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Virginia Woolf and the Common(wealth) Reader$
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Helen Wussow and Mary Ann Gillies

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780989082679

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780989082679.001.0001

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Networks of Empire

Networks of Empire

Virginia Woolf and the Travel Writing of Emily Eden

(p.33) Networks of Empire
Virginia Woolf and the Common(wealth) Reader

Jeanne Dubino

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the travel writing of Emily Eden, whose Letters was reviewed favorably by Woolf in 1919. The focus is not on Woolf's review of the 1919 edition of Eden's Letters, but rather on Eden's Up the Country: Letters Written to Her Sister from the Upper Provinces of India (1866), her account of her travels in the Upper Provinces of India from 1837–1840. In this collection of letters we can glean a vision of the India that Woolf's Pattle ancestors would have seen, but with, perhaps, Eden's more trenchant eye. Travel writer William Dalrymple describes Up the Country, as “the most exquisitely written record of colonial disdain and hauteur to come down to us[,]... so well done that it is impossible not to laugh out loud while reading it: a guilty post-colonial pleasure.” At the same time that Eden makes her readers laugh with stories of her unhappiness during her time in India, she regales them with tales of imperialists abroad as the British Empire was nearing the height of its power. Interwoven into these tales is a detailed description of the infrastructure of empire—of its logistics.

Keywords:   Virginia Woolf, travel writing, Emily Eden, travel writers, Up the Country, India, British Empire

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