Education: Cornell University, Ph.D.
Office—Department of English, Southern Methodist University, P.O. Box 750435, Dallas, TX 75275-0435. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer, educator. Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, associate professor of English.
Fair Exotics: Xenophobic Subjects in English Literature, 1720-1850, University of Pennsylvania Press (Philadelphia, PA), 2002.
Contributor to Race in Cyberspace, edited by Beth E. Kolko, Lisa Nakamura, and Gilbert B. Rodman, Routledge (New York, NY), 2000; Re-Load: Rethinking Women and Cyberculture, edited by Mary Flanagan and Austin Booth, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002. Also contributor to Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation.
In her writings, Rajani Sudan, an associate professor of English at Southern Methodist University, traces the connections between imperial identity and the origins of Romantic literature. In Fair Exotics: Xenophobic Subjects in English Literature, 1720-1850, Sudan "insightfully extends a growing body of criticism that examines the shaping force ideas about the Other (national, colonial, gendered) exerts on British literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries," Robert Anderson stated in Criticism. Examining works by such authors as Daniel Defoe, Samuel Johnson, Mary Wollstonecraft, Thomas De Quincey, Mary Shelley, and Charlotte Brontë, Sudan argues that the mediation between xenophobia and xenodochia is the underpinning of the Romantic sense of individual subjectivity. Sudan, noted Anderson, "suggests that, far from operating as a corrective to xenophobia, xenodochy (the welcoming and entertainment of the foreign) works in cooperation with it to construct both the foreign and the domestic. She further argues that national and cultural identity are manifested through this economy."
Fair Exotics earned decidedly mixed reviews. Albion contributor David P. Haney remarked that, "in readings of Daniel Defoe, Samuel Johnson, Thomas DeQuincey, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, and Charlotte Bronte, this psychoanalytical postcolonial argument is augmented by an attempt to situate Romanticism earlier than usual and by a discovery of colonial complicity in putatively feminist texts." Anderson commented that the book's "insights into the profound ambivalence about the exotic Other which characterizes the texts she examines will reward readers patient enough to sift through" the narrative's solecisms. Although Michael Wiley, writing in the Wordsworth Circle, stated that "at moments one wishes for more analysis and explanation of the evidence," the critic added that the work "at once adds importantly to Romantic literary criticism and points toward new fields of research." Megan Hiatt in the Modern Language Review concluded: "Sudan's account of Wollstonecraft's gender politics reveals … an emphasis on the coherence of the English male subject, which is also reflected in Shelley's image of the horticulturist tending his ‘fair exotic.’ This is a valuable insight, suggesting not only that the affiliations of Romanticism's preoccupation with the development of the individual self require further examination, but that postcolonial theory has a substantial contribution to make to this study."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Albion, winter, 2004, David P. Haney, review of Fair Exotics: Xenophobic Subjects in English Literature, 1720-1850, p. 663.
Canadian Literature, autumn, 2004, Lily Cho, "Histories of Difference," review of Fair Exotics, p. 87.
Choice, December, 2002, J.T. Lynch, review of Fair Exotics, p. 635.
Criticism, fall, 2003, Robert Andersen, review of Fair Exotics, p. 521.
Modern Language Review, October, 2004, Megan Hiatt, review of Fair Exotics, p. 1033.
Times Literary Supplement, November 29, 2002, Elizabeth Eger, "Calm before the Storm," review of Fair Exotics, p. 27.
Wordsworth Circle, fall, 2002, Michael Wiley, review of Fair Exotics, p. 147.
Southern Methodist University Web site,http://www.smu.edu/ (May 10, 2008), biography of Rajani Sudan.