It is worth remembering that the inviting colonial prospects fashioned by the writer of this Edinburgh Review article, as well as the countless other nineteenth-century travelogues and puffs, journals of exploration, pamphlets, illustrated views and newspaper reports, were both produced and consumed very far from the places they purported to depict. As this very quotation intimates, these were landscapes much less subject to those social practices and modes of interaction familiar in the metropolitan world. Indeed, as we have seen, one of the central problems of colonial settings was the apparent ease with which such modes and practices were subject to slippage and decay. For many writers, the success of colonisation depended critically on the individual emigrant’s ability to conform to the moral, social and civic behaviour considered appropriate to their new circumstances. One critical dimension of these representations was consequently their performative nature, the ways in which they reinforced certain normative behaviours considered essential to the emigrant’s success in the colonies, while excluding others. In relation to this process, writers such as Mary Louise Pratt, Stephen Aron, Howard Lamar and Leonard Thompson have figured inter-racial and inter-cultural colonial contact as dynamic and dialogic: both coloniser and colonised are seen to be engaged in a process of exchange, strategic reciprocity and negotiation rather than slippage and decay.
KeywordsEastern Province Colonial Setting Pictorial Illustration English Industriousness Agricultural Improvement
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