Originally published in 1983. In the late nineteenth century as the European powers divided the world between themselves and scrambled over Africa, so their writers went with them, recording in fiction, as well as in historical narrative, the events and issues of the colonial expansion. The literature which they left behind them is the subject of this book.

Taking Robinson Crusoe as the starting point for colonial literature, the book looks at linking themes and ideas in the colonial literatures of England, Frances and Germany. In drawing the attention of English-speaking readers to the writing of these other countries, English fiction is placed in a wider context. The comparison also emphasises a homogeneity in the various traditions of colonial literature which goes beyond mere flag waving.

chapter One|32 pages


chapter Two|17 pages

Colonial Fiction: A Literary History

chapter Three|9 pages

Imperial Landscapes

chapter Four|28 pages

Slaves and Mistresses

chapter Five|24 pages

Justifications of Empire

chapter Six|22 pages

The Unexpected Elite

chapter Seven|15 pages

Colonial Theory and Domestic Practice