Postcolonial look at the colonial epoch: Julian Barnes’ “Arthur & George” (2005)


The article deals with the novel “Arthur & George” by Julian Barnes, which touches on the issues specific to the post-colonial novel, while being formally a colonial one, if the author’s nationality is considered to be the main criterion for the attribution of the novel. Julian Barnes, one of the leading authors of modern English literature, cannot ignore such relevant issues as the problems of the Colonial Other in the English society. The specificity of the author's approach is his vision of the situation, which distinguishes him from other post-colonial authors, who consider the current situation, while he describes the late nineteenth century, when the Indians (or rather, Parsis), living in the metropolis, were a unique phenomenon. Depicting the images of real historical characters, such as George Edalji, a modest lawyer from the province, and the famous writer Arthur Conan Doyle, Barnes, on the one hand, once again, presents the national portrait of his country at the turn of the 19th and the 20th centuries, comparing the case of Edalji with the Dreyfus affair. On the other hand, he, in many respects, transfers to this epoch the system of values of the next period, emphasizing that the cause of Edalji’s persecution could be not so much racial, but rather social prejudices, which are not less characteristic of the English than the national ones.

Key words: 

English literature, Julian Barnes, “Arthur & George”, post-colonial novel, colonial novel.

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