The empire of romance: love in a postcolonial climate

Deborah Philips

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


This chapter, in the collection End of Empire and the English novel since 1945, explores the traces of the British Empire in a genre of fiction which appears to have no direct relationship with colonialism: the popular romance novel. As the colonies of the British Empire were becoming the newly independent states and territories of the commonwealth, the fictional construction of Englishness and its place in the world could not be assumed as a secure identity. Popular romance novels of the post war period are replete with what Bhabha has termed the concept of 'fixity'. In the postwar colonial romance there is a recurrent narrative pattern - in which older brothers or fathers are lost, dead or enfeebled in an erstwhile British colony, remnants of a faded Empire. The youthful heroine appears to offer a narrative future that promises reconciliation and partnership in the new shape of the Commonwealth, but nonetheless, she continues to assume a white superiority.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnd of empire and the English novel since 1945
EditorsRachael Gilmour, Bill Schwarz
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherManchester University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780719085789
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


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