Gypsies and the British Imagination, 1807-1930 by Deborah Nord Ph.D.

By Deborah Nord Ph.D.

Gypsies and the British mind's eye, 1807-1930, is the 1st e-book to discover totally the British obsession with Gypsies in the course of the 19th century and into the 20th. Deborah Epstein Nord lines a variety of representations of Gypsies within the works of such famous British authors John Clare, Walter Scott, William Wordsworth, George Eliot, Arthur Conan Doyle, and D. H. Lawrence. Nord additionally exhumes lesser-known literary, ethnographic, and ancient texts, exploring the attention-grabbing histories of nomadic author George Borrow, the Gypsy Lore Society, Dora Yates, and different not often tested figures and institutions.Gypsies have been either idealized and reviled by means of Victorian and early-twentieth-century Britons. linked to primitive wishes, lawlessness, crafty, and sexual extra, Gypsies have been additionally items of antiquarian, literary, and anthropological curiosity. As Nord demonstrates, British writers and artists drew on Gypsy characters and plots to redefine and reconstruct cultural and racial distinction, nationwide and private id, and the individual's dating to social and sexual orthodoxies. Gypsies have been lengthy linked to pastoral conventions and, within the 19th century, got here to face in for the traditional British prior. utilizing myths of switched infants, Gypsy kidnappings, and the Gypsies' murky origins, authors projected onto Gypsies their very own wants to get away conference and their anxieties concerning the ambiguities of identification. The literary representations that Nord examines have their roots within the interaction among the thought of Gypsies as a separate, frequently despised race and the psychic or aesthetic wish to dissolve the boundary among English and Gypsy worlds. via the start of the 20th century, she argues, romantic identity with Gypsies had hardened into caricature-a phenomenon mirrored in D. H. Lawrence's The Virgin and the Gipsy-and completely obscured the truth of Gypsy existence and heritage. (11/1/07)

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Gypsies and the British Imagination, 1807-1930

Gypsies and the British mind's eye, 1807-1930, is the 1st ebook to discover totally the British obsession with Gypsies in the course of the 19th century and into the 20th. Deborah Epstein Nord lines a number of representations of Gypsies within the works of such recognized British authors John Clare, Walter Scott, William Wordsworth, George Eliot, Arthur Conan Doyle, and D.

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40 The irony is obvious: Meg is banished as a vagrant because she has been ordered off the land that was her home. The act that exiles her also makes her an outlaw. By the middle of the novel, both Harry Bertram and the Gypsies have become dispossessed and homeless wanderers. Empire and Its Discontents Myths and narratives of Gypsy kidnappings, like that of Adam Smith, would dictate that Harry Bertram—if, indeed, taken by Meg or her people—be raised as a Gypsy in an unseen but nearby enclave. Such is not the fate of Harry, who was taken to Holland by smugglers immediately after his kidnapping and forcibly apprenticed to a commercial house, before being posted by the firm to India.

When does identification exceed its ethical bounds and become a kind of projection that obscures even the partial reality of the real Gypsy? indd 17 3/10/2006 9:36:01 AM 18 Introduction search for expression of self, nostalgia for a golden age, or critique of modernity? I have chosen in this book to focus on the Gypsy as surrogate self to the British writer because the most powerful and influential images of Gypsies in the literature of the nineteenth century convey the general longing to reimagine or expand British identity through a wider vocabulary of images and types.

Brought by memory and association back to the truth of his identity, Harry is embraced by the friends of his youth as an enfant trouvé. Hazy memories of the kidnapping seep into his consciousness, and he recalls, above all, falling into the arms of a tall woman “who started from the bushes and protected me for a time” (2:249). Gathered with the retainers of the old laird, Harry sees Meg appear again before him, “as if emerging out of the earth” (2:276). In a scene that rivals in its almost operatic theatricality that of Meg’s cursing of Harry’s father, the Gypsy is evoked as a towering, “gigantic” shape that belongs as much to ancient, elemental forms of nature as to humankind.

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