Type of Submission

Podium Presentation

Keywords

Postcolonialism, Evelyn Waugh, eurocentrism, oppression

Abstract

Ever since the age of Columbus, the ideas of travel, adventure, and exploration have pervaded Western consciousness. In 1933, Evelyn Waugh, a social critic and satirist (Longman 2818), published a short story entitled “The Man Who Liked Dickens” that The Longman Anthology of British Literature describes as “a cautionary tale of what might happen to an ordinary, if wealthy, Englishman venturing ‘beyond the pale’ of European civilization in a disastrous journey to the Amazon” (2818). This chilling story centers around the misfortune of Henty, a rich and uneducated Englishman, who gets swept along on an expedition to the jungles of Brazil. Throughout the journey, several disasters occur, but the most troubling disaster appears at first to be advantageous for Henty. All of his companions either dead or having abandoned the adventure, Henty finds himself alone, lost, and near death in the Brazilian forest without any hope for aid. However, Mr McMaster, an English-speaking half native finds him and nurses him back to health, asking only that Henty read him his Dickens novels in return for the care he has given. Though Henty is at first unaware of his plight, he eventually discovers that Mr McMaster is keeping him captive and will never allow him to return to England. In this story, Henty’s captivity provides a physical representation of the way in which Waugh inverts the effects of Eurocentric and Universalistic thinking that Postcolonial scholars generally recognize. Instead of those whose culture is being perceived through a Eurocentric or Universalistic lens experiencing “othering” and manipulation, Waugh places those consequences on those who hold the malignant mindsets.

Faculty Sponsor or Advisor’s Name

Dr. Peggy Wilfong

Campus Venue

Stevens Student Center, Room 240

Location

Cedarville, OH

Start Date

4-1-2015 2:00 PM

End Date

4-1-2015 2:15 PM

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

 
Apr 1st, 2:00 PM Apr 1st, 2:15 PM

Captivity of the Mind: A Postcolonial Analysis of “The Man Who Liked Dickens”

Cedarville, OH

Ever since the age of Columbus, the ideas of travel, adventure, and exploration have pervaded Western consciousness. In 1933, Evelyn Waugh, a social critic and satirist (Longman 2818), published a short story entitled “The Man Who Liked Dickens” that The Longman Anthology of British Literature describes as “a cautionary tale of what might happen to an ordinary, if wealthy, Englishman venturing ‘beyond the pale’ of European civilization in a disastrous journey to the Amazon” (2818). This chilling story centers around the misfortune of Henty, a rich and uneducated Englishman, who gets swept along on an expedition to the jungles of Brazil. Throughout the journey, several disasters occur, but the most troubling disaster appears at first to be advantageous for Henty. All of his companions either dead or having abandoned the adventure, Henty finds himself alone, lost, and near death in the Brazilian forest without any hope for aid. However, Mr McMaster, an English-speaking half native finds him and nurses him back to health, asking only that Henty read him his Dickens novels in return for the care he has given. Though Henty is at first unaware of his plight, he eventually discovers that Mr McMaster is keeping him captive and will never allow him to return to England. In this story, Henty’s captivity provides a physical representation of the way in which Waugh inverts the effects of Eurocentric and Universalistic thinking that Postcolonial scholars generally recognize. Instead of those whose culture is being perceived through a Eurocentric or Universalistic lens experiencing “othering” and manipulation, Waugh places those consequences on those who hold the malignant mindsets.

 

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