TitleExile and empire
NameSammond, Kenneth (author), Walker, Steven F. (chair), Walker, Janet A. (internal member), Diamond, M. Josephine (internal member), Smith, R. Alden (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Imperialism in literature,
Exile (Punishment) in literature,
Virgil.Aeneis--Criticism and interpretation,
Rushdie, Salman. Satanic verses--Criticism and interpretation
DescriptionThis dissertation juxtaposes Virgil’s Aeneid with Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses in order to explore how epics, which question and upend our very ideas of civilization, represent a crisis in culture and anticipate new ways of imagining community. This juxtaposition, developed from allusions to Virgil found in The Satanic Verses, examines how Virgil’s epic imagines empire and how Rushdie’s work, as a type of epic, creates a narrative that I term, ‘post-imperial.’ Post-imperial narrative is defined as part of the evolution of the epic genre and its ways of imagining community. To create this definition, I represent a genealogy of epic traits both structural and thematic, arguing that epic themes express totalizing perspectives and changes that irrevocably alter the world. This genealogy reveals how epics imagine communities by creating self-definitional traits, historical and cosmological contexts, and anticipated futures. I argue that the Aeneid, an epic concerned with the founding of Rome, a new type of imagined community, provided a central basis upon which the British Empire imagined itself and based its imperial aspirations. The Aeneid is examined within three iii contexts: first, how it imagined and subverted the ‘national’ ideals of the nascent Roman Empire; second, how it was interpreted and used by the British Empire to justify aspirations of conquest and subjugation; and, finally, how it was rejected by post-colonial British writers for its role in imagining empire. As a post-imperial text, The Satanic Verses is situated and analyzed in relation to the ways that Virgil’s Aeneid was recognized as the national epic from which Western imperial ideals have been drawn. As such, I shed light on the epic, explore the ways the Roman and British Empires are understood, and introduce the post-imperial as a way in which texts have begun to supersede Western narratives of empire. Finally, this dissertation argues that the trope of the exile makes such epics possible, proposing that the ‘national’ community imagined in Virgil’s Aeneid requires a protagonist who is both foreign and native, but regarded by many natives as an outsider. It concludes that post-imperial texts also require a similar type of protagonist.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Kenneth Sammond
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.