W. Somerset Maugham and the Politicisation of the Chinese Landscape


  • Isaac Yue, University of Hong Kong


In her investigation into the changing literary response to and examination of imperialism during the 1920s and the phenomenon of the rise of the colonial anti-hero, Barbara Bush cites Graham Greene, George Orwell and W. Somerset Maugham as three of the most influential authors of the period who helped perpetuate the West’s re-examination of the idea of colonialism (84). Indeed, with such memorable works as “Shooting an Elephant,â€Â The Quiet American and The Painted Veil, together with the abundance of scholarships that address and redress this topic, the importance of these writers to the development of post-colonialism in literature during the early twentieth century cannot be denied. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to this ongoing discussion by focusing on W. Somerset Maugham and his use of the Chinese landscape as a means to forward his views on this issue. In particular, I wish to pay attention to the significance of landscape depiction in his narratives and consider its relevance to our understanding of Maugham as an imperialist/anti-imperialist writer within the framework of conventional Saidian Orientalism.


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Author Biography

Isaac Yue, University of Hong Kong

Dr. Isaac Yue is Assistant Professor of Chinese at the University of Hong Kong. His research interests fall mainly into two areas: nineteenth century China-West studies and Imperial Chinese literature since the Song Dynasty. He has published widely in these fields in journals such as Victorian Literature and Culture, Journal of Oriental Studies and Études Chinoises.  




How to Cite

Yue, University of Hong Kong, I. (2013). W. Somerset Maugham and the Politicisation of the Chinese Landscape. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 7(1), 73–81. Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/asiatic/index.php/ajell/article/view/384