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When West Meets East in E. M. Forster’s Hill of Devi

L'Occident à la rencontre de l'Orient dans The Hill of Devi de E. M. Forster
Catherine Delmas
p. 15-26


The Hill of Devi relate les deux premiers séjours d'E.M. Forster en Inde et l'expérience de déterritorialisation qui fut la sienne. Malgré ses efforts d'adaptation au pays, rendant les échanges interculturels possibles, ses lettres mettent au jour un sentiment paradoxal d'appartenance et d'exclusion. The Hill of Devi révèle l'écart qui sépare la culture d'origine anglaise de l'auteur qui transparaît dans le cadre narratif, la théâtralité, l'humour, le comique et la complicité avec son lecteur, et “l'étrangeté” de l'Inde. Le regard eurocentrique et déformant de l'observateur étranger, centré sur les anomalies, met en lumière le fossé qui se creuse entre un modèle et des normes culturels (anglais) et ce qui en dévie, l'ex-centricité. L'Inde devient, par l'exagération et la réduction, une scène de théâtre ou de carnaval. L'intertextualité (Gilbert et Sullivan, Alice in Wonderland) insiste sur les renversements, l'incongru ou le floutage des frontières. L'Inde dans The Hill of Devi est le résultat d'une construction culturelle, idéologique et esthétique. L'écart se mesure également en terme de différance, entre perception et représentation, écriture et agencement narratif. L'Inde n'est pas propice à la révélation mais à la confusion. Pourtant elle a une fonction poiétique, menant à une représentation mythique et esthétique de l'altérité dans A Passage to India, sous-tendue par une réflexion politique sur l'impérialisme.

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  • 1 Some of Edward Morgan Forster’s letters were edited by the author in The Hill of Devi published in (...)
  • 2 Mainly his friends Syed Ross Masood, Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, Robert Trevelyan, Malcolm Darling (...)

1E. M. Forster’s letters from India1, sent to his close friends and relatives2, relate his first tour of the country from October 1912 to March 1913 as a tourist and his second, six-month stay as Private Secretary to the Maharajah of Dewas, an independent, princely State in Central India. He was appointed there in 1921, recommended by his friend Malcolm Darling, in replacement of Colonel Wilson on sick leave. The Hill of Devi combines the epistolary genre, the journal and narrative framing, and the letters selected by Lago and Furbank verge on a chronicle replacing the diary he said he did not have time to keep in his peregrinations through the north of India. In The Hill of Devi, the constant shift between the epistolary and narrative modes, the report of daily experience and the tale of memory, creates a paradoxical sense of immediacy and nostalgic distance, as if India were seen through different lenses and points of view, that of a young man fresh from England and the hindsight of maturity forty years or so after his first visit. The discrepancy such a shift introduces also caracterises the tone of his letters, tinged with sympathetic humour or cruel irony, in which Forster relates the cultural shock he experienced. The empathy and critical distance they reveal raise the issue of the encounter between West and East, and readers may wonder whether “the twain” do actually meet.

  • 3 Forster never wrote a novel after completing A Passage to India in 1924 but turned to essay writing

2This paper, formally entitled “When West meets East”, could also be less officially called “the adventures of E.M. Forster in Topsy-Turvyland”. Indeed, in spite of his good will and efforts to adapt to the country, thus making cross-cultural encounters possible, Forster is constantly baffled by Indian life and culture. His Englishness seeps through the narrative frame and arrangement of The Hill of Devi, theatricality, tongue-in-cheek humour and comedy, and his winks at the reader. The Hill of Devi reveals a gap between the author’s cultural background and values, and the “queerness” – Forster’s own term – and otherness of India. It was an experience of defamiliarisation, allowing scope and material for the writing of his last novel A Passage to India3, but we may wonder to what extent India can be called a maieutic space or remains a “muddle” to the author.

3India isn’t home”, says Ronny in A Passage to India, expressing the feeling of estrangement of an Anglo-Indian in foreign land, and his desire to reassess English values and cling to codes of conduct inherited from his public school education. His negative statement highlights the gap between two countries and several communities which the Bridge Party actually fails to bridge. The fault line runs through the novel; it begins with the dichotomous description of Chandrapore, based on the ugly town of Bankipore, “horrible beyond words” (SL I 180), where Forster visited his friend Masood in January 1913; the narrator opposes the Indian and British parts of the town along topographic and aesthetic lines, and a symbolic cleavage between filth and cleanliness, chaos and order connoting moral judgement; the divide is echoed by the diverging paths separating the two friends, Aziz and Fielding, at the end of the novel, in an explicit ending with the controversial, ambiguous and negative statement :

The horses didn’t want it – they swerved apart; the earth didn’t want it […] the temples, the tank, the jail, the palace, the birds, the carrion, the Guest House, that came into view as they issued from the gap and saw Mau beneath: they didn’t want it, they said in their hundred voices, ‘No, not yet,’ and the sky said, ‘No, not there.’ (Forster, 1974, 317)

  • 4 This is the first line of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The Ballad of East and West”.

4Cosmic, human, institutional and animal centrifugal forces, issued from India itself, combine to make their friendship impossible in a colonial context. The multiplicity of Indian voices refuse to bridge the gap and paradoxically reinforce the colonizer’s point of view that “India isn’t home”, and Kipling’s view that “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet”.4 In spite of the ambiguous open ending which postpones reconciliation to an uncertain spacetime, Forster was not particularly in favour of independence in his letters; he criticized Gandhi and the growing unrest which threatened colonial power. Even though Anglo-Indians and Political Agents are the targets of his irony, he does not really call into question the British Empire whose representatives and officials (except Ronny) considered that the sub-continent was “home”. “Home” or “not home”? Englishness exported to the colonies or threatened by otherness? Those were the questions raised by colonialism. The colonial situation entailed two contrary forces: British expansion and hegemony, and a withdrawal mirroring a sense of national and cultural identity, symbolized by the club, an endotic space in exotic land.

5On the one hand Englishness was reaffirmed in and by the microcosm of the English (or rather British) community, ironically represented in A Passage to India by the undifferentiated Burtons and Turtons, the club (both a refuge in times of trouble, reminiscent of the Great Mutiny, and the epitome of cultural values, as the performance of ‘Cousin Kate’ by the local Memsahibs ironically testifies), institutions (a school, the court of justice, the seat of government), and the emblems of ‘civilisation and progress’ (the hospital, the railway station, “the roads which intersect at right angles” (10).

  • 5 Homi Bhabha explains in The Location of Culture (1994, 86) that mimicry actually highlights differe (...)

6On the other hand, the colonial situation triggered off a sense of alienation, a feeling of estrangement, the awareness of a gap, represented by Kipling in some of his short stories and Orwell in Burmese Days. This gap went beyond the slippage or difference put forward by Homi Bhabha,5 and was illustrated by stereotypes of the Other, deeply rooted on each side of the divide, as you always are someone’s Other.

7Forster’s situation was different, however. He was not an Anglo-Indian, born or living in India, and cut off from the Indian people. Forster first went to India in 1912 with Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson and Robert Trevelyan to visit his Indian friends: Masood, to whom he had been tutor in latin at Oxford, and Ahmed and Abu Saeed Mirza whom he had met in London; he stayed at their places, met their Indian friends, some being muslim nationalists, ate and appreciated Indian food, and attended plays and dancing often organised for him. They introduced him to India before and during his two visits, and he had the “privilege” to see India from within, or as Adela says in A Passage to India, “the real India”, although in Forster’s case it was limited to educated Indians and aristocratic families. 

8Forster was obviously not racially prejudiced like some of the characters he portrays in A Passage to India, or the Anglo-Indians he met (Memsahibs or Political Agents). He even turned the matter into a joke, in a letter to Masood written in 1910 and signed: “from Forster, member of the Ruling Race to Masood, a nigger” (SL I 101). Anglo-Indians thought his staying among “Natives” queer and his being employed by a Maharajah unseemly. His being ignored by the Political Agent during his visit to the Maharajah even nearly created a diplomatic incident. If Forster often concluded that life in India was “queer”, he, too, was considered queer by the Anglo-Indian community, who may have suspected his homosexuality, and he regarded them as “odd”.

9Forster remained an Englishman in India, and even though he wore Indian clothes, ate Indian food, and was steeped in Indian culture – “I have fallen straight into Indian (i.e. Native) life” (SL I 141) –, he remained himself: “though I am dressed as a hindu I shall never become one” (HD 105). It is echoed in A Passage to India by Fielding's uneasiness: “Fielding, who had dressed up in native costume, learnt from his excessive awkwardness in it that all his motions were makeshifts”, India remaining “a civilization which the west can disturb but will never acquire” (244).

But Forster was not an Anglo-Indian and he turned the hyphen separating the two words and the two communities (English residents and Indians) into a connector revealing his attempts to bridge the gap and the desire of the liberal humanist to “Only Connect” (the subtitle to Howards End) exemplified by his own friendship with and deep attachment to Syed Ross Masood, and by the characters of Fielding, Aziz and Mrs Moore in A Passage to India. The hyphen could first be used as a metaphor for the in-betweenness of an Englishman attached to his culture but whose benevolence and good will, and his efforts to adapt, were praised by the local community. It could also epitomise the epistolory genre itself, the link between East and West, sender and receiver.

10Yet Forster was aware of a difference, symbolized by and contained in this very hyphen: “I am in the middle of very queer life, whether typically Oriental I have no means of knowing, but it isn’t English.” (SL I 146). In The Hill of Devi, Forster’s response, as he saw “the real India”, however limited to the microcosm of the Palace and some aristocratic families, is ambivalent and hovers between open-mindedness and resentment, the acceptance of otherness and the criticism of ‘queerness’. The Hill of Devi, which relates anecdotes, describes festivals and draws the portrait of his Indian friends and colleagues, conveys a paradoxical sense of belonging and yet un-belonging, an experience of estrangement which is first sensorial as he is faced with a saturation of colours, sounds, movement and the richness of food.

11The sense of displacement and otherness he experienced at Dewas, in spite of his efforts to adapt, appears in the repetition of the signifier “queerness” which refers to a multiplicity of signifieds (people, situations, objects….) and seems to echo the inevitability of a fact, suggested by the modal verb in the following statement: “Life here will be queer beyond description” (HD 54). In a letter to Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson (10 April 1921), he feels “disjointed”, “or rather, I fear that I have lost my old power of joining up” (SL II 3). In another (6 August 1921), he says he is too old for “quaintness and absurdity, silliness” or “tomfooleries” (SL II 9). His sense of belonging is constantly baffled and thwarted by what he sees. The exocentric gaze of the foreign observer and his pre-constructed vision of the world reveal a discrepancy between a cultural model or center (Englishness) and what deviates from it, i.e. ex-centricity. This deviation from the (English) norm is illustrated by the term “warped” often used by Forster, and it actually casts light on his distorting gaze prone to focus on anomaly, more than on what is observed.

12He notes down what is broken, distorted, warped, delayed, unexpected, out of use or used for a different purpose: a carriage which never arrives (HD 13), a car which breaks down (HD 59), missed appointments, untimely departures and arrivals, unfulfilled promises, the gap between  “the time it (a banquet) was meant to be and the time it was” (HD 17), between cause and effect, or the lack of certainty and information. The deviation from implicit English norms of efficiency, competence, reliability, punctuality is gauged through the observer’s cultural gaze and point of view, and is emphasized by his comments and generalisations on India – “as usual” (HD17), “so seldom” (HD 24) – even typology : “it’s so typical of the Oriental who makes a howling mess over one thing and does another with perfect success and grace.” (HD 28).

13The gap between norm and anomaly is the staple of comedy, and in The Hill of Devi, it relies on the description of what is amiss, and the narration of mishaps, misunderstandings and misuse, situational comedy being emphasized by humour. The distancing effect is rendered by stylistic distortion (emphasis, amplification and enumeration) mirroring grotesque representation, repetition and difference – “his expected arrival, his non-arrival and his actual arrival” (HD 82) –, and similes which combine incongruous elements. Modes of representation such as reification, bathos, farce and theatricality emphasise the distancing effect and distorting point of view.

  • 6 As stated in the introduction to L'œuvre de François Rabelais et la culture populaire au Moyen Age (...)

14When Forster puts on Indian clothes for a banquet, he stages himself, becomes a character in “a funny scene” (HD 17). The incongruous association between vehicle and tenor in his similes debunks the grandeur of the scene – his waistcoat is “the colour of a Napolitan ice”, the crimson mark on his forehead is “like a loaf of bread” (HD 17) – and turns it into a carnivalesque episode. Textual enumeration, associating men and animals at random in the same sentence, and saturation which casts light on the Rajah’s gaudy taste, echo and emphasise the “carnival” to which the party following the Rajah’s brother is later compared (HD 27). Although Forster is a participant, he is also a detached observer whose comments re-establish the boundary between actors and spectators, art and life usually abolished by the carnival according to Bakhtin6. The description of his costume asserts his sense of belonging as a guest and a participant, and his estrangement as a man in disguise, ready for the show, as he later suggests when he compares his dhoti to “a voluminous yet not entirely efficient pair of bathing drawers” (HD 105).

  • 7 As analysed by Roland Barthes in “Continent perdu”, Mythologies, Paris : Seuil, 1957, and Salman Ru (...)

15India undergoes a paradoxical process of exaggeration and reduction, colouring and obliteration7 which turns it into a stage. The Rajah is “a bright and tiny young man” who lives in a “tidy little town” and Dewas is “an amazing little state which can have no parallel except in a Gilbert and Sullivan opera” (HD 15). Intertextuality is for that matter revealing. Both the carnival and operas by Gilbert and Sullivan evoke a reversal of values and illustrate Forster’s representation of his adventures in topsy turvy land.

16The emphasis is on blurred boundaries – “little is clear cut in India” (HD 35) –, on the discrepancy between what is expected and what really happens – “Everything that happens is said to be one thing and proves to be another” (HD 59) – and everything is “turned upside down” by the birth of a baby (HD 75). Like Alice, Forster “plunges into an unknown world” (HD, preface, 9) which challenges his bearings and criteria. The hypotexts mentioned early in The Hill of Devi – operas by Gilbert and Sullivan, and Alice in Wonderland according to Malcolm Darling’s view of Dewas, “the oddest corner of the world outside Alice in Wonderland” (34) – are programmatic and orientate the reading of The Hill of Devi. But the choice of such hypotexts also mirrors the author’s warping gaze, ready to focus on reversals between signifier and signified, things and situations. Like Jonathan Swift in Gulliver's Travels, Forster emphasises incongruity, absurdity, and his baffled expectations. India is staged, reduced, appropriated by the narrative and epistolary voice, and the performance reveals a eurocentric point of view, and Forster’s Englishness.

  • 8 Francis Eden, Tigers, Durbars and Kings (1837-38)
  • 9 Joe Randolph Ackerley followed the advice of his friend E.M. Forster and went to India as Private S (...)
  • 10 L and E are the internal filters that constrain the text, A and R are the outside layers of the st (...)
  • 11 In The Dialogic imagination, M. Bakhtin explains that the novel is “a dialogized representation of (...)

17India is thus staged and shown in his “Amusing letters home”, as he calls his letters, in the tradition of Miss Eden,8 a genre retained and emphasized by his friend J.R. Ackerley,9 and whose analysis cannot be made without referring to the aesthetics of reception. Forster’s winks at and complicity with his readers, at the expense of Indians, reinforces the gap between India and Englishness. India is a construct, created by the text, its language, tone and “encyclopaedia”, and it becomes an interface between author and reader, as analysed by Jean Jacques Lecercle in his ALTER diagram.10 Comedy, humour and intertextuality thus constrain the text of his “amusing letters” as announced by the preface. They are also fraught with stereotypes about Oriental time, uncertainty, lack of efficiency and reasonableness, chaos, and the general idea that India will be India. Such ideologemes, to take up Bakhtin’s terminology,11 are another interface between author and reader as Jean-Jacques Lecercle explains: “‘Ideology’ is disseminated in the ALTER model, not only in the L and E actants, but in the inward-pointing arrows that inscribe it in the text, and in the outward-pointing arrows that interpellate subjects: A< (L>[T]< E) > R”,  (Lecercle 200). However, Forster’s targets are likewise Anglo-Indians, Political Agents, hierarchy, classification, bad manners, himself and Englishness; he seems to say that colonisation would be acceptable if English people were civilised. Forster’s irony in his letters is a prism through which he observes the world at large, and it is not only directed at Indians, thus paving the way for the writing of A Passage to India and the critical portrait of the Anglo-Indian community.

  • 12 Orientalism and Culture and Imperialism

18Nevertheless India remains a representation and a cultural and ideological construct as Edward Said showed in his work12. There is no such thing as an innocent or virgin gaze as Forster claimed in Abinger Harvest (259); it is necessarily cultural and ideological. India in The Hill of Devi is a construct as he acknowledges in his preface written in 1953, which sounds like a confession: “I was writing to people of whom I was fond and whom I wanted to amuse, with the result that I became too humorous and too conciliatory, and too prone to turn remote and rare matters into suburban jokes […] I did not really think the Indians quaint and my deepest wish was to be alone with them.” (HD 9).

  • 13 Fanny Parkes's letters from India, Wandering of a Pilgrim in Search of the Picturesque, are a colle (...)

19Forster was also conscious that his representation of India was an aesthetic construct, when he mocks the topoi of orientalist painting, writing about Port Said: “The canal after Port Said was in a way disappointing, for the East has been so painted that nothing was new. It was like sailing through the Royal Academy”  (SL I 140). Forster rejects and derides the picturesque yet he cannot avoid painting some tableaux of village or country life which convey his enchantment and  his “ceaseless excitement and pleasure” (SL I 141), and are reminiscent of Fanny Parkes’s sketches representing the topoi of oriental life13. The description of the Friday prayer at the mosque in Delhi (SL I 147) evokes a painting by John Frederick Lewis. He is conscious of the clichés he uses: “I sat in a balcony watching the East pass – All this has been described and I won’t renew the attempt” (SL I 146). Although delighted by otherness, he constantly refers to English norms in some of his similes, which convey an uncanny impression of similarity and difference : a landscape compared to Dartmoor (SL II 16), a Cathedral, a piazza (SL I 159), or Roman antiquity (“the Appian way” SL, I, 149). He passes aesthetic judgement on Dewas, which lacks picturesqueness, compared to some brief moments of beauty when he can admire the “glorious India” and shift from theatricality to picturesqueness. Beauty is limited to the stasis of a scenery or backcloth, “a theatre or picture gallery”, i.e.: a mental construct unable to contain the multiplicity and the hybridity of “Indias” and to fix Indian people themselves to whom he also applies aesthetic judgement – the “unaesthetic hindu character” (HD 85).

20Forster’s aesthetic gaze and construct are based on a cultural opposition between the familiar and the unknown conveyed by an unbridgeable gap between the apollonian and the dionysiac, measure and excess, which may be accounted for by his refusal to be “emotional” and his claims that his approach is “intellectual” (SL II 10). The religious festival of Holi which he attends for several nights and days and calls “the Hindu Dionysia”, “a ribald oriental farce” (HD 61), amounts to scenic chaos and musical discordance which hurt his sense of harmony. The opposition casts light on his Englishness, i.e.: the classic formation of a Cambridge man, conveyed by Fielding in A Passage to India, who prefers the “beauty of form” and the Greco-Roman heritage to the formlessness of Indian art: “The Mediterranean is the human norm. When men leave that exquisite lake […] they approach the monstrous and extraordinary; and the southern exit leads to the strangest experience of all.” (275). India’s difference from the Greco-Roman heritage has been underlined by Raymond Schwab in La renaissance orientale: “Elle pose en sa totalité la grande question du Différent. Différent d’un monde unique. Elle est ceci, un passé qui n’est pas mort, un antique d’aujourd’hui et de toujours […] Un monde total en face de l’héritage gréco-romain, il n’y en a pas d’autre.” (Schwab 503). Forster realizes it after leaving the country, in a letter to Malcolm Darling: “Dewas, you see, as it recedes, seems to me a mystic country where all we are accustomed to regard as important is performed as a game, and where we seldom grasp and never enjoy what is important.” (SL II , letter 233).

21Lago and Furbank speak of Forster’s “real initiation into Hindu India” (SL I 137), quite a change from the Muslim India he knew and preferred as his letters testify. He is baffled by hinduism, in spite of his efforts to converse with the Maharajah or attend ceremonies. He associates hinduism with disorder, noise, discordance, a muddle more than a mystery which his western rationality cannot grasp, a reaction which is more Western than merely English or Anglo-Indian as Raymond Schwab shows: “Toute la réflexion hellénique a été une marche à un absolu de la pensée […] La Grèce a travaillé à décoller le mieux possible du mythique le raisonné ; l’Inde à recoller l’humain à un divin qui est l’univers et la négation de l’univers.” (Schwab 503). When leaving the place, Forster’s reaction to the “queerness” of India denotes his Greco-Roman cultural heritage, and his judeo-christian origins, and not merely his Englishness.

22If India remains a muddle for the characters of A Passage to India, Forster could at times experience “a feeling of liberation and initiation” in the “numinous”old Palace, for instance (HD 47). However India is not a maieutic space as the “externals” (SLII 10) constantly resist either revelation or comprehension. Forster could only experience moments of “odd harmony” (HD 83), an oxymoronic association of terms reflecting the “queerness” of the country, his sense of belonging and unbelonging, his own position of in-betweenness, his affects of “bewilderment and pleasure” (HD 9), and representation.

23The gap between East and West can finally be measured in terms of differing: differing between perception and representation, between the letters written on the spur of the moment and the narrative framing, between writing and editing. Like Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, unable to turn his impressionistic notes on India into a construction of reality in his travelogue – “What I offer is not reality, but appearances to me. From such appearances perhaps, in time, reality may be constructed.” (1914, preface, v) – Forster was unable to write A Passage to India at Dewas; it was differed, and only completed later, because “the gap between India remembered and India experienced was too wide” (HD 153), as if his memory of his first visit had mythologized India and made it more beautiful or pleasant than it was at Dewas, as if the reality of the place was elusive in Dickinson's case or could not be fictionalised.Yet Forster’s encounter with India did have a poietic function and he turned it into a mythic and aesthetic representation of otherness – an ultimate experience as he never wrote another novel afterwards –, supported by a political reflection on imperialism twenty years or so before Independence.

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Ackerley, Joe Randolph, Hindoo Holiday: an Indian Journal (1932), Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1983.

Bhabha, Homi, The Location of Culture, London: Routledge, 1994.

Bakhtine, Mikhaïl, L'œuvre de François Rabelais et la culture populaire au Moyen Âge et sous la Renaissance, trans. Andrée Robel, Paris: Gallimard, 1970.

Bakhtin, Mikhaïl, The Dialogic Imagination, Four Essays, trans. Michael Holquist, Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996.

Barthes, Roland, “Continent perdu”, Mythologies, Paris: Seuil, 1957.

Dickinson, Goldsworthy Lowes, Appearances, Being Notes of Travel, London: Dent and Sons, 1914.

Eden, Francis, Tigers, Durbars and Kings (1837-38), London: John Murray, 1988.

Forster, Edward Morgan, The Hill of Devi (1953), Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1965.

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Forster, Abinger Harvest (1936), San Diego, London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1964.

Lecercle, Jean-Jacques, Interpretation as Pragmatics, London: Macmillan, 1999.

Lago, Mary and P.N. Furbank, eds, Selected Letters of Edward Morgan Forster, 2 volumes, Cambridge, Mass. : The Belknap Press of Harvard UP, 1983.

Parkes, Fanny, Wanderings of a Pilgrim in Search of the Picturesque, ed. by Ghose and Mills, Manchester: Manchester UP, 2001.

Rushdie, Salman, “Outside the Whale”, Imaginary homelands: Essays and Criticism (1981-1991), London: Ganta Books, 1992.

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Schwab, Raymond, La renaissance orientale, Paris: Payot, 1950.

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Note de fin

1 Some of Edward Morgan Forster’s letters were edited by the author in The Hill of Devi published in 1953. Other letters, edited by Mary Lago and P.N. Furbank and entitled Selected Letters, were published posthumously in two volumes in 1983. The works will be referred to in this paper as HD and SL.

2 Mainly his friends Syed Ross Masood, Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, Robert Trevelyan, Malcolm Darling, Florence Barger, and his mother Alice Clara Forster.

3 Forster never wrote a novel after completing A Passage to India in 1924 but turned to essay writing.

4 This is the first line of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The Ballad of East and West”.

5 Homi Bhabha explains in The Location of Culture (1994, 86) that mimicry actually highlights difference rather than similarity, which enables Westerners to preserve their identity and maintain an unbridgeable gap between natives and colonizers.

6 As stated in the introduction to L'œuvre de François Rabelais et la culture populaire au Moyen Age et sous la Renaissance, Paris, Gallimard, NRF, 1970.

7 As analysed by Roland Barthes in “Continent perdu”, Mythologies, Paris : Seuil, 1957, and Salman Rushdie in “Outside the Whale”, Imaginary homelands: Essays and Criticism (1981-1991), London: Granta Books, 1992.

8 Francis Eden, Tigers, Durbars and Kings (1837-38)

9 Joe Randolph Ackerley followed the advice of his friend E.M. Forster and went to India as Private Secretary to the Maharajah of Chhatarpur. He related his stay in Hindoo Holiday: an Indian Journal, 1932.

10 L and E are the internal filters that constrain the text, A and R are the outside layers of the structure by which it has an interface with the world in the interpellation of actors. They are induced by the text, they are the positions that T projects in order to acquire an author and a reader. ” J.-J. Lecercle, Interpretation as Pragmatics, 75.

11 In The Dialogic imagination, M. Bakhtin explains that the novel is “a dialogized representation of an ideologically freighted discourse” (333). The novel “must organize the exposure of social languages and ideologies, and the exhibiting and experiencing of such languages: the experience of a discourse, a world view and an ideologically based act, or the exhibiting of the everyday life of social, historical and national worlds or microworlds, or of the socio-ideological worlds of epochs, or of age groups and generations linked with socio-ideological worlds.” (365)

12 Orientalism and Culture and Imperialism

13 Fanny Parkes's letters from India, Wandering of a Pilgrim in Search of the Picturesque, are a collection of sketches, anecdotes and vignettes. Also edited by William Dalrymple, Begums, Thugs and White Moghuls, Eland 2002.  

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Catherine Delmas, « When West Meets East in E. M. Forster’s Hill of Devi »Études britanniques contemporaines, 37 | 2009, 15-26.

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Catherine Delmas

Université Stendhal-Grenoble 3.
Catherine Delmas est professeur de littérature anglophone à l’Université Stendhal-Grenoble 3 et directrice du CEMRA (Centre d’Etudes sur les Modes de la Représentation Anglophone, EA 3016). Sa thèse, son dossier d'HDR et ses travaux de recherche portent sur les modes de représentation de l’Orient par l’Occident, dans le roman et les récits de voyage britanniques des xixe et xxe siècles, sur le discours orientaliste et (anti)impérialiste aux époques coloniale et postcoloniale, et plus récemment sur le modernisme et le postmodernisme. Elle a publié plusieurs articles sur Joseph Conrad, T.E.Lawrence, Kipling, E.M.Forster, Lawrence Durrell, Michael Ondaatje et J.M.Coetzee dans L’Epoque Conradienne, la Revue du Centre de Recherches sur l’Imaginaire, l’Identité et l’Interprétation dans les littératures de langue anglaise de l’université de Reims, la revue du GERB à Bordeaux III, La Licorne à Poitiers, Confluences à Paris X-Nanterre, Les Annales de l’université de Savoie ou aux Editions du Temps. Son ouvrage sur Ecritures du désert : voyageurs et romanciers anglophones xixe-xxe siècles a été publié par les Presses universitaires de Provence en 2005. Un ouvrage sur History/Stories of India, co-dirigé avec le Professeur Chitra Krishnan de l'Université de Madras vient d'être publié par Macmillan à Delhi, Inde (2009).

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