“A Mart for Everything”: Commercial Empire and India as Bazaar in Long Eighteenth-Century Literature

  • Diego Saglia
Part of the New Transculturalisms, 1400–1800 book series (NETRANS)


Exploring literary and cultural documents from the early eighteenth century to the Romantic period, this chapter investigates the ways in which fictional and non-fictional representation in Britain responded to, and resonated with, the aesthetic and ideological challenge of India as an overwhelming profusion of signs and objects. In the long eighteenth century, under the aegis of commercial capitalism, the age-old image of India as a cornucopia and a land of mirabilia mutated into that of a reservoir of commodities and products, an inexhaustible source of material spoils of empire. This chapter analyzes this developing discourse in light of an “aesthetics of the bazaar” centred on accumulation, multiplication, and panoramic totalization, and throws light on the imperial and anti-imperial implications of attempting to represent India’s untamable superabundance.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diego Saglia
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ParmaParmaItaly

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