Congratulations to Prof. Tara Wallace, whose book Imperial Characters: Home and Periphery in Eighteenth-Century Literature is now out in print from Bucknell University Press, in its Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture series edited by Greg Clingham.
During the long eighteenth century, Britain won and lost an empire in North America while consolidating its hegemony on the Indian subcontinent. The idea of imperial Britain became an essential piece of national self-definition, so that to be British was to be a citizen of an imperial power. The British literary imagination inevitably participated in the formulation and interrogation of this new national character, examining in fiction empire’s effects on the world at home.
Imperial Characters traces a range of literary articulations of how British national character is formed, changed, and distorted by Britain’s imperial project. Looking at texts from Aphra Behn’s early description of seventeenth-century colonists in Surinam to Robert Louis Stevenson’s historical narrative about eighteenth-century Scotsmen roaming the globe, Prof. Wallace shows how these works enact “the opportunities, disruptions, and dangers of imperial adventurism.”
Prof. Wallace is currently Professor of English and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in CCAS. Congratulations, Tara!