Chasing Tales: Travel Writing, Journalism and the History of British Ideas about Afghanistan
Chasing Tales is the first exclusive study of journalism, travel writing and the history of British ideas about Afghanistan. It offers a timely investigation of the notional Afghanistan(s) that have prevailed in the popular British imagination. Casting its net deep into the nineteenth century, the study investigates the country's mythologisation by scrutinising travel narratives, literary fiction and British news media coverage of the recent conflict in Afghanistan. This highly topical book explores the legacy of nineteenth-century paranoias and prejudices to contemporary travellers and journalists and seeks to explain why Afghans continue to be depicted as medieval, murderous, warlike and unruly. Its title, Chasing Tales, conveys the circulation, and indeed the circularity, of ideas commonly found in British travel writing and journalism. The 'tales' component stresses the pivotal role played by fictionalised sources, especially the writing of Rudyard Kipling, in perpetuating traumatic nineteenth-century memories of Afghan-British encounter. The subject matter is compelling and its foci of interest profoundly relevant both to current political debates and to scholarly enquiry about the ethics of travel.
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Afghan culture Afghan women Anglo-Afghan anthropological anthropologists argues audiences authority Azoy Azoy’s BBC Radio Bealby’s British travel burqua buzkashi carpets century Channel Four Christina Lamb claim classical ethnographies colonial commentary conflict contemporary travel context correspondents coverage of Operation crisis depictions describes Despite discourse discussion documentary ethical ethnography explore female feminist focus Frontier gender genre Herat historical ideas about Afghanistan implies informants insight intervention Islam Jason Elliot journalism journalists Kabul Kafirs Kafirstan Kipling Kipling’s story Kremmer’s and Lamb’s Lamb Lamb’s narrative lawless male massacre means media coverage medieval medievalisation metaphor military Muslim narrator narrator’s nineteenth-century Northern Alliance notions Nuristanis Operation Enduring Freedom Pashtun points political provides recent region representation scene Second Anglo-Afghan War self-reflexive sense September Shahrani significance suggests synecdochic Taliban Tapper’s television news reports tends texts textual tradition travel narratives travel writing trope understanding Victorian violence warfare women’s travel writing writing about Afghanistan
Page 29 - When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Page 46 - I'll make an Empire! These men aren't niggers; they're English! Look at their eyes — look at their mouths. Look at the way they stand up. They sit on chairs in their own houses. They're the Lost Tribes, or something like it, and they've grown to be English.
Page 34 - The white people were also in many ways astonishingly like characters in a Kipling story. I could never make up my mind whether Kipling had moulded his characters accurately in the image of Anglo-Indian society or whether we were moulding our characters accurately in the image of a Kipling story.