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Colonial Tropes and Postcolonial TricksRewriting the Tropics in the novela de la selva$
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Lesley Wylie

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781846311956

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846315220

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Jungle Fever: Degeneration as a Trop[olog]ical Disease

Jungle Fever: Degeneration as a Trop[olog]ical Disease

(p.122) Chapter Five Jungle Fever: Degeneration as a Trop[olog]ical Disease
Colonial Tropes and Postcolonial Tricks
Liverpool University Press

This chapter positions the urban traveller's slip into savagery in the novela de la selva within the context of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century debates about tropical degeneration. It shows that the urban traveller's slip into savagery in the tropical jungle issues the mortal blow to the leitmotif of Otherness. Although the urban protagonists describe the forest and its indigenous inhabitants in narratives replete with imperial tropes, in these novels the colonial gaze is returned and it is they who register as conspicuously exotic. Throughout the novela de la selva the notion of savagery is intensified and transformed into a powerful postcolonial rejoinder, with the tropical jungle refashioned not as a place of self-discovery, but of self-disintegration and corruption.

Keywords:   novela de la selva, savagery, urban traveller, tropical degeneration, tropical jungle

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