Cross-colonial encounters and cultural contestation in Somerset Maugham's 'Rain'

Kuttainen, Victoria (2019) Cross-colonial encounters and cultural contestation in Somerset Maugham's 'Rain'. In: MacDonald, Kate, and Ehland, Christoph, (eds.) The Imperial Middlebrow: cross-colonial encounters and expressions of power in middlebrow literature and culture, 1890-1940. Brill. (In Press)

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Abstract

As the Pacific finally opened up for mass tourism in the early twentieth century, it became a site of accelerated image-based consumption, increased mobility, and cross-cultural misunderstanding. Fuelled by hundreds of early films that cast fantasies of island belles and Dorothy Lamour-style glamour—girls, the Pacific became a site of spectacle and desire that were intimately entwined with modernity. During this same period, the Modern Girl emerged out of the ascendant cultures of spectacle and consumerism, as both an emblem of liberation and a site of cultural contestation. The Modern Girl and the modernising Pacific are rich topics for conjoined analysis: as products of the emerging ocularcentric culture of image production associated with the rise of photography, film, and advertising; as sites for enactments of social mobility; and as bodies of desire subject to what Foucault has identified as various regimes of regulation and control. Brought together in the story "Rain" by paradigmatic middlebrow writer Somerset Maugham, the Modern Girl and the Pacific also become objects of cultural projection and and speculation. This chapter reads Maugham's "Rain" as a commentary on the collision of modernity with its various others. It also considers how, as a hit sensation repeatedly adapted for stage and screen, Maugham's Modern Girl, Sadie, subsequently comes to embody the dynamics of projection, desire, reproduction, and consumption at the heart of the modern, international mass media spectacle.

Item ID: 55838
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
Funders: Margaret and Colin Roderick
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2018 23:29
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200524 Comparative Literature Studies @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950203 Languages and Literature @ 100%
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