Other Spaces of the Empire: A Colonial Hotel in J.G. Farrell’s Troubles

Open access

Abstract

Focusing on the hotel imagery and, more precisely, the hotel Majestic featured in J.G. Farrell’s 1970 novel Troubles, this article provides a spatial contextualization of the historical downfall of the British Empire. In an attempt to establish the concept of the “colonial hotel”, this particular type of hotel is theorized as a fictional means of questioning the sustainability of the imperial project of colonialism. The theoretical framework for considerations of the Majestic in Troubles as a representative of the “colonial hotel” concept is based on Foucault’s heterotopology, as well as on the concepts of liminality and dislocation taken from postcolonial studies. Reading Troubles as an allegory of the Troubles in Ireland and, more broadly, a symptom of the disintegration of the British Empire, the article shows that the hotel, modelled after the historical concept of the Anglo-Irish big house, provides a proper setting where the deconstruction of the binary oppositions of colonial discourse can be played out. While the Majestic represents a mirror-image of the imperial centre, or rather a dislocated centre, its destruction is brought about by its tendency towards constancy and perpetuation of the illusion of grandeur. Similarly, the British Empire refuses to acknowledge the socio-political and historical changes of the early twentieth century and denies the existence of interstitial spaces between its firmly defined structures, whereby it inevitably meets its end.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Ashcroft Bill Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin eds. Key Concepts in Post- Colonial Studies. London: Routledge 1998. Print.

  • Bachelard Gaston. The Poetics of Space. 1958. Trans. Maria Jolas. Boston: Beacon Press 1994. Print.

  • Bhabha Homi. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge 1994. Print.

  • Botting Fred. Gothic. 1996. London: Routledge 2005. Print.

  • Christie Agatha. At Bertram’s Hotel. 1965. London: Perfect Bound 2003. Ebook.

  • Farrell James Gordon. Troubles. 1970. London: Phoenix 1993. Print.

  • Foucault Michel. The Order of Things: An archaeology of human sciences. 1966. London: Routledge 1989. Print.

  • ---. “Of Other Spaces.” Trans. Jay Miskowiec. Diacritics 16.1 (Spring 1986): 22-27. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.

  • King Stephen. Everything’s Eventual. New York: Scribner 2002. Print.

  • Kracauer Siegfried. The Mass Ornament: Weimar Essays. 1963. Trans. Thomas Y. Levin. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press 1995. Print.

  • Kreilkamp Vera. “The novel of the big house.” The Cambridge Companion to the Irish Novel. Ed. John Wilson Foster. Cambridge: CUP 2006. 60-77. Print.

  • Matthias Bettina. The Hotel as Setting in Early Twentieth-Century German and Austrian Literature: Checking in to Tell a Story. Rochester: Camden House 2006. Print.

  • Pready Joanna. “Liminality in a London Hotel: Henry Green’s Party Going and the Impact of Space on Identity.” Literary London: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Representation of London 7.1 (March 2009): n.pag. Web. 25 June 2015.

  • ---. “The Power of Place: Re-Negotiating Identity in Hotel Fiction.” Diss.v University of Nottingham 2009. Web. 20 Jan. 2016.

  • Tally Robert T. Jr. Spatiality. London: Routledge 2013. Print.

  • Thacker Andrew. Moving through Modernity: Space and Geography in Modernism. 2003. Manchester: Manchester University Press 2009. Print.

Search
Journal information
Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 240 61 4
PDF Downloads 164 73 1