Depicting the Orient in Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone

Amna Matar Al-Neyadi


Nineteenth century Britain witnessed an increased interest with the Orient, largely as a result of the imperial expansion that reached its peak during that time. India was one of the main Oriental interests of the Victorians because of the political, commercial, religious and scientific passion of the nineteenth century people in India. For that reason, various Victorian authors who wrote about India were mostly characterized as being orientalist and writing in a biased way. One such example of this was Joseph Rudyard Kipling. This, as Edward Said explains, was because nineteenth century writers were aware of the empire’s authority. However, I propose that Wilkie Collins tended to have a positive attitude towards the Orient in his novel The Moonstone and towards the Brahmins specifically, which is an attitude that deviates from what is currently known about him. To argue this, the paper will analyse the narrative techniques and the reflection of some of the characters’ attitudes towards the Orient that Collins adopts in his novel in order to allow Victorian readers to challenge the stereotyped beliefs of the Orient. It will also comment on Collins’s employment of the sensational sub-genre particularly to draw his own attitude of the Orient.



Brahmins, India, Sensational Novel, Victorian Orientalism

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