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War of No Pity:
The Indian Mutiny and Victorian Trauma
Christopher Herbert

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"This gripping book is about an irrepressible mutiny that occurred within the Victorian imagination. The Sepoy rebellion and its ruthlessly vindictive putting-down proved two sides of a Möbius strip that, obsessively fretted by the Victorians themselves in a long agony of conscience, disclosed intolerable continuities between their dreams of virtue and their nightmares of abomination. Herbert's attention to a range of journals, histories, and novels is so scrupulous, sympathetic, and unflinching as to put to shame the doctrinaire anti-imperialist scholarship that is still prevalent within the field."--Herbert Tucker, University of Virginia

"This book speaks to an urgent question about the present: how does a world power represent and respond to the violence it has itself helped to bring about? Christopher Herbert brilliantly identifies a 'mutiny syndrome': a displaced response to a political violence that cannot be named but cannot be ignored or conjured away and thus persists as a kind of trauma. Readers will inevitably ask themselves whether we can claim to be doing better than our Victorian precursors in assessing our own responsibilities for the violence that is in the world today. A wonderful book."--David Simpson, University of California, Davis

"War of No Pity mounts a bold challenge to standard postcolonial interpretations of Victorian imperial culture. Through painstakingly close reading of an impressive array of both familiar and relatively unknown texts, and with vigorous writing, Christopher Herbert takes on a powerful critical consensus--from Edward Said's case against the West's unified 'will to power' to the dismissal of Victorian moral anxieties by prominent critics of Victorian literature. In short, this book fulfills its explicit goal of disturbing 'received opinion' in a field ready to be reinvigorated by fresh insights and questions."--Margery Sabin, Wellesley College

"Christopher Herbert has written a searching, scrupulously researched, cogently argued, and, above all, brave and independent book that deserves to be widely read and debated--a book sure to appeal to students and scholars in a variety of areas, including literary studies and history."--James Buzard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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File created: 4/21/2017

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