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Victor Segalen and the Aesthetics of
                        DiversityJourneys between Cultures$
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Charles Forsdick

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198160144

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198160144.001.0001

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Exoticism and Empire

Exoticism and Empire

Colonial Literature and Post-Colonial Critique

(p.58) 2 Exoticism and Empire
Victor Segalen and the Aesthetics of Diversity

Charles Forsdick

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the concept of colonial literature. By placing Victor Segalen's exoticism in a colonial frame, it argues that texts emerging from colonial contact are not necessarily only part of a problematic archive, but can also propose novel solutions to contemporary investigations of colonial history and culture. It locates Segalen's concept of ‘exotisme’ within its contemporary French New Imperialist background whilst at the same time considering its precursory relation to current understandings of representation of otherness within French literature. It contrasts Segalen's early twentieth-century absorption into colonial literature with radically divergent late twentieth-century post-colonial approaches to his work. In assessing Segalen and his aesthetics within their colonial context, this chapter considers the relatively unstudied links of his work with la littérature coloniale, the author's casting as le Kipling français, and his association with the colonial official and ideologue Charles Régismanset.

Keywords:   Victor Segalen, exoticism, colonial literature, colonial history, culture, French literature, aesthetics, imperialism, Charles Régismanset

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