Saturday 6 September 2008

Accidents and Empires

An interesting day today... as this afternoon I dropped the metal base of a table-umbrella-stand on my foot, and had to go to A&E. Eeps. Turns out no breakages, just lots of bruising and blood - I'm as squeamish as they come, and was rather relieved that it all worked out ok, praise the Lord. But some considerable pain for a while... and has called a halt to driving practice for a day or two, at least.

So! I don't think I've shared the reading list for my m
odule next term on Literature and Empire 1880-1930. Truth be told, the choice hasn't been confirmed - but apparently nobody has been turned away from a module choice yet, so I'm confident. The range of books is quite exciting, and I'm especially excited about studying Katherine Mansfield again. A comparitive essay on Katherine Mansfield and Scouting for Boys... well, I wonder. Here's the list; I've only read Mansfield so far, and that was a few years ago, so lots to explore. Any recommendations for first off the pile?

Olive Schreiner, The Story of an African Farm (1883) and Thoughts on South Africa

R. L. Stevenson, South Sea Tales, 1891, 1892

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1899) and ‘Youth’ (1902)

Rudyard Kipling, Kim (1901)

Robert Baden-Powell, Scouting for Boys (1908)

J.M Barrie, Peter Pan and Wendy (1911)

Katherine Mansfield, Collected Short Stories

W.B. Yeats, Responsibilities (1914)

E.M. Forster, A Passage to India (1924)

Sol T. Plaatje, Mhudi (1930)

Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable (1935)


  1. Ooh! That's a great selection of books. Definitely something to be exited about! A Passage to India is wonderful. The only other book on the list I've read is Heart of Darkness, which I hated on first read, but rather liked when forced to read it again.

  2. Oh brother! I am excited FOR you to take this class. I want in!

  3. Ooooh, Katherine Mansfield's Shorts!! You are so lucky (though I hated Heart of Darkness - found it boring). I studied The Garden Party at college and have never forgotten the stories. The Daughters of the Late Colonel and The Life of Ma Parker are just wonderful. Indicative of the times, but (especially Ma) heartbreaking.

  4. I haven't read all these by any means but I thoroughly recommend Forster, an author I admire a lot. Kim is good, too -- and Heart of Darkness a very quick and amazing read.

  5. R L Stevenson should be your first choice; a truly great writer who seems to me to be inexplicably under-read these days (perhaps more fair to say under-discussed).

  6. Simon, I think you would find this book of interest:

    JULIA REID. Robert Louis Stevenson, Science, and the Fin de Siecle. Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture. Houndmills and New York:
    Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

  7. Story of an African Farm is a lovely book, I really enjoyed it and would read more by her. Heart of Darkness I found intriguing but not altogether pleasant. It did stay with me though. Passage to India is great, very telling. I want to do your course...

  8. Lucky, lucky, lucky you! What a great course. I'm hoping you'll be bringing your readers right along with you. Gosh, I read Story of an African Farm a long while back, and I'm quite sure I liked it; Conrad, not so much. Dark and boring, I recall. I've had Kim on my shelf for ages, and really must get to it, along with the Kipling biography. Do you read the Mary Russell series? In one of them, we meet Kim. I just read the list again, and thought how happy you are going to be!

  9. Kim is wonderful and there is a film made. I think it's available. i liked heart of D. I'll scout around and see if I still have my OU booklet on it.The film 'Apocalypse Now' is based on it. Daphne

  10. Ooh, Peter Pan and Wendy! I read it for uni and absolutely loved it. I spent the whole time thinking, 'But why did nobody tell me how wonderful this is?!' Admittedly, not being British I'd never seen the play, but I was just blown away by the wit of Barrie's writing, and the really sharp, very funny satire. Loved it.

  11. So sorry about your foot! Owwie-ouchie. I do love a reading list, however. I've never read Peter Pan, but that strikes me as an intriguind choice. And I do like Forster.

  12. Untouchable - I bought my copy in India and thought it had a very different feel from other books of the time/place I have read - he is very good at weaving an atmosphere. Also worth looking out Coolie by same author if you like him. Unusual to ahve someone Indian writing about India!

  13. Belated congratulations on the scholarship, I'm delighted for you (but sorry about the foot!). I was given Mansfield's Collected Stories this week for typesetting a short article on her work, so I shall be reading them soon, too.

  14. ...perusing you list... it suddenly occurred to me that I was breathing rather rapidly! I think I'm jealous!
    I'm new around these parts... I am really enjoying your blog!
    Thank you for the effort!


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