Hammond A (2010) British Literature and the Balkans: Themes and contexts. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi Press. ISBN: 9789042029873
This monograph analyses the manner in which British culture has represented South-East Europe from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. Drawing on postcolonial theory, imagology and historiography, the book’s examination of over 300 novels, travelogues, poems and journalistic articles remains the most extensive study of the emergence and development of balkanist discourse.
Building on Hammond’s The Debated Lands: British and American Representations of the Balkans (2007), this book addresses balkanism through postcolonial theory, locates diversity and change within the discourse, and relates these changes to British political and literary history. Through an analysis of how the othering of the Balkans has interacted with British policy in the region, Hammond provides an examination of intra-European representation and power and a study of how dominant ideologies and literary forms (romanticism, modernism, gothicism, empiricism, imperialism, anti-communism) have shaped such discursive features as landscape writing, narrative structure and autobiographical representation. A distinctive feature of the monograph is the arrangement of chapters around particular themes (borders, expatriatism, gender, humanitarianism) that are rarely studied in this context.
The monograph is the culmination of ten years of research into British representations of South-East Europe and significantly extends research ideas previously presented in: ‘Memoirs of conflict: British women travellers in the Balkans’ (Studies in Travel Writing, 2010), ‘Contemporary gothic fiction and the European margins’ (Balkanistica, 2009) and ‘An introduction to four centuries of Balkan travel’ (Hammond (ed.), Through Another Europe: An anthology of travel writing on the Balkans, 2009). Of interest to those working on cross-cultural representation in literary studies, cultural studies, European studies, anthropology, and history, the book has been reviewed in the journals Southeastern Europe, Slavic Review, and Slavic and East European Journal.