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Palgrave Macmillan

The Victorian Colonial Romance with the Antipodes

ISBN 9781137397829
Publication Date May 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

The study treats the Victorian Antipodes as a compelling, fantastical, and utopian site of romance and subsequent satire for five middle-class writers who went to New Zealand between 1840 and 1872. Examining their dreams and experiences and the writing produced from their travels, chapters illuminate how contact with England's opposite and mirror produced literary studies of motion, distance, inversion, primitivism, and travels in time and space, foregrounding the empire's instrumental shaping of literary form, challenging realism with romance and gesturing towards science fiction and modernism. It affirms the distinctness of colonial settlements central to the rising specialism of settler colonialism, and highlights the intersection of late-Victorian ideas and post-colonial theories often kept separate in criticism.

Helen Lucy Blythe is a Professor of British Literature in the Department of English at New Mexico Highlands University, USA and has published on the works of Anthony Trollope and Alfred Domett.

Introduction: The Meridian of the Antipodes: A Shadowy Resting Place
for the Imagination
1. A Victorian Sublunary Heaven: Emigration and Tom Arnold's 'Antipodistic' Romance
2. 'Looking Yonderly': Mary Taylor's Miss Miles: or, A Tale of Yorkshire Life (1890)
3. Antipodal Effervescence: Robert Browning, Alfred Domett, and Ranolf and Amohia: A South-Sea Day Dream (1872)
4. Crossings or the Swinging Door: Samuel Butler's Erewhon, Or Over the Range (1872)
5. Barbarous Benevolence: Anthony Trollope's The Fixed Period (1882) and Australia and New Zealand (1873)
Afterward: Shadows a Moving Man Cannot Catch


"Butler's Erewhon is the best known of the New Zealand utopias, an upside down world where illness was a crime, and crime a malady. Utopias were the hinges between this world and another where everything that was not known here was usual there, and Helen Lucy Blythe introduces us to the full range of imagined possibilities offered by New Zealand to its British visitors and settlers. This is a book equally valuable for students of fantastic commonwealths and of the cultural history of Aotearoa/New Zealand." - Jonathan Lamb, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, Vanderbilt University, USA
"Ranging from Robert Southey, Tom Arnold, and Arthur Hugh Clough to Alfred Dommett, Samuel Butler, and Anthony Trollope, Helen Lucy Blythe's The Victorian Colonial Romance with the Antipodes offers an excellent analysis of the Victorians' response to the topsy-turvy paradise of colonial New Zealand. It adds an important dimension to our understanding of the issues of emigration and colonization." - Patrick Brantlinger, James Rudy Professor Emeritus, Indiana University, USA
"Helen Lucy Blythe writes very compellingly about the Victorians' colonial romance with the Antipodes. This rich study deals with distance, space, and fantasy - as well as with the hard material facts of settler life on the other side of the world - and makes a major intervention in conceptualizing and theorizing how national identity is transported, transformed, and made anew. Combining close textual analysis with a wealth of unfamiliar sources, it's a terrific read." - Kate Flint, Provost Professor of English and Art History, University of Southern California, USA
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