Volume 25, Issue 1 (2012) Exoticism & Cosmopolitanism

Introduction: Exoticism, Cosmopolitanism, and Fiction's Aesthetics of Diversity

During the years from 1904 to 1918, French writer Victor Segalen took a series of notes for an essay on "Exoticism as an Aesthetics of Diversity," an essay that remained unfinished when he died in 1919. These notes reveal Segalen's desire to retrieve the concept of the exotic from the entwined discourses of imperialism and global capitalism in order to put it to new epistemological uses. "Strip it of all its cheap finery: palm tree and camel; tropical helmet; black skins and yellow sun," he writes. "Then, strip the word exoticism of its exclusively tropical, exclusively geographical meaning." The geographical images popularly associated with the exotic, he later observes, generate "a vulgarized Diversity" that reduces the "exotic" to an analogue for the "colonial." Only after releasing these concepts from colonial agendas might we rethink diversity as "the knowledge that something is other than one’s self" and exoticism as constituting "the ability to conceive otherwise" ... Read the rest of Eugenia Zuroski Jenkins's introduction to this special issue on Project MUSE.

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Special Issue Editor
Eugenia Zuroski Jenkins
Journal Editors
Eugenia Zuroski Jenkins and
Peter Walmsley

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25:1 Book Reviews

For this issue, book reviews that appear at left in the table of contents are also available online and for free at
BOOK REVIEWS LINK; visit that BOOK REVIEWS website to read all recent ECF reviews.