Gautam Chakravarty’s assertion that ‘nineteenth century globalisation justifi ed multiform violence through self serving, selfcongratulatory high talk about civilizing and racial missions while expropriating subject peoples’ illustrates contemporary critical awareness that ‘history’ sometimes ought to be taken with a pinch of salt — or, depending on the current fashion, even with a pinch of snuff.1 While historical sneezing (or an occasional polite clearing of the throat) has now shifted its expectations to the domain of fi ction, it is still enlightening to study the history of a rebellion or war through the eyes of a third party ‘neutral’ nation. The ways in which history engages with imaginative fi ction are revelatory, especially in current scholarship where fi ction becomes the domain of history and history is debated in terms of being ‘fi ctional’. Chakravarty has rightly pointed out about 19th-century Britain that ‘it would be impossible for a nation to engage in warfare for a century without a public culture that sanctioned war as the legitimate . . . policy’.2 Several boys’ adventure stories as well as romantic novels used the events of 1857 as a backdrop to etch out the national/chivalric roles that British offi cers were imagined to follow. Patrick Brantlinger comments that ‘the sheer quantity of Victorian writing about the Mutiny seems inversely proportionate to its quality’, perhaps as ‘great literature does not mix well with calls for repression

and revenge’.3 Evidently then, as contemporary critics of literature argue, British ‘mutiny’ fi ction cannot be considered simply in terms of being literary but must also be debated in terms of its construction effecting a wider location or dislocation of history and popular mythmaking.