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Indian Arrivals 1870–1915Networks of British Empire$
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Elleke Boehmer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198744184

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198744184.001.0001

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Lotus Artists

Lotus Artists

Self-orientalism and Decadence

(p.131) 3 Lotus Artists
Indian Arrivals 1870–1915

Elleke Boehmer

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 explores how the end-of-century Indian-English poets Manmohan Ghose and the slightly later Sarojini Naidu, as well as Ghose’s Oxford contemporary Cornelia Sorabji, both anglicised, yet orientalized their writing, and the personas they presented to British society. They contributed to creating, though were also shaped by, the orientalist effects of 1890s Decadence and aestheticism. As in previous chapters, the accent lies on how Indians in Britain fell in line with, yet at the same time actively participated in, the cultural inscription of India that shaped the imperial cosmopolitanism of the time. An important feature of this self-orientalization (or reverse-orientalism) is how these Indian artists and writers, including Tagore in the 1910s, were inducted into their aesthetic preoccupations through close friendships with leading British men of letters and cultural critics—Laurence Binyon, Edmund Gosse, and Arthur Symons—as well as through their affiliation with the avant-garde circles, clubs, and groups that defined the era, such as W. B. Yeats’ Rhymers Club.

Keywords:   aestheticism, Decadence, imperial cosmopolitanism, Lawrence Binyon, Manmohan Ghose, reverse-orientalism, Sarojini Naidu

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