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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.64, No.4, 601 ~ 617, 2018
Provincializing Orientalism in A Tale of Two Cities
Richard Bonfiglio
This article explores the ways Charles Dickens’s roles as novelist and journal editor overlapped and influenced one another in the serial publication of A Tale of Two Cities (1859) and complicates recent historicist readings, which situate the novel in relation to the Indian Mutiny (1857-59), by calling attention to a double imperial logic used to construct British subjectivity not only against forms of Eastern Otherness but, moreover, against forms of Southern Otherness associated with the European South, especially Italy. Analyzing Dickens’s historical representation of the French Revolution in relation to its contemporary international political context, this essay examines how the novel’s serial publication draws upon political discourse from contemporary articles on the Second Italian War of Independence (1859-61) appearing concurrently in Dickens’s journal, All the Year Round. Orientalism circulates simultaneously in the novel as a distant and exotic as well as a provincial and parochial representation of racial and cultural Otherness.
Key Words
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, Orientalism, Italian Risorgimento, Revolution
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