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O'Cinneide, M
Etudes Anglaises
Wheels Coming Off the Empire: Transport, Flight and Gender in Victorian Accounts of the 1857-58 Indian Uprising
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This article centres on representations of flight and conflict in Victorian female travellers' narratives of the Indian Uprising of 1857-58. The abrupt disruption of seemingly secure imperial order exposes the pragmatic realities of transport in British India. British army officers waver helplessly in the face of broken carriage wheels, recalcitrant horses and vanished servants, while their wives need to navigate the roads of an India whose revolutionary political upheaval has transformed the experiential reality of its terrain. Examining the representation of colonial transport through the blended genres of travel writing, refugee memoir and conflict narrative, I argue that the failures and makeshift arrangements produced by imperial crisis become a means through which British women travellers sought to conceptualise a more fundamental breakdown-the shattered illusion of spatial, temporal and ultimately epistemological control.
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