Original Research

Revising Stanley’s footsteps: encountering the ‘other’ in Darkest England (1996) by Christopher Hope

H. Roos
Literator | Vol 21, No 1 | a444 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v21i1.444 | © 2000 H. Roos | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 April 2000 | Published: 26 April 2000

About the author(s)

H. Roos, Department of Afrikaans & Dutch, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

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Abstract

As has now become a familiar image in Hope’s writings, once again ttie idea of looking at a society from the position of an outsider and an exile forms the central theme of Darkest England (1996). In this satirical novel, the tradition of nineteenth-century travel writings set in a colonial context is reversed, undermined, and then remarkably recreated to portray the present-day manifestation of encounters and relations between (black) Africa and the (white) West. Presenting the (fictional) journals of a Khoisan leader, David Mungo Booi, within a dynamic frame of reference to classical colonial texts by, among others, Livingstone and Stanley. Hope writes a new travel report. This essay discusses how, by the reversal of point of view, a change in time and space, and creating a satirical mood, the colonizer and the colonized are interchanged and the original texts are evoked to be rewritten. The notions of Self/Other, colonial /(post-)colonial and primitive/civilized are placed in new and disturbing contexts, adding to the complex structure of this fascinating text.

Keywords

Colonial Discourse; Post-Colonialism; Postmodernism; Travel Literature

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