This essay seeks to supplement an established critical tradition that reads natural history in Neo-Victorian fiction from a post-modern and largely de-politicised perspective. I argue that the figure of the naturalist can be used to revisit natural history’s complicity with imperial expansion, both in its practice and in its discursive framework. By means of a close reading of Jem Poster’s Rifling Paradise (2006), I explore the ways in which natural history gives way to an ecological approach to the colonial landscape, pointing to a possible – though still problematic – alternative to a scientific (exploitative, colonial) understanding of the relationship between nature and human beings.
Boccardi, M. (2016). The naturalist in the Garden of Eden: Science and colonial landscape in Jem Poster's Rifling Paradise (2006). Victoriographies, 6(2), 112-130. https://doi.org/10.3366/vic.2016.0227