excluded from local authority housing by a priorresidence qualification, which forced them into sub-standard multi-occupied dwellings supplied by private landlords in the inner city. 14 Quoted in Pnina Werbner, “Avoiding the ghetto, Pakistani Migrants and settlement shifts in Manchester”, New Community, Vol. VII (n°3) (1979): 379. 15 See Rose, Colour and Citizenship, 248. 16 For one such story on unscrupulous Pakistani landlords, see The Times, March 2, 1963, 5. 17 Quoted in Dervla Murphy, A Tale from Two Cities, Travels of another sort (London: J. Murray, 1987), 12. 18 Quoted in Muhamad Anwar, The Myth of Return: Pakistanis in Rochdale (London: Heinemann, 1979), 102-3. 19 See Ralph Fevre, Cheap Labour and Racial Discrimination (Aldershot: Gower Publishers, 1984), 110-1.
20 Joanna Herbert, Negotiating Boundaries in the City, Migration, Ethnicity, and Gender in Britain (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), 152-3. 21 See Bradford Central Library, Bradford oral archives, C0123. 22 See Olivier Esteves, De l’invisibilité à l’islamophobie, musulmans britanniques (1945-2010) (Paris: Presses de Sciences-Po, 2011), 62. 23 Quoted in Fevre, Cheap Labour, 108-9. 24 Quoted in Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, The Empire Strikes Back, Race and Racism in 70s Britain (London: Routledge, 1992), 264. 25 See Bradford Central Library, Bradford oral archives, C0123. 26 Actually, the very first strike involving Asian workers was at Red Scar Mill (Preston, 1965). See Esteves, De l’invisibilité…, 55-57. 27 Bradford Central Library, Bradford oral archives, C0030. 28 Bradford Central Library, Bradford oral archives, C0123. 29 Quoted in Roger Swift, Sheridan Gilley (eds.), The Irish in the Victorian City (Kent: Croom Helm, 1985), 149. 30 On this last point, see Joanna Herbert, Negociating Boundaries, 77. 31 The Pakistani publican in question was named Mohammed Sayeed, who took over a pub which he wanted to be “a place where Pakistanis could feel at home and converse in their own language”. “Pakistani to be publican”, The Times, January 3, 1963, 5. 32 The Times, January 3, 1963, 111. 33 Quoted in Peter L. Wright, The Coloured Worker in British Industry (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968), 189. 34 See Bradford Central Library, Bradford oral archives, C0123. 35 Geoff Mungham, Geoff Pearson, Working-class youth culture (London: Routledge / Kegan Paul, 1976), 49-82. 36 The Daily Mirror cartoonist Stanley Franklin wrongfooted such assumptions about alleged Pakistani meekness with a cartoon published on April 21, 1970 in which he showed two of them, with a huge tiger in leash, warning skin-heads that they were about to fight back. All cartoons mentioned in this chapter may be viewed online on the British Cartoon Archive website. 37 See Charles Husband (ed.), Race in Britain, continuity and change (London: Hutchinson, 1982), 47. 38 Quoted in Amrit Wilson, Finding a Voice, Asian Women in Britain (London: Virago, 1978), 95. 39 Quoted in Seabrook, City Close-up, 44-5 (the next quote is on the same page). 40 See Dervla Murphy, A Tale from Two Cities, 32. 41 A cartoon by Emmwood published in the Daily Mail (July 4, 1970) conflates such urban myths about Pakistanis settling by stealth with concern over Irish terrorism. It shows an English couple busy searching their house. The wife tells her husband she has just found 10 Brent guns in the attic, to which the husband replies: “That’s nothing, I’ve found 200 Pakistanis in the cellar”. Among other bogus claims on Pakistanis, one may mention the false allegation made by a delegate at the annual conference of the Prison Officers’ Association, according to which
The Foreignness of Foreigners
white children at a Birmingham school including many immigrant pupils had been told they must learn “Pakistani”. The Times, May 26, 1978, 5. 42 The TDA database was searched to find articles with the term Pakistani appearing in the title, not in the content thereof. When that second search option was chosen, the number of occurrences was far too high to conduct a systematic weeding out of items dealing with Pakistan proper. The sample of articles consulted for this paper thus vastly minimises the number of occurrences on which The Times talked about Pakistanis in Britain en passant. Still it offers a valuable insight into the periods during which interest in Pakistanis flares up (obviously in the decade between 1967 and 1977) and into why their plight in Britain is considered newsworthy by The Times journalists and editor. 43 This newsreel may be viewed in the British Pathé online archive. Very few Pathé newsreels show Pakistani migrants in the UK, especially if one compares this with the numerous pieces on West Indians. Among the thousands of newsreels which may be consulted on the British Pathé website, the only footage tackling the Pakistani presence in the UK is one 1949 reel on Pakistani nurses training at Mile End Hospital, one 1960 piece entitled “Smallpox Menace” and a 1976 mute film showing an Indian and Pakistani section of London. 44 For attention to Pakistanis in this series, see “The Dark Million 1”, January 18, 1965, 6; “The Dark Million 6”, January 23, 1965, 9. From early February to March, a considerable number of letters to the editor seem to have reached The Times, to judge from the numerous reactions which were subsequently published. 45 April 23, 1955, 5. 46 Numerous cartoons published from the mid-1960s show Pakistanis using various unlikely disguises to enter British territory. It is ironic that Pakistanis became more visible in the media once illegal entry became an issue. For a particularly striking example of such arrivals by stealth, see Jak, Evening Standard, August 25, 1970, a cartoon showing Pakistanis arriving on the English shore dressed as Catholic nuns. 47 May 21, 1969, 3. 48 July 24, 1961, 10; June 16, 1965, 12. 49 “UK conditions for Pakistani doctors ‘are unfair’”, August 13, 1976, 3; “BBC drops Pakistani”, May 18, 1970, 2. 50 “Pakistani for local health post”, June 28, 1962, 17; “Pakistani is new Oxford race relations officer”, January 29, 1972, 4. 51 Based on a mid-1950s fieldwork, probably made in Leicester. See the second edition published by Sage, 1994. 52 For a contemporary and devastating attack on Powell’s statistics, see Paul Foot, The Rise of Enoch Powell (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969). 53 For the way Powell managed to convince mainstream Britons on this point, see Jeremy Seabrook, op.cit., 115 (Alan, caretaker, 34, “I’ve had dealings with them [immigrants]. I think it should be stopped before we have all this that’s on in America, black and white fighting”); 161 (anonymous apprentice mechanic, “If you let so many of them live together, you’ll get the same problem you’ve got in America”).
Quoted in George Orwell, As I Please, 1943-1945, edited by Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus (Boston: Non Pareil Books, 2007), 335. 55 On the relevance of this in race relation terms, see Gérard Noiriel, Racisme..., 30. 56 See Simon Clarke, Steve Garner, White Identities, a Critical Sociological Approach (London: Pluto Press, 2010), 77-8.
Chapter Ten: Schadenfreude and Anglo-French Relations in the 20th Century: Knocking Pauvre France, Building up Great Britain: A French Foil for British Identity 1
MENGIN, Robert. La France vue par l’étranger (Paris: La Table ronde, 1971), 187. 2 DE GAULLE, Charles. Mémoires de guerre. Tome 1 : L’appel 1940-1942 (Paris: Plon, 1954), 7. 3 The official attempts to resist the growing belief that the country has been in terminal decline with a lesser international status can be seen in the recent campaigns by the present Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his two immediate predecessors, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. The campaign to promote the ‘Great’ in Great Britain and Tony Blair’s efforts to redefine a ‘Cool Britannia’ are typical of these, not always successful, attempts to hold onto a certain national prestige. See http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/about-us/what-we-do/public-diplomacy/greatcampaign/ 4 Harold Wilson, The Times, 17 November 1964 and 10 June 1965. 5 George Brown, In My Way (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972), 202-205. 6 Quoted in Anne Deighton, ‘The Foreign Policy of British Prime Minister Tony Blair: Radical or Retrograde?’, Humboldt University Working Paper Series, (11 July 2005): 15. 7 Couve de Murville, the French Foreign Minister in the 1960s, once complaining to the Dutch that they had “always been the lackeys of the English”. The reply of Joseph Luns, the Dutch Prime Minister, was “Yes, I suppose you could say that, in the sense that you could talk of you French as always having been the raw material of their victories”. Quoted in Edward Heath, The Course of My Life. My Autobiography (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1988), 230. 8 Jack Straw speaking on the Michael Dockrill BBC documentary ‘With Friends Like These. Affairs with the French’ (2004). 9 Robert Gibson, Best of Enemies. Anglo-French Relations Since the Norman Conquest (London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1995). 10 Oxford English Dictionary. 11 The exception, now mostly forgotten, came during the Second World War with the conflict with Vichy France in the Middle East. See Colin Smith, England’s Last war Against France. Fighting Vichy 1940-1942 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2009).
The Foreignness of Foreigners
12 Certainly Anglo-French exchanges in these years are peppered with the vocabulary of conflict and confrontation in what Pierson Dixon, the British Ambassador in Paris, thought of as “an all out fight for the leadership of Europe” (FO 371 173341, WU 1074/26/G. Dixon to Foreign Office, 28 January 1963). Inside the Foreign Office it was argued that there was “a clear conflict” between de Gaulle’s views of Europe and that of Britain and her allies, that they intended to “ensure that his view is defeated and that ours prevails” (FO 371 169122, CF 1051/10. Tomkins Minute, 31 January 1963). Heath put it simply that “we must … fight the General” (PREM 11/4220, Heath to Embassies abroad, 6 February 1963). Dixon believed that some “warfare” was inevitable in Anglo-French relations (FCO 30/418. Record of Michael Stewart’s meeting with Nicholas Soames, 26 March 1969). Elsewhere it was argued that the only policy available to Britain was to keep on “bashing” the French (FCO 30/417. Soames to Prime Minister, 11 March 1969). 13 Alain Peyrefitte, C’était de Gaulle. Tome 1. « La France redevient la France » (Paris: Editions de Fallois, Fayard, 1994), 419, 375 and 335. 14 Alain Peyrefitte, C’était de Gaulle. Tome 2: « La France reprend sa place dans le monde » (Paris: Editions de Fallois, Fayard, 1997), 37 and 79. 15 Peyrefitte, ibid., 308-309 and 310. 16 The Oxford English Dictionary and Longman Contemporary English Dictionary. 17 The Oxford English Dictionary and Longman Contemporary English Dictionary. 18 Rumbold to Dawson, 13 December 1935. Quoted in Richard Davis, AngloFrench Relations Before the Second World War: Appeasement and Crisis (London: Macmillan, 2001). 19 Nicholas Tarling, The Fall of Imperial Britain in South-East Asia (Singapore, 1993) p.140. Quoted in Jeffery, ‘The Second World War’, p.319. Winston Churchill, The Second World War. Volume 4: The Hinge of Fate (London: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), 81. 20 Quoted in Sean Greenwood, Britain and European Integration Since the Second World War (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996), 74-5. 21 This refers to the five members of the EEC, other than France, who were seen, not always justifiably, by the British as being their allies in Britain’s diplomatc clashes with de Gaulle over Britain’s applications to enter the EEC in the 1960s. 22 Interview with Dominique de Villepin, 2004. Taken from the website of the French Embassy in London. Somewhat incongruously this comes from a large section entitled “British and French Cooperation”: http://www.ambafranceuk.org/Interview-given-by-M-Dominique-de,4922.html. 23 Tony Blair to the House of Commons, 18 March 2003. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200203/cmhansrd/vo030318/debtext/ 30318-07.htm. 24 The expression was first used in The Simpsons but was quickly taken up by large parts of the tabloid press and has since become a standard anti-French joke wellknown in Britain. 25 On 20 February 2003, The Sun published a special French-language edition portraying Jacques Chirac as a worm
(http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/155836/.html). Compare this image to that of Tony Blair as ‘Bliar’ (http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2010/11/02/thehistory-of-bliar/). 26 Numerous political cartoons cruelly portraying de Gaulle’s second-rate international status at this time reflect very similar views that can be found in the diplomatic archives and in the memoirs left by several of the leading British participants at these summits. See, for example, David Low’s cartoon in the Evening Standard, 24 October 1944 (http://www.cartoons.ac.uk/record/LSE1149). 27 The events of May 1968 briefly shook this seeming stability and threatened to throw the country back into the political turmoil that had so often marked the Third and Fourth Republics. Reactions in Britain were often to argue that France was returning to its natural state of political and social disorder. These events, however, to the dismay of some of France’s harshest critics in Britain, soon blew over. 28 Among the very many cartoons portraying this idea see those by ‘Emmwood’ in the Daily Mail, 29 April 1969 (http://www.cartoons.ac.uk/record/15139) and by Joseph Lee in the Evening News, 21 May 1974 (http://www.cartoons.ac.uk/record/JL5750). 29 http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/sep/27/labourconference.speeches/print. 30 Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘Entente Cordiale’, 8 September 1994.
Chapter Eleven: Markers, Borders, Crossings: On the Representation of a Divided Space in Northern Ireland 1
Alvin Jackson, “Three Quarters of a Nation once again: Independent Ireland”. Ireland, 1798-1998 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999), 275-316. 2 Tim Pat Coogan, The Troubles, Ireland’s ordeal 1966-1996 and the search for peace (London: Arrow, 1996), 15-26. 3 Coogan, The Troubles, 30-69 4 Lorenzo Bossi and Simon Prince, “Writing the Sixties into Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland into the sixties”. The Sixties: a journal of history, politics and culture, Vol. 2, Issue. 2 (December 2009): 145-62. 5 Agreement between the United-Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the government of Ireland (1998). 6 The city of Derry is also known as Londonderry. The city council officially adopted the name ‘Derry’ in 1984, while a high court ruling in 2007 stated that Londonderry remains its legal name. 7 James Odling-Smee, “Victor Sloan”, in Victor Sloan: Walls. 1989. Orchard Gallery, Derry. Many of the works discussed here have been displayed at the Orchard Gallery in Derry, the history of which the author had been originally looking at. 8 The Cassell Dictionary & Thesaurus.
The Foreignness of Foreigners
Definition from the Centre national de ressources textuelles et lexicales (http://www.cnrtl/portail/). 10 Richard Long. River Avon Mud Works. 1984. Orchard Gallery, Derry. 11 Declan McGonagle in interview with the author, 11th of July 2008. Declan McGonagle was the first director of the gallery and conducted the programme for most of the 1980s. 12 It is in the privileged space of the ‘polis’ that the art historian Liam Kelly located artistic attentions to “walls, barriers, towers, temples” and “divisions” in his 1996 seminal study entitled Thinking Long. Contemporary art in the North of Ireland (Kinsale: Gandon Editions, 1996), 56-93. 13 Richard Livingstone in conversation with Declan McGonagle, in Richard Livingstone, New Skin for Old Ceremony. 1989. Orchard Gallery, Derry. 14 Richard Livingstone. Heads we win, tails you lose. 1992. Arts Council Gallery, Belfast. 15 Jeson Ingraham, “The Irish Peace Process”. CAIN (http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/events/peace/talks.htm), 1998. 16 Michael Archer, “Over riding imperatives”, in Kerry Trengrove. Points of Defence. 1985. Orchard Gallery, Derry. 17 Archer, “Over riding imperatives”. 18 Bertrand Russell, History of Philosophy (London: Routledge, 1996), 46-54 (1st publication 1946). The principle of the unity of opposites can be traced back to Heraclitus. It has had numerous influential philosophical developments, in particular in Neoplatonic and Hegelian thought. 19 Kerry Trengrove, Points of Defense. 20 Donald Kuspit, “Brian Maguire’s primitivism”, in Brian Maguire, Paintings 1990-93 (Dublin: Kerlin Gallery, Derry: Orchard Gallery, 1993). 21 Kuspit, “Brian Maguire’s primitivism”. 22 “Une limite qui détermine l’étendue d’un territoire ; tout espèce de barrage, défense, obstacle, que l’on peut ou doit franchir”. The Cassell Dictionnary offers a similar line of thought albeit less strikingly telling: “Border: an edge, margin, 2 a boundary, line or region 3 a frontier or frontier region…” 23 Willie Doherty, No Smoke without Fire. 1996. Matt’s Gallery, London. 24 Dan Cameron, “Partial View; transgressive identity in Willie Doherty’s photographic installations”, in Willie Doherty. 1993. Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin. 25 The exact text is “east is south”, on the upper left hand side, “west is north”, on the upper right hand side, and “the other side”, underneath the precedents. 26 Philip Roycroft, A stay in two parts. 1979. Orchard Gallery, Derry. 27 Nigel Rolfe, Bridge. 1981. Orchard Gallery, Derry. 28 The plural is used as Rolfe refers to both the Bridge installed in Derry , and The Red Wedge, a wooden pillar made with a similar building technique at the ACME gallery in London in 1979. 29 James Odling-Smee, “Victor Sloan”, in Victor Sloan, Walls. 30 Roy Wallis, “Gerry Gleason: art, history and language”, in Gerry Gleason, History and language. 1989. Orchard Gallery, Derry.
The Cassell Dictionary and Thesaurus. Since its inception in 1998, the Golden Thread Gallery has contributed to the writings of Northern Irish Art History through a series of exhibitions regrouped under the title: “Collective histories of Northern Irish Art”. Peter Richards, the gallery director, usefully stressed the multiplicity of existing historical perspectives in his foreword to Icons of the North curated by Brian McAvera in 2006: “The collective histories of Northern Irish Art series is not an attempt to create one history: rather central to the project is an acknowledgement that there are many versions of history. The project embraces the overlapping and sometimes contradictory versions that are presented to us through the range of the selected curators – it is through them that a greater understanding of the complexity, the wealth and the diversity of the art throughout the period can be facilitated”, in “Foreword”, Icons of the North. Collectives histories of Northern Irish Art (Belfast: Golden Thread Gallery, 2006), 7. This multiplicity of perspectives is itself an encouragement to the creation of interstitial passages that subvert monographic narratives and historiographies. 33 Declan Long, “Passage”, in Brian Kennedy, Passage (Belfast: Golden Thread Gallery, 2007), 17. 34 Available Resources. 1992. Orchard Gallery, Derry. Slavka Sverakova, Wanda B. Campbell, Nathalie Perreault, “Available resources: Derry, Juin et Juillet 1991”, Inter : art actuel, n.53 (1992): 38-45. 35 A brief overview of the gallery’s history and ethos can be found in Gabriel Gee, “Négocier les Troubles. La Orchard Gallery à Derry, 1978-2003”. In Marine Branland and David Mastin, eds.“L’art dans la guerre. La guerre dans l’art”, Textuels (Paris: Presses de l’université Paris VII, 2010): 76-80. 36 Brian Connolly in conversation with the author, 2011. Brian Connolly played a major role in the organisation of the project, as he temporarily moved to Derry to coordinate the interventions and installations. 37 Alastair MacLennan in conversation with the author, the 12th of January 2012. 38 Slavka Sverakova, “Richard Martel”, in Available Resources, 38. 39 Slavka Sverakova, “Alastair MacLennan”, in Available Resources, 33. 40 Actuation is the term favoured by the artist to describe his performative interventions. 41 In her critical essay on the work of Alastair McLennan featuring in Alastair McLennan. Is No. 1975 – 1988 (Bristol: Arnolfini, 1988), 7-17 Slavka Sverakova underlines the recurrence of interplays between opposites in the work of the performer, that contribute to unveil and release intensities. She describes the breaking of the globe in Available Resources, 33. The split is also noted by Liam Kelly in Thinking Long, 1996, 134, who describes it as “a life/death rift”. 42 Brian Connolly in conversation with the author, 2011. 32
Vanessa Alayrac-Fielding (co-editor) is a lecturer in British eighteenthcentury studies in the English Department of University Lille III, France. Her research focuses on 18th-century British art and cultural history, visual and material culture, and in particular the fashion for chinoiserie in English decorative arts and the representation of the Orient in British art. Publication of her research on the representation of China in English art and culture and on the Anglo-Chinese taste includes articles in Women’s History Review, Bulletin de la Société d’études anglo-américaines des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles, the exhibition catalogue Chinoiseries (Centre Albert Marinus, Brussels, 2009) and the exhibition catalogue Pagodes et Dragons: Exotisme et Fantaisies dans l’Europe Rococo (Paris-Musées Press, 2007). She co-edited, with Ellen R. Welsh, a collection of essays entitled Intermédiaires culturels / Cultural Intermediaries (Paris, Honoré Champion, 2015). Her book La Chine dans l’imaginaire anglais des Lumières (1685-1798), which investigates the impact of chinoiserie on the 18th-century English imagination, is forthcoming from publisher Presses Universitaires de la Sorbonne in Paris. Xavier Cervantes is a professor in the English Department at the University of Toulouse, France. His research focuses on the cultural relations between England and Italy in the 18th century, especially in the field of music, painting, and aesthetics. He has published about thirty papers in various journals and conference proceedings and has published four books as an author, co-author, or co-editor. Richard Davis is professor of British Studies at the University of Lille in France, where he teaches contemporary British history. He holds a BSc from the LSE. His PhD was awarded by the University of Sheffield. He has published several books and articles on British foreign and imperial policy in the twentieth century. He is the author of Britain and France Before the War: Appeasement and Crisis, 1934-1936 (London: Macmillan, 2001), The Liberal Party in Britain (1906-1924) (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2010) and the co-author of La décolonisation britannique: perspectives sur la fin d’un empire – 1919-1984 (Paris: Editions du Fahrenheit, 2012). He is currently working on the question of
Britain’s relations with France during Charles de Gaulle’s presidency (1958-1969). Claire Dubois (co-editor) wrote a PhD on representations of the Gaelic Past and their use in the construction of Irish identity in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She is a senior lecturer in Irish Studies in the English Department of Lille III University. She works on history painting, architecture, the press, travel writing, national identity and its expressions. Her recent articles include “The Wooing of Erin: Irishwomen as Victims in the Visual Arts” (Ireland and Victims: Confronting the Past, Forging the Future, ed. Lesley Lelourec and Grainne O’Keeffe-Vigneron, Peter Lang, 2012), “The Representation of Ireland in Two Nineteenth-Century French Journals” (Irish Studies in Europe vol. 4, Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2012) and “Visualizing the Famine in the Nineteenth Century” (La Grande Famine en Irlande 1845-1850, ed. Yann Bévant, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2014). Olivier Esteves is a senior lecturer in British studies at Lille III University. He works on the socio-history of race relations in Britain, on which he has published articles and books, notably De l’invisibilité à l’islamophobie: les musulmans britanniques (Presses de Sciences Po, 2011). He recently edited and translated into French a collection of Bertrand Russell’s World War I texts, Le Pacifisme et la révolution : écrits politiques (1914-1918) (Agone, 2014). Anne-Claire Faucquez defended a PhD in March 2011 entitled “from New Netherland to New York: the birth of a Slave Society (1624-1712)”. Her fields of research are slavery in the North and urban areas (New York City, Philadelphia) in the 17th and 18th centuries; Huguenot immigration; fear, otherness and English identity in colonial America; the British and Dutch Atlantic; the birth of the British empire in the 17th century; the political and social construction of the colony of New York in the 17th century. Daniel Foliard is a lecturer in British history and civilisation at Paris West University Nanterre La Défense. His research interests currently focus on the cartographic and photographic elaboration of the Middle-East by the British in the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century.
The Foreignness of Foreigners
Gabriel N. Gee is Associate Professor in Art History at Franklin University, Switzerland. He earned his PhD with a thesis devoted to contemporary art in the North of England. He has published numerous articles on contemporary art and artists in Great Britain, Ireland and France. A former postgraduate researcher at the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon, Professor G.N. Gee’s research and teaching interests include painting and photography in the 20th century as well as the relation between art and industrial change in the 20th and 21st centuries. Xavier Lachazette is Professor of English literature at the Université du Maine, in Le Mans, France. He is both a member of his university’s research group, the “Labo 3L.AM” (Lettres, Littératures et Linguistique des universités d’Angers et du Maine), and of the CRILA, at the University of Angers, which specializes in the study of the short story. His latest papers focus on short stories from Daphne du Maurier’s The Breaking Point and The Apple Tree (Angers, Rouen), on the colonial experience in W. Somerset Maugham’s The Casuarina Tree (Angers), and on encountering Otherness in some of E.M. Forster’s short stories (SaintÉtienne). Caroline Lehni, a former pupil of the École Normale Supérieure of Cachan, holds an agrégation in English and is a senior lecturer at the Institute of Political Studies of Strasbourg where she teaches English language and civilisation. Her research confronts methods and approaches intersecting the fields of cultural history, history of art and book history and focuses on visual representations of travel, foreign places and foreign people. She is the author of a dissertation entitled “Reading Egypt in Images: British Representations of Egypt through Travel Book Illustrations, 1798-1914” (University Paris Diderot, 2007) and several papers on related topics. Maud Michaud wrote her PhD on the work of the Church Missionary Society in Uganda and the London City Mission (1875-1900) and now works as a lecturer in Contemporary British history at the Université du Maine in Le Mans, France. She is interested in the history of religious and cultural practices and mission history in Britain and overseas, especially in missionary societies’ publishing and promoting strategies at home.
Valérie Morisson is a lecturer at the University of Burgundy, Dijon, France. Her PhD dissertation focused on Irish contemporary art and its relation to and reconsideration of national identity. She has published several articles on Irish visual culture (visual arts, photography and illustration, graphic novels) and the shift from cultural nationalism to postnationalism. She also studies how historical revisionism and postnationalism are echoed in contemporary art. Some of her articles scrutinize works addressing gender issues. Anne-Florence Quaireau is a senior lecturer in English at the École Polytechnique. Her research focuses on nineteenth-century British women’s travel writing, particularly in Canada. She holds a PhD in British literature from Paris Sorbonne University and she received the 2014 SELVA Doctoral Dissertation Award for her PhD dissertation on Anna Jameson’s Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada (1838). She has published several articles on nineteenth-century travel writing and gender. Philippe Vervaecke is a lecturer in British studies at Lille III University. He edited a volume entitled A droite de la droite. Droites radicales en France et en Grande-Bretagne au XXe siècle (Lille, Presses du Septentrion, 2012) and co-edited, with James Cohen and Andrew Diamond, a collection of essays entitled L’Atlantique multiracial. Discours, politiques, dénis (Paris, Karthala, 2012). He co-authored Le parti libéral with Françoise Orazi (Paris, Atlande, 2010) and La décolonisation britannique: Perspectives sur la fin d’un empire, 19191984 with Richard Davis and Trevor Harris (Paris, Fahrenheit, 2012). He has written numerous articles and chapters on British politics, which have been published, among others, by Palgrave-Macmillan, the Presses de Science Po, the Revue Française de Civilisation Britannique and Politix. He is currently Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Lille 3 University.
Abdulaziz, 44 Abdulhamid II, 44 Ahmed III, 36, 43 Allom, Thomas, 37-38, 45, 206 Andros, Edmund, 198 Aravamudan, Srinivas, xiii Archer, Michael, 179-80, 189, 222 Atterbury, Francis, 18, 23-27, 29-30 Attlee, Clement, 172 Austin, John Langshow, 99-100, 103 Aznavour, Serovpe, 42 Bakhtin, Mikhaël, 98, 99 Bartlett, William, viii, 38, 45, 58, 62, 66, 71, 206, 210 Beato, Antonio, viii, 39-46, 205, 206 Beato, Felice, viii, 39-46, 205, 206 Beddoe, John, 127-9 Benjamin, Walter, 134 Bentham, Jeremy, 94 Berenstadt, Gaetano, 24, 204 Bhabha, Homi, xii, xiv, 63, 67, 109, 119, 209 Blair, Tony, 164, 171-2, 219, 220, 221 Bongie, Christopher, 133-4, 139 Bononcini, Giovanni 22-31, 201-5 Bourdieu, Pierre, 149, 157 Brockholls, Anthony, 5 Brown, George, 164 Brown, Gordon, xii, 219 Browne, Haji A., viii, 63, 66, 72 Buxton, Edward North, 62 Byron, George Gordon (Lord), 37
Cameron, David, 164, 219 Challis, Edward, 38 Charles II, 2 Chartres, Duc de 36, 41, 208 Chirac, Jacques, 171, 220 Christophers, Brett, 110, 119 Churchill, Winston, 169-172, 220 Clarke, Norma, 102-3 Clifford, James, 131, 132-4, 138, 140, 141 Cocchi, Antonio, 24-5, 203 Colley, Linda, 30, 107-8, 112, 114, 119, 198 Connolly, Brian, ix, 186-8, 195, 223 Coste, Pierre, 24 Cross, Dorothy, ix, 136-8, 145 Cundall, Joseph, 38, 45, 207 Cuzzoni, Francesca, 20, 200, 204 Dall, Ian, 128, 130, 132-3, 135-8 Dalorto, Angelinus, 126 Daniels, W. W., 151, 162, 216 Darnley Sheffield, Katherine, 24 De Gaulle, Charles, 166-175, 21921 Doherty, Willie, 178, 181-3, 185, 189, 222 Dongan, Thomas 4-5, 15, 197 Doré, Gustave, 116 Duncan, John Garrow, 63, 66, 67, 209 Driver, Felix, 116, 120 D’Orléans, Philippe, (Comte de Paris), 36-7, 41, 43, 205, 206 Edwards, Amelia, viii, 52-4, 58-9, 66, 209-10 Egmont, John, (earl of), 28, 204
230 Elias, Norbert, 161 Ettlinger, Ellen, 130 Fenton, Roger, 39 Ferguson, Samuel (Sir), 127 Flaherty, Robert, 132, 135-8, 215 Foucault, Michel, 94, 100, 103, 129, 140 Frith, Francis, 42 Galton, Francis, 129 Gaudichon, Bruno, 76, 210 Gautier, Théophile, 38, 45, 207 Gérôme, Jean-Léon, 39, 207 Gildon, Charles, 18, 199 Gleason, Gerry, ix, 184-5, 190, 193, 222 Godolphin, Francis, 29 Godolphin, Henrietta, Duchess of Marlborough, 29, 30 Gordon, Lady Duff, viii, 54, 56, 73 Gregory, Derek, 55, 67, 208 Haddon, Alfred Cort, ix, 126-7, 129-30, 133, 140, 143, 214 Handel, Georg Friedrich, 18-20, 2225, 30, 199-202, 204 Hardie, Keir, 155 Hattersley, Charles William, 119 Haym, Nicola Francesco, 18-19, 204 Hazlitt, William, 74-75, 81, 86, 210 Henderson, Jennifer, 100, 103 Herder, Johann Gottfried, 126, 128 Hervey, John (Earl of Bristol), 29, 205 Hobsbawm, Eric, 138 Horsmanden, (Judge), 10 Hunter (Governor), 10 James II, 5, 24, 176 Jameson, Anna, vi, xiii, 90-103, 211 Jerrold, Blanchard, 116 Keating, Seàn, ix, 130-1, 144 Kennedy, Brian, 185-8, 190
Index Kirkpatrick, Ivone (Sir), 169 Lane, Edward William, 57, 66-7, 210 Lange, Dorothea, 132 Laval, Pierre, 169 Leisler, Jacob, 5, 10, 15 Lewis, Morris, 7 Lindeborg, Ruth, 109, 120 Livingstone, David, 107, 116 Livingstone, Richard, 178-81, 184, 190, 222 Locke, John, 24 Lodwyck, Charles, 3, 15, 196 Long, Declan, 185-8, 190 Long, Richard, 178, 190 Loti, Pierre, 137, 142 Lovelace, Francis, 6 Mackay, Alexander, 107, 213 MacLennan, Alastair, ix, 186-8, 194, 223 Macmillan, Harold, 152, 172, 175 Madden, Richard Robert, 36, 45, 206 Maguire, Brian, 181, 190, 222 Mahmud the Second, 35 Maingueneau, Dominique, 100-1, 103 Marschall, Charles, 42 Martel, Richard, 187-8, 223 Mason, Thomas H., 130-5, 141 Maugham, W. Somerset, vi, xiv, 7487, 210-1 Mayhew, Henry, 116, 120 McElheran, John, 129, 141 McGonagle, Declan, 186, 222 Mengin, Robert, 163, 175, 219 Meriwhether, Lee, viii, 61, 66, 70 Messenger, John, 128, 132-3, 137, 141, 214 Methuen, Frederick, 36, 206 Meyers, Jeffrey, 74, 87, 210 Mills, Sarah, 95, 97, 103 Moore, Robert, 150, 162, 216
The Foreignness of Foreigners Mordaunt, Charles, Earl of Peterborough, 25 Muhammad ‘Ali, 64 Mutesa (king of Buganda), 106, 118 Neau, Elie, 8, 14 Nicolls, Richard, 6 Noiriel, Gérard, 149, 162, 219 O’Flaherty, Roderic, 126, 141 Oscanyan, Christopher, 42 Orwell, George, 161, 219 Pacha, Omer, 41 Pacha, Mohamed Saïd, 42 Pardoe, Julia, 38, 45 Pasini, Alberto, 39, 207 Petrie, George, 126, 141, 214 Pius IX (Pope), 112 Pope, Alexander, 17, 20, 24-8, 31, 203-4 Powell, Enoch, xii, 149, 154, 161, 218 Pratt, Mary-Louise xiii, xv, 91, 95, 103, 118, 120 Ranger, Terence, 138 Rex, John, 150-1, 162, 216 Riva, Giuseppe, 24-5, 28, 202, 2045 Rivers, Elizabeth, 131-1, 135, 138, 141 Roberts, David, 38, 207 Robertson, James, v, viii, xiv, 3451, 205-9 Robinson, Anastasia, 25-9, 203 Rolfe, Nigel, 184, 190, 222 Rolli, Paolo, 24, 28, 31, 204 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 126, 128, 199 Roycroft, Philip, ix, 183, 190, 192, 222 Ruskin, John, 83 Russell, William Howard, 61, 66
Said, Edward, xii, xiv, 55, 67, 92, 103, 141, 215 Salmon, Percy, 60, 66 Salter, Joseph, viii, 108-10, 121, 212 Sandoni, Pietro Giuseppe, 28, 204 Sayad, Adbelmalek, 149, 162 Schoolcraft, Henry, 97-99, 101, 104 Scotson, John, 161 Seabrook, Jeremy, 149, 158-9, 161, 217-8 Shakespeare, William, 27, 31, 100, 104, 211 Sims, George, 116 Skelton, John, 131, 215 Smith, Albert, 42, 45, 208 Stanhope, Philip Dormer, Lord Chesterfield, 16, 198 Stanley, Henry Morton, 106, 112, 116 Steele, Richard, 19-21, 28, 199, 204 Stewart, Nick, 186 Strauss, Claude Levi, 132 Symons, Arthur, 134 Synge, John Millington, 128-140, 214-5 Tasso, Torquato, 18, 199 Thatcher, Margaret, 172 Thomson, John, 116, 118, 213 Tobin, Beth Fowkes, 94, 104 Trengrove, Kerry, ix, 179-181, 191, 222 Twells, Alison, 105, 110, 120 Urquhart, David, 42 Van Dijck, Heindrick, 13 Walkowitz, Judith R., 116, 120 Walpole, Robert, 18, 23, 26-27, 30, 202 Wilkin, Anthony, 61, 66, 69, 210 William III of Orange, 176 Williams, Rowan (Archbishop), 148 Wills Foote, Thelma 6, 11, 14, 197 Wilson, Harold, 164, 172
232 Wilson, Kathleen, 12, 15, 197-8 Wolley, Charles, 13, 15, 198 Wyatt-Brown, Bertram, 10, 15, 197 Wyon, William, 35
Index Yeats, Jack Butler, 128, 132, 139, 214 Zamboni, Giovannu Giacomo, 2426, 28, 203