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“Lay down branch roads, provide town sites, build barracks”: A Practical Stylistic Investigation of Hyde Clarke’s Colonization, Defence, and Railways in Our Indian Empire (1857)

Daniela Francesca Virdis


In his treatise Colonization, Defence, and Railways in Our Indian Empire (1857), Hyde Clarke wholeheartedly approves of Indian colonial railways and advocates the need for the British to bring about technological progress in the subcontinent. The main research purpose of this article is to provide stylistic evidence of how Clarke relays and constructs his Anglocentric and imperial viewpoint on Indian railways. The article firstly introduces the figure of Clarke and his railway pamphlet, and discusses the keywords colonialism and colonization as defined in two authoritative nineteenthcentury dictionaries of the English language and in colonial and postcolonial studies. Secondly, moving from this field and from the field of postcolonial stylistics, the stylistic methodology defined by Ron Carter as “practical stylistics” is applied to thirteen sequences from the treatise including the keyword colonization. Finally, the definitions of colonialism and colonization are compared with Clarke’s notion of colonization as emerging from the text. This linguistic analysis hence identifies and explores the stylistic strategies utilised by the author – mainly stylistic choices at word- and phrase-level, syntactic structures and the pragmatic functions of these devices – and reveals the ways in which he conveys his colonial mental attitude to the Indian reality.


Hyde Clarke; Colonization, Defence, and Railways in Our Indian Empire; practical stylistics; Indian railways; colonialism; colonization; Victorian nonfictional prose.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/ling-2020-002-vird

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