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India in 1857: Introductory & secondary readings

The texts listed here provide background or supplementary material for Unit 2. It is anticipated that they will be of most use to those who choose to write their long essay on this unit, but all students will benefit from reading any of these materials alongside the assigned primary sources. See me (Stuart Middleton) for further guidance.


Introductions and overviews

John Darwin, Unfinished Empire: The Global Expansion of Britain (2012), pp.246-64 – v. useful brief overview of the ‘events’ of the uprising

C.A. Bayly, Indian Society and the Making of the British Empire (Cambridge, 1988)

C.A. Bayly, Empire and Information: Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, 1780-1870 (Cambridge, 1996), Introduction & chs. 9-10

Thomas R. Metcalf, Ideologies of the Raj (Cambridge, 1995), esp. chs.1-2

Gautam Chakravarty, The Indian Mutiny and the British Imagination (Cambridge, 2009)

Jill C. Bender, The 1857 Indian Uprising and the British Empire (Cambridge, 2016)

Kim A. Wagner, Rumours and Rebels: A New History of the Indian Uprising of 1857 (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2017)

Parama Roy, Alimentary Tracts: Appetites, Aversions, and the Postcolonial (Durham, NC, 2011), ch.1


Weeks 7 & 8: Eyewitness/ History

*Ranajit Guha, 'The Prose of Counter-Insurgency' (1982), in Guha & Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, eds., Selected Subaltern Studies (1988), 45-86 - classic account of how colonial power is inscribed in histories of peasant rebellions in India

Gyanendra Pandey, '"Encounters and Calamities": The History of a North Indian Qasba in the Nineteenth Century', in Guha & Spivak eds., Selected Subaltern Studies, 89-128 - superb study of how colonial and non-official histories produce different accounts of the same events, and different criteria for viewing something as an 'event'

Gautam Bhadra, 'Four Rebels of Eighteen Fifty-Seven', in Guha & Spivak eds., Selected Subaltern Studies, 129-75 - classic Subaltern Studies account of the uprising of 1857

Rudrangshu Mukherjee, '"Satan Let Loose upon Earth": The Kanpur Massacres in India in the Revolt of 1857', Past and Present 128 (1990), 92-116

Sudipta Kaviraj, 'On the Status of Karl Marx's Writings on India', Social Scientist 11:9 (1983), 26-46


Week 9: Anglo-Indian femininity

Catherine Hall, ‘Of Gender and Empire: Reflections on the Nineteenth Century’ in Philippa Levine ed., Gender and Empire (Oxford, 2004), 46-76 - good introductory overview

Catherine Hart, '"Oh What Horrors Will be Disclosed When We Know All": British Women and the Private/ Public Experience of the Siege of Lucknow', Prose Studies 34:3 (2012), 185-196

Claudia Klaver, 'Domesticity Under Siege: British Women and Imperial Crisis at the Siege of Lucknow, 1857', Women's Writing 8:1 (2001), 21-58

Alison Blunt, ‘Spatial Stories Under Siege: British Women Writing from Lucknow in 1857’, in Reina Lewis & Sara Mills, eds., Feminist Postcolonial Theory: A Reader (New York, 2003)

Mary A. Procida, Married to the Empire: Gender, Politics and Imperialism in India, 1833-1947 (Manchester, 2002), ch.4 (pp.111-35)

Anna Matei, 'Women and the Indian Mutiny: Framing the Mutiny in a Punch Cartoon and a Lucknow Diary', Vides III (2015), 171-9


Week 10: Fictions

Nancy Paxton, Writing Under the Raj: Gender, Race and Rape in the British Colonial Imagination, 1830-1947 (New Brunswick, N.J., 1999) – chs.3-4

Nancy Paxton, 'Rape in British Novels about the Indian Uprising of 1857', Victorian Studies 36:1 (1992), 5-30

Astrid Erll, 'Re-writing as Re-visioning: Modes of Representing the "Indian Mutiny" in British Novels, 1857 to 2000', European Journal of English Studies 10:2 (2006), 163-185

Patrick Brantlinger, Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism, 1830-1914 (Ithaca & London, 1988), ch.7 (on the Indian ‘Mutiny’), esp. 206-8 (on Dickens & Collins 1857)


On Dickens:

William Oddie, 'Dickens and the Indian Mutiny', The Dickensian 68:366 (1972), 3-15

Lillian Nayder, 'Class Consciousness and the Indian Mutiny in Dickens's "The Perils of Certain English Prisoners"', Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 32:4 (1992), 689-705

Grace Moore, Dickens and Empire: Discourses of Class, Race and Colonialism in the Works of Charles Dickens (Routledge, 2004)

Priti Joshi, 'Mutiny Echoes: India, Britons, and Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities', Nineteenth-Century Literature 62:1 (2007), 48-87

Laura Peters, Dickens and Race (Manchester, 2013), ch.4, esp. 97-118


On Premchand:

Frances W. Pritchett, '"The Chess Players": From Premchand to Satyajit Ray', Journal of South Asian Literature 21:2 1986), 65-78

Shailendra Kumar Singh, 'Premchand's Prose of Counter-Insurgency in Colonial North India', Journal of South Asian Studies 39:1 (2016), 29-46


On Flora Annie Steel:

Upamanyu Pablo Mukherjee, Natural Disasters and Victorian Empire: Famines, Fevers, and the Literary Cultures of South Asia (Basingstoke, 2013), ch.5 - examines the complexities of Steel's response to empire, particularly in relation to contemporary perceptions of her as a 'female Rudyard Kipling'


On the Rani of Jhansi:

Prachi Deshpande, 'The Making of a Nationalist Archive: Lakshmibai, Jhansi and 1857', Journal of Asian Studies 67:3 (2008) 855-879

*Harleen Singh, The Rani of Jhansi: Gender, History, and Fable in India (Cambridge, 2014)