Dr. Tamara S. Wagner is Assistant Professor of English Literature at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. Dr. Wagner is the author of Longing: Narratives of Nostalgia in the British Novel, 1740-1890 (2004), as well as of articles on the cultural discourses of nostalgia, the origins of Occidentalism, and the functions of commerce in fiction.
2005 0-7734-6038-1 Was Occidentalism ever more than a reaction to orientalism? How did it affect, or effect, the adoption and subsequent adaptation of the English novel in Britain’s former colonies? As it traces the reshaping of the novel genre in fiction written in or about the former Straits Settlements and British Malaya, roughly what is now Malaysia and Singapore, from the nineteenth century onwards, this study brings together reassessments of literary and other values in the intersections between orientalist and occidentalist discourses as they fruitfully clash and thereby enrich locally and globally marketed literature of and about the region. The importance of this simultaneity of commercial and cultural evaluations is exposed as essentially twofold, as the representation of intersecting value systems can be seen to feed on and into the marketing of these narratives locally and abroad. A new theory of Occidentalism that reveals it to be significantly more than simply a reversal of orientalism emerges from this reading of local and international representations side by side.