“Soft thick carpet under your feet”: The Indian eye on Victorian London’s homes

Chatterjee, Arup K. (2022) “Soft thick carpet under your feet”: The Indian eye on Victorian London’s homes. Interiors Design/Architecture/Culture, 12 (1). pp. 1-18. ISSN 20419112

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Indian visitors to late-Victorian London like Mukharji, Pandian, Baijnath and Pillai, whose accounts carefully essayed the city’s Victorian homes, have been hailed as agents of cosmopolitan and aesthetic subjectivity in the history of Indian nationalism. Though their accounts have been read as the evidence of growing Indian suitableness for Home Rule, bonds of colonial hospitality, and London’s contestability as a colonial space, the Indian eye’s archetypes of Victorian interiors attempted to spectrally possess an oneiric English home. This paper reviews the place of the phenomenological Indian subject in these accounts, applying Bachelard’s notion of “oneiric values” and Derrida’s spectral logic of the visible in-visibleness, to suggest that Indian Victoriana harbours spectres of English culture and India’s colonial traumas, rather than simply specimens of middle-class Indian visitors’ aesthetic and cosmopolitan agency. Ultimately, the Victorian home in these accounts is less habitable than spectral; an atmosphere constituted by oneiric and phenomenological values before political ideology.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Behramji Malabari | G.P. Pillai | John Ruskin | Lala Baijnath | Pothum Janakummah Ragaviah | T.B. Pandian | T.N. Mukharji| Victorian London
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Arts and Humanities > Arts and Humanities (General)
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Amees Mohammad
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2022 04:41
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2022 09:53
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/20419112.2022.2018790
URI: https://pure.jgu.edu.in/id/eprint/1036


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