Monthly Archives: September 2013

The British Empire in English Novels: Kim and Burmese Days

A family photo from northeastern India, c.1880's

A family photo from northeastern India, c.1880’s

At her zenith, the British Empire governed a quarter of the Earth’s land and brought roughly a quarter of the word’s population under her dominion. The Empire was so huge that it was hailed as the empire ‘on which the sun never sets’. Yet by 1920s, the very word ’empire’ became an object of ridicule. David Low, the satirical cartoonist, even represented the British Empire as Colonel Blimp – a middle – aged man who is pompous, aggressive, shallow and slow – witted. The unwarranted self-assurance in the late nineteenth century has descended to self – doubting and deteriorated into shattered confidence. This process has been illustrated in many English novels, among which Kim (Rudyard Kipling) and Burmese Days (George Orwell) are ones of the most representative works. 

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