Coda: Beyond Satire and Celebration: Representing Empire in Post-War British Culture



The Coda examines the reasons why British literature of decolonization has been either overlooked or has been characterized as eulogizing colonialism. I look at the treatment of the history of British colonialism in film and television, where the Empire was often satirized or celebrated. I maintain that the figure of the colonial servant and settler is regarded as embodying a quintessential Englishness that is bound up with the racial and moral assumptions of imperialism. From this, I explore how the ‘end of Empire’ has been historicized in contemporary literature, in particular Andrea Levy’s Small Island (2004). Doing so suggests how texts written by former colonial servants and settlers with direct experience of decolonization respond to a particular historical moment, but can also enrich twenty-first century appreciations of colonialism, decolonization, multiculturalism, and immigration.


Racial Segregation Mass Immigration British Empire Army Personnel Imperial Identity 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LeedsLeedsUK

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