A Teaching and Research Guide to Stephen N. Cobham’s Rupert Gray


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A Teaching and Research Guide to Stephen N. Cobham’s Rupert Gray
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Teaching and research guide
Cole, Thomas G.
George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
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Gainesville, FL


teaching guide


This guide underscored and illuminated the historical and cross-cultural merit of Stephen N. Cobham’s Rupert Gray: A Tale in Black and White for an undergraduate readership by examining two specific chapters in relation to race, science, and colonialism. These two chapters depict acts of tourism and discussions of botany that relate directly to late nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century conceptions of race, science, and colonialism. Cobham’s text illustrates the engagement of early national and Pan-African writers with tourism and horticulture. The two chapters that comprise the focus of this guide demonstrate Cobham’s understanding of colonial discourse and orientalism, which is a false understanding of non-European cultures that is based on European prejudices of or against the other non-European culture, because readers see how clearly Rupert Gray engages issues in science (botany) and commerce (tourism), which are both inextricable from colonialism and imperialism. Finally, Rupert Gray also demonstrates a contrast between the two scenes that highlights how Rupert moves up from being classified as a “typical negro” of tourist photographs to being the type of elite citizen of the world who goes on a grand tour and eventually becomes a Senator in the government of Trinidad.

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1 A Teaching and Research Rupert Gray Prepared and written by Thomas G. Cole, II December 2011; Revised August 2012 Keywords: Stephen Cobham; Rupert Gray; Trinidad; teaching guide; research guide; resource guide; botany; tourism ; postcards; racism; colonialism; Empire; imperialism Scope This guide is meant to underscore and illuminate the historical and cross cultural merit of Rupert Gray: A Tale in Black and White for an undergraduate readership by examini ng two specific chapters in relation to race, science, and colonialism. These two chapters depict acts of tourism and discussions of botany that relate directly to late nineteenth and early twentieth century conceptions of race, science, and colonialism. African writers with tourism and horticulture. The two chapters that comprise the focus of this guide f alse understanding of non European cultures that is based on European prejudices of or against the other non European culture, because readers see how clearly Rupert Gray engages issues in science (botany) and commerce (tourism), which are both inextricabl e from colonialism and imperialism. Finally, Rupert Gray also demonstrates a contrast between the two scenes that highlights being the type of elite citizen of the wo rld who goes on a grand tour and eventually becomes a Senator in the government of Trinidad. How this Guide Works Rupert Gray and how the novel relates to historically impor tant aspects of Botany Racism Tourism and Colonialism (These sections are underlined so as to indicate the titles of subsequent sections.) In turn, each of these terms will be explained in brief, and any other unfamiliar terms will be explained in foot notes for readers. There are also hyperlinks to vintage postcards that will supplement and clarify the significance of the literary descriptions of the scenes of the novel and also scenes of Trinidad. This guide will also provide some study questions throu ghout the sections These questions are intended to facilitate in depth analysis of the material presented here and in the scenes from Rupert Gray Finally, quotations from Rupert Gray as well as from secondary sources appear


2 throughout the guide. 1 These q uotations will be cited according to MLA guidelines regarding parenthetical citations, with a Works Cited page at the end of the guide. Introduction and Description of the Novel According to Leah Reade Rosenberg, a scholar on Caribbean literature: The l iterary history of Trinidad traditionally began in the 1920s with C.L.R. Minty Alley ). James was a member of a literary group called the Beacon Group, after the literary and political journal The Beacon (1931 33 and 1939 ), which is credited by scholars such as Reinhard Sander and Kenneth Ramchand with introducing working class culture (calypso in particular) and emergent nationalism into literature. This tradition is beginning to be challenged as a growing number of ninet eenth century and early twentieth century novels are reprinted or made available digitally, such as Michel Maxwell Emmanuel A ppadocca; or, Blighted Life. A T ale of the Boucaneers, With Silent Tread published in the 1890s, and Rupert Gray This small and fascinating collection of fiction demonstrates that Trinidadians produced politically engaged literature nearly a century earlier than the Beacon Group. Their works confound the prevailing assumption that the iterature focused primarily on the peasant and working classes and that it was grounded in an opposition to British colonialism. It contradicts as well the earlier assumption on the part of scholars that West Indian literature developed in a linear fashion toward anti colonial politics and aesthetic of the mid twentieth century writers such as George Lamming and Sam Selvon. Rupert Gray plays a particularly important role because it imagines a future in which the West Indies appears to be a federated country or dominion led by our hero Rupert Gray, a leading senator in the democratic government. Rupert Gray written by Stephen N. Cobham, appeared in print in 1907 (Dalleo 78). Produced by the Trinidadian publishing house Mirror Printing, the story itself is about Rupert Gray, a black, Afro Caribbean accountant, who falls in love with Gwendoline employer, a white, Creole named Primrose Serle. While tradition, 2 Rupert Gray also breaks with conventional attitudes of its time, for Rupert and Gwendoline marry and live happily ever after. However, before such a peaceful life can 1 Rupert Gray but also the pictures and vintage postcards as well as any other descriptions of Trinidad or to urism from authors other than Cobham. 2 th century but continued through the 19 th and well into the 20 th centuries, with notable authors such as Jane Austen, the Bronts, and Edith Wharton, all who are cons idered canonical authors. The novel of manners primarily dealt with a specific class of people and their behavior, especially romantic love, amongst themselves. The e


3 ensue, Rupert and Gwendoline suffer through great hardship an attem pted murder, a faked death, and even a theatrical court case. Rupert, which naturally causes turmoil in the once happy relationship between father and daughter. Gwendol ine becomes despondent because Primrose has also fired and shunned Rupert, whose recent membership into a scientific society, the Linnaean Society, is quickly revoked owing to the affair and scandal with the Serles. Without Rupert and her Defiant, Primrose banishes her from his life, only to discover a few weeks later that she has died. He, too, shortly after, dies from overconsumption of alcohol. Meanwhile, Rupert travels t o England and earns law credentials, and when he returns to Trinidad, he embarks on a court case of inheritance to whom will the Serle fortune go? Miraculously, we learn that Gwendoline is, in fact, alive, and she inherits all of her ovel closes with the marriage of Gwendoline and Rupert and also On the whole, the novel is not simply about m elodrama. Rather, it portrays an interracial marriage between a native and a Creole, with the concluding chapter proclaiming a different Trinidad from the rest of the novel. Trinidad, at the end of Rupert Gray is a country on the brink of change with rega rd to race in the government and society at large. While the novel Rupert Gray deserves attention as a literary text, this guide focuses primarily on its historical and cross cultural merit by highlighting two scenes that t with colonialism, race, tourism, botany, colonialism and race, and the Caribbean in his depictions of tourism and botany. The plot of the two chapters, while fictional, take place in real life locations, some of character named Lady Rothberry, a member o f the British peerage. 3 Here, they meet in the Trinidad Botanical Gardens, which were first established in 1818 (Pemberton 19) and are one of the oldest and most successful colonial botanical gardens (McCracken 17). Thus, there will be sections of this gui de that will deal directly with the Botanical Gardens and the related issues of Botany Tourism and Colonialism as well as racism, which will be dealt with in the other sections, as it is an issue that features in all of the sections. The second scene c omes from chapter 16, title from the Latin chapter, Rupert again meets a royal noble, but this time, instead of Lady Rothberry, who 3 example.


4 has passed away, Rupe rt meets her nephew, the new Earl of Rothberry. Furthermore, instead of staying in a garden in Trinidad, Rupert travels to England and undertakes a grand tour, an educational journey and rite of passage that wealthy young Englishmen often took to learn abo ut the history of Europe among other things. Thus, there will also be a short section of this guide that explains the importance of the Grand Tour in relation to the Tourism and Colonialism of the Botanical Gardens In these two scenes, readers see two c ultures, two classes of people, and two races (33). 4 Thus, for all its aspects of melodrama, cloak and dagger, and romantic love, Rupert Gray incorporates contemporary, white (namely, British) attitudes toward Afro Caribbeans, tourism, botany, cultural capital, 5 and colonialism and imperialism. Botanical Gardens Chapter 9, set in the botanical gardens, is interesting for numerous reasons but principally because of its c onstruction. 6 In it, there are a white noblewoman and an Afro Caribbean man who discuss the names and taxonomies of various plants in the gardens, that is, the subject of Botany in order to demonstrate their intellect initia l observation of Rupert and the scene of the garden mimics that of a picture, for she Tourism Finally, the scene is set not simply in any garden but in the Trinidad Botanical Ga rdens, where Government House was (and still is) located the seat of power for the crown colony ( Colonialism ). 7 The following sections on Botany Tourism and Colonialism will 4 other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, 5 ca monetary value of intelligence or education that allows individuals to maneuver in society, especially when they can advance. For example, as will be seen in later sections of this reading guide, Rupert is able to demonstrate he is as smart as Lady Rothberry, and, in turn, she gives him financial and moral assistance for his education; had he not been able to demonstrate his intelligence through his knowledge of botany in the botanical gardens, Lady Rothberry would probably not have offered her assistance to him. He also gains cultural capital from the grand tour he takes. 6 characters are there, how are they portrayed, how are they communicating and where is the scene taking place? 7 Empire, especially colonies in the West Indies. After such colonies gained independence from Britain, the various Governm ruling Monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain appointed. Until 1925, Trinidad was run solely by the colonial governor, which often meant that those who were not white, not British


5 demonstrate how Rupert Gray was influenced by its historical context at the begi nning of the twentieth century. But first, a little textual analysis, or close reading, is needed. Textual Analysis wo ways the two characters are nationality, which implies race. Moreover, the English lady, who is also a representative of colonial or imperial power, is the foreigner who com es to visit the picturesque colony him, might not be all that smart, which is why she tests him on his knowledge of botany. They appear in an almost idyllic setting, c haracterized by a vibrant tone. 8 The author sweet ; the Botanical Gardens become the biblical Eden from which beauty fashion and even life the little, playful children spring. This overly idealized setting seems to underscore how a tourist might see some foreign place as a paradise rather than th instills a legal system that keeps non white people disadvantaged. According to Donal P. McCracken, a historian of colonial botanical gardens, botanical gardens were the favored historically accurate. When Lady Rothberry first sees Rupert, her movement and subsequent observation of westernmost gate, a little above the car terminus. Away in, behind the nutmeg grove, Against its grand old trunk there leaned with upturned face, crossed leg, and folded arms, a typical neg 9 The sentence construction and its flow mimic the process of looking or gazing at the scene in the botanical garden: as readers, our gaze is situated in the garden where we look at a large Hog Plum tree and then look down the tree to notice a man leaning against the base of the tree. Moreover, in this initial movement, Lady Rothberry is described as a stranger who is encroaching upon a native of the island, one readers have to intuit what is typical about Rupert, and from the limited information readers have from this chapter, his type must be the type that Lady Rothberry believes she born, or descendants of the white, British families (i.e., Creoles) had little influence on the politics governing their country. 8 pastoral, which is an idealized version of rustic or country life on the land. In such a way, nature is always beautiful and sweet not a scary wilderness. 9


6 would find in Trinidad: a black man in a garden. The connection between black m en and working the land is not much clearer in the novel than at this point. In fact, the use of the word typical thereby invoking the word type is indicative of a few things. First, typical has the connotation of regular or simple not at all intricate complex or unique Thus, typical signifies the way in which Europeans viewed the Caribbean as an antithesis to the more complex, modern continent of Europe. Second, the word type also has a denotation of classification in relation to science, and therefo re the notion of a certain type of flower or plant gets extended here to include a certain type of racial classification. Typical then, implies both European exceptionalism and racist and racialized science. 10 stions is akin to a quiz, a grilling of and information. For example, at one point she asks Rupert a question regarding the health of coffee trees, and even the nar meticulously examining her companion: own as coffee leaf fungus, the Hemeliae vastatrix just the same (53) First, Lady Rothberry knowledge as increasing Of course, Rupert, too, catches onto the fact that Lady Rothberry is te sting his knowledge, for he provides the answer to the question, not only its common name in English but its Latin name as well, thereby demonstrating his knows what he is t alking about. Lady Rothberry, then, makes it clear that she already as genuine, a t which point she approaches Rupert, closing the distance between the two. Rupert has past her test and gained her respect. she wants to see if he is as typical as s he thinks he is. Once he has proven his knowledge, she finally introduces herself as not simply a tourist but as an English noblewoman. Thus, there is a class distinction between the two: royalty and commoner; upper class and lower 10 above all others. Here, it would be that Europe is better than any other place in the world.


7 class. Readers are also 11 ancestor who fought at Agincourt, lends her respectability and import. 12 Lady t Agincourt is meant to demonstrate how her family helped to create the magnificent power of England and Great Britain. Finally, the botanical garden, while being a space of nature, is also a space of colonialism oils that is, the rare flowers, plants, and crops, such as orchids, jangli almond trees, and coffee of the colonies are brought. 13 is closer to nature, especially whe n he is juxtaposed to the English tourist who is of a much higher class, for she, the foreigner, is described not simply in appearance but in ancestry, pedigree, and social standing. Moreover, the interplay between Rupert, the descriptor used for Rupert) and the groomed space (for a botanical garden is meticulously designed and well kept) implies that proximity of nature to Rupert (54). And yet it is in the botanical garden where two members of different races, classes, and na tionalities are able to meet on equal ground through their shared knowledge of botany. ot of introduction the dulcet carolling of piccolo, the euphony of flute and clarion, the triumphant drawl of cornet, the tiny tinkling of steel, the weird clashing of cymbals base and drum. Betwixt these, and the honey throated chirping and whistling from vale and hillside, stood Europe and Africa upon the ashes of the dead. West Indian native and English noblewoman, face to face, on the common ground of science. (54) 11 important people or more commonly nowadays for animals. Since people do not depend as much on being born rich or poor for social advancement or social privileges, we tend to think of pedigrees for purebred animals. 12 The Aryan race becomes more important in the 1930s when Adolph Hitler takes power in attributes of the Aryan race. The Battle of Agincourt in 1415 is notable for being one of most historic victories f or King Henry V of England in the Hundred Years War against France, a Henry V 13 The orchids, Jangli Almond trees, and coffee are examples of plants not native to Trinida d that were imported during the 19 th century boom of botanical gardens in Europe and its colonies.


8 different individuals. Study Questions 1. Why is Lady Rothberry visiting Trinidad? 2. 3. Why do you think the narrator sets the scene in such an idyllic manner? 4. Do you think the narrator is more favorable to Lady Rothberry or Rupert? Does chap ter? 5. opinion? Botany The study of botany the biology of plants like many of the natural sciences became formalized in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and, as Londa Schiebinger notes, scientists, who were almost always men, would often look to nature, which they for creating the science of biology, botany, and even medicine ( 4). Andrew Goss, writing about the Buitenzorg Botanical Gardens in Dutch East Indies (modern day Indonesia) of the early 1910s, argues that the director of the Buitenzorg Botanical Ga Buitenzorg Botanical Gardens, according to McCracken, were the most successful at scientific cultivation and scientifically oriented of the botanical gardens of colonialism, too [147].) This gendering of science as a masculine endeavor kept women and men of color outside the realm of science and simultaneously suggested that white, imperialist men were the best to study nature. For example, since it seemed that women were bet ter caretakers of children, then, in the minds of many of these scientific thinkers, there had to be a scientific reason for it, which justified keeping women at home, barred from jobs, education, and totally dependent on men. Schiebinger writes, cases, ancient 38). And botany was not too dissimilar for it had powerful men who influenced its formalized study. A distinguishing characteristic of botany however, was th at it was popular (Schiebinger, 3). Botany was one of the least funded sciences in formal educational institutions. Thus, botany, one of the earliest popular sciences, was influenced by amateurs very learned amateurs. Beth Fowkes Tobin, a historia n of botany, argues, on of Rupert on his botanical


9 knowledge, they come to understand that this white woman and black man are, in fact, interested in one of the few sciences that was easily accessible to them. Moreover, botany utilized Linnaean taxonomies, a system of catalog uing plants what plant was related to what other plants and the way in which Lady Rothberry and Rupert amateur, to both the committed botanist and the occasional botanist who loved to ramble of wits in the botanical garden seems somewhat far fetched or even farcical, their verbal sparring is not unlike how botanical knowledge got transm itted, as Tobin suggests of botanical discourse (172). Finally, the various species of plants that Lady Rothberry and Rupert discuss also signify more than just plants. Of the species they mention, the most important, in some respects, seem to be the foll owing: Wellingtonia gigantea Coffea arabica and Coffea liberica (Cobham 53). The Wellingtonia gigantea is more commonly known as the Giant Redwood, like the Sequoia in California. Wellingtonia however, clearly delineates a designation in honor of the Du ke of Wellington, the British general who was victorious at the Battle of Waterloo, which was almost exactly four hundred years after the Battle of Agincourt. 14 Lady Rothberry is the one who brings up the Wellingtonia gigantea which fits with her reverence countries, for example (103 ). Lady Rothberry also points out Coffea arabica which is Arabian coffee, but, quick on his feet, Rupert Gray corrects her and tells her it is Coffea liberica which is Liberian coffee. Rita Pemberton, a historian of the Trinidad Botanical Gardens, record s the existence of both coffees in the Trinidad Botanical Gardens (6; 16), readers, could also have been quite possible. Thus, while Lady Rothberry brings up a species of plant named after the notable and glorified English Duke of Wellington and the Battle of Waterloo, Rupert corrects her coffee misidentification with an invocation of the country of Liberia, a country founded and governed by freed American slaves, quite unlike t he crown colony of Trinidad. Study Questions 1. Why do you think this scene occurs in a botanical garden? 2. What other instances of botany could be at play in the scene, other than the Wellingtonia gigantea and the types of coffee? 3. What other reasons could th ere be that the narrator and Lady Rothberry bring up 4. How could you better see the connection between Liberia and Trinidad? Why are these two countries being compared? What is important about this comparison? 14 Like the Battle of Agincourt, the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 is remembered as a glorious victory for England against France.


10 Tourism In the ninetee nth century, the first real tourist boom occurred in Britain and Europe. For hundreds of years before, many Europeans, who could afford it, would make pilgrimages to religious sites, whether the sites be in Europe or in the holy land. 15 However, eventually travel became a means, not simply to show religious devotion, but to gain footnote 6). Thus, the early beginnings of the mass tourist industry started to flourish in the nineteenth century. In order to prove some person had gone on a trip, evidenc e artifacts or photographs was important to bring back from these trips. Writing about tourism and the Grand Tour (which will comprise the final section of this guide), liter ary critic James Buzard declares, him the opportunity not only to cultivate his historical consciousness and artistic states but actually to acquire the works of art and antiquit ies that, displayed at home, would testify to the quality of his taste and surround him with objective confirmations of his self hese photographs and artifacts became the symbols not only of o representations of the cultures, However, a question arises: do the According to Simon Gikandi, if a description in a t ravel journal or a travel book, much travel writers because it functions simultaneously as a form of interpretation and as a rhetorical construct, it is inherently a camouflaged form of ideological projection and Thus, pictures of foreign lands were projections of the tourist photographers: they saw what they wanted to see. prejudices or admirations were woven into t he descriptions of the land. These prejudices, whether positive or negative, created myths about the foreign land that did not always take into account the reality of the country. This same notion of projection occurs in the collection of artifacts, which could include souvenirs, like modern day snow globes, or the plants in the botanical gardens Regarding the plants in the botanical gardens, Beth Fowkes Tobin writes, severed from their places of origin, exotic plants circulated in British soci ety, divorced (171). Thus, these plants, like artifacts and photographs, often seemed only l ike what tourists wanted to see; they cohered to the myth that travelers h ad already made up in their minds. In the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first two decades of the twentieth century, postcards were at the height of their popularity; this time period has been called the Golden Age of the Postcard. Postcard s, like the pictures and souvenirs tourists 15 rrent region of Israel and Palestine, where much of the religious texts of the great religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) come from.


11 who were not traveling. Thus, the person who stayed at home and could not travel also got to experien ce tourism, though in a disconnected sort of way. The postcard, like the pictures and artifacts, were essentially projections of tourists the foreign land : the producers of the postcards saw what they wanted to see. Postcards, like pictures, were m ade by photographers, and those photographers chose what places, people, or scenes would be on the photographs. culture were heavily influenced by the person making the photograph or postcard. And the botanical gar dens scene in chapter 9 of Rupert Gray mirrors much of the postcard was on a postcard in Trinidad in the early twentieth century. by setting the scene so that the reader can visualize the surroundings, as if the chapter were a set of pictures. There is a band playing in the bandstand ; there are carriages fountain ; t To her this was n looked at, like postcards and photographs (emphasis added, 51). And finally, Lady gardens behind th e nutmeg grove, south of the burial place, there towers a gigantic specimen of Against its grand old trunk there leaned with upturned face, crossed leg, and folded arms, a typical negro r calls readers attention to a number of things: a bandstand the a fountain the the botanical gardens and finally an Afro Caribbean leaning against a tree All of these places, items, or people could be found on po stcards from Trinidad in the early to mid twentieth century. In these first postcards, viewers can get a sense of the botanical gardens and their large trees. (All of the postcards contained in this guide are from the Eric Scott Henderson Collection.)


12 Trinidad Botanical Gardens The image above may be accessible via the following web address: http://www.flickr.com/photos/striderv/2546526590/in/set 72157601052586092 These two post cards (above and below) display how well kept the botanical gardens were. Moreover, viewers can see the accommodations of clean walkways and nicely manicured shrubberies Viewers can also see the tall trees that visitors could find in the botanical gardens. Finally, these postcards also appear to be actual photographs; some could have been high quality postcards known as RPPC s


13 Trinidad Botanical Gardens The image above may be accessible via the following web address: http://www.flickr.com/photos/striderv/2750694465/in/set 72157601052586092 Other postcards were often artistic renderings, like small paintings, drawings, or watercolors. For exam ple, the next image is a non photographic postcard of the botanical gardens, and on the far left, a viewer can see the bandstand that might have been the one mentioned in Rupert Gray


14 Botanical Gardens with Bandstand The image above may be accessible via the following web address: www.flickr.com/photos /striderv/3825819989/in/set 72157601052586092/ Viewers ought to notice in the first two postcards of the botanical gardens and then also the one of the bandstand that there are no people around. Does these seem like a as the narrator says of the scene in chapter 9 (Cobham 51)? These postcards already demonstrate how representations of foreign lands in postcards were posed and created by the photographers. That no one is walking around in these postcards has the effect botanical gardens the nicely kept lawns and enormous trees. But, it also prohibits the viewer from seeing locals or natives who may visit the gardens. With the erasure of the postcard attempts to create an authentic image of the garden, an image that is actually contradictory: the gardens are a picture of undisturbed yet ordered beauty.


15 In the next two postcards below, there are two different fountains in each, and one postca rd has an image of Government House, which was located in the botanical gardens. Again, viewers should notice how no individual is walking around. Botanical Gardens and Fountain The image above may be accessible via the following web address: http://www.flickr.com/photos/striderv/3837091148/in/set 721576010525 86092/ This children were dancing and playing (Cobham 51). But, here, there are no little children, let alone people of any kind, around. The effect of the people less postcard is one that accentuates the features of the gardens: a nice walkway, a pristine fountain, and a verdant bunch of trees.


16 Botanical Gardens and Government House The image above may be accessible via the following web address: http://www.flickr.com/photos/striderv/2929719452/in/set 72157601052586092


17 Another place mentioned in chapter 9 of Rupert Gray is This was one of the most prestigious hotels to stay in during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and it was often bus y with dozens of visitors. The first o f the before Rupert Gray was published. Again, viewers should note that no one is entering, exiting, or even strolling by the hotel and it is clearly sunny out! Park Hotel The image above may be accessible via the following web address: http://www.flickr.com/photos/striderv/2928841351/in/set 72157601052586092/


18 The image above may be a ccessible via the following web address: http://www.flickr.com/photos/striderv/3401519745/in/set 72157601052586092


19 The image above may be accessible via the following web address: http://ww w.flickr.com/photos/striderv/3079470256/in/set 72157601052586092/ Sadly, this beautiful hotel was demolished in 1930s (or thereabouts there is conflicting information), and a new hotel was built in the art deco style. 16 The art deco hotel is now the headq uarters of BPTT, British Petroleum of Trinidad and Tobago, a subsidiary of the oil company BP. subsidiary of an oil conglomerate demonstrates a new form of neocolonialism.) 17 16 to mid twentieth century. It was a style that was distinctly modern and industrial. Art deco buildings look elegant but definitely modern, such as the Empire State Building. 17 After the heyday of colonialism, all imperial countries lost control over the former colonial colonies Trinidad gained indepe ndence in the 1960s. These imperial countries do not have governors overseeing the colony, nor do they have militaries controlling them. Former imperial commerc the economic and political


20 While the pos tcards provided so far in this guide have had no people in them, there are, however, postcards with people. Yet, even the postcards with people are s taged and created, just like tho se first few postcards. T hough it was not mentioned in Rupert Gray local people might look like in a postcard from the early twentieth century. scene in the botanical garden) The image above may be accessible via the following web address: http://www.flickr.com/photos/striderv/3401523045/in/set 72157601052586092/ policies by which a great power indirectly maintains or extends its influence over other areas or Webster.com).


21 This postcard may be one of the few postcards that were staged the least, for it appears as if the photographer merely chanced upon the scene and took a picture. However, viewers the photo grapher. They have noticed the photographer is there. A question for readers of this guide: how might this postcard feel differently than the postcards without people? Whereas the postcards without people merely look like a nice scene, this postcard allows the photographed This itself the viewer look ing at i s what Mary Louise Pratt calls a contact zone (see definition of If the postcards without people creat e an authentic scene of ordered and undisturbed beauty in the botanical gardens which highlights the features of the gardens then, the inclusion of people in a postcard like the one above seems to highlight other features what Afro Caribbeans look like, ho w they dress, or what they do. The people in Marine Park from the postcard above become something to look at, like the trees or walkways of the botanical gardens. Rupert Gray. Moreover, the first three (of the next four postcards) show Afro Caribbeans under trees in the botanical gardens, though none of them is under a Hog Plum tree.


22 scene in the botanical garden) The ima ge above may be accessible via the following web address: http://www.flickr.com/photos/striderv/3836309577/in/set 72157601052586092/


23 The image above may be accessible via the following web address: http://www.flickr.com/photos/striderv/925192497/in/set 72157601052586092/ The first three postcards (the two above and the next one below) have the Afro Caribbean persons looking at the camera or at the artist in the case of the second one. The sub jects look back at the viewers. Again, how do the first three postcards seem different from the fourth below in which the Afro Caribbean person is looking away from the camera ?


24 The image above may be accessible via the following web address: http://www.flickr.com/photos/st riderv/3511002408/in/set 72157601052586092/


25 The image above may be accessible via the following web address: http://www.flickr.com/photos/striderv/2652042669/in/set 72157601052586092/


26 As this guide has tried to show, the descriptions of the scene in chapter 9 of Rupert Gray clos twentieth century. Study Questions 1. Why are some postcards devoid of people and others not? What is the effect of having people in or nowhere in postcards? 2. How do you f eel when you see the postcards without people versus with people? 3. Which postcards do you like the most? Why? 4. What are other aspects of chapter 9 that seem like a postcard? 5. Why do you think the scene in chapter 9 mimics contemporary postcards? Colonialism Note: Much of the discussion that will occur in this section on colonialism builds upon the previous two sections on Botany and Tourism an empire (usually one country, such as Great Britain or France) by acquiring or creating new territories, and, in turn, these new territories are under governmental, political, social, and economic control of the mother country, which is also known as the metropole. Furthermore, the relationship between the metropole and its colony or colonies is often characterized by an unequal distribution of economic, political, social, or self governmental autonomy, For examp le, Trinidad, for much of its existence, was a colonial possession of Spain and then Great Britain, though during French. colony (see definition of ), the people who lived in Trinidad and who were neither white nor descendants of white Europeans had little control over their economic, social, or political livelihood. A power imbalance existe d between England and Trinidad, and the authority rested primarily in England. capital came from either from farming cash crops or from export tariffs In Rupert Gray for example, Rupert works as an accountant for Primrose Serle, a proprietor of cocoa and sugar, which were major cash crops for export, making Primrose and others of his class great amounts of money. The uneven distribution of the p rofits and income from Primr and his workers mirrors the relationship of colonialism between the metropole and the colony. Indeed, even sayi ng that the crops were crops erases the labor of or connection to the actual Afro or Indo Trinidadian lab orers that worked the land. For example, Tobin, writing about James Grainger, an English poet that visited the West Indies in the late 1700s, captures this same sentiment o the


27 land owner s, like Primrose Tobin writes, plantation owner or nature with the creation of agricultural bounty and to deny enslaved Africans agronomic knowledge and skill as producers, Grainger reduces their stature as That the people of color receive little credit also appears in other travel texts from the nineteenth century. Charles Kingsley an English novelist, professor of history, and p riest of the Church of England, visited the West Indies, specifically Trinidad, and like Grainger, Kingsley recorded his travels in his book At Last: A Christmas in the West Indies 18 One of the places Kingsley visits while in the West Indies is no other th an the Trinidad Botanical Gardens. He writes, of the island. For in them, amid trees from every quarter of the globe, and gardens kept up in the English fashion, with fountai ns, too, so necessary in this tropical destroyed; and the then Governor took refuge in a cottage just outside the garden. A sum of money was voted to rebuild the big house: but the Gove rnors, to their honour, have preferred living in the cottage, adding to it from time to time what was necessary for mere comfort; and have given the old gardens to the city, as a public pleasure ground, kept up at Government expense. 19 Readers should note also indi to colonialism and the exportation and importation of crops or natural plants. Kingsley even describes the botanical gardens in much the same way the narrator of Rupert Gray describes them: This Paradise for such it is is somewhat too far from the city; and one passes in it few people, save an occasional brown nurse. But when Port of Spain becomes, as it surely will, a great commercial city, and the slopes of Laventille, Bel be, with the villas of rich merchants, then will the generous gift of English Governors be appreciated and used; and the Botanic Gardens will become a Tropic Garden of the Tuiler flowers of every hue with human. 20 18 This teaching guide excerpts from an ele ctronic version of At Last which can be found through the following web address: http://www.readbookonline.net/read/19430/55453/ 19 See previous note 18. 20 See previous note 18. Also Laventil country of Trinidad, now parts of the capital, Port of Spain. Tuileries is a large and very grand public park in Paris.


28 The botanical gardens are a paradise, like the biblical Eden or Zion that the narrator of Rupert Gray calls them. Also in this section, readers ought to heed whom King sley colored plants to the different colored peoples. Again a disparity exists between the laborer (the nurse, in this case) and the owners (the merchants). The merchants a re for whom the great work of the gardens exist work that apparently the governors made possible. The work of the botanical gardens that Kingsley attributes to the governors fits within two larger themes relating to colonialism: Georgic poetry and exploit ation, both of which have been hinted at thus far. Created by the poet Virgil, Georgic poetry is, simply, poetry that focuses on aspects relating to agricultural or farming life. However, it frequently demonstrates an Thus, K people work in the botanical gardens lays bare the problem of Georgic poetry in relation to colonialism. Botanical Gardens exist had to be cleared by so meone, and it certainly was no governor. actually quite swampy [111]). Kingsley also omits the fact that there has to be workers that keep the garden well manicured. Fi nally, this false attribution suggests significance given to not simply the governors but to the empire itself. Like markers of elite status, cultural capital, and scientific expertise, tropical plants within these various botanic and hor ticultural discourses were also suggestive of British mastery colonialism. Plants were not only shipped across the world t o botanical gardens for their beauty and for the pleasure of wealthy English merchants or governors, but they were botanical gardens located all over the empire (McCrack en 135). And the main overseer of all these importation and exportation of plants across the British Empire was located in London. establishment of a complete catalogue of the islan ds [ sic ] flora and kept close watch an [ sic The belief principles that governed the reason for having botanical gardens (Goss 188). Thus botanical gardens became agri centers of the system of colonialism and the empire. for plantation development and exportation of ca sh crops in the eighteenth century led scientists to recognise nature as both bountiful and fragile. British colonial botanical (138). These discoveries also reciprocated the colonizing of c onquered or acquired territories, for, as superiority: Europeans could claim to be able to understand and interpret not only the terrain they entered but the inhabitants as well This relationship of colonizer to the colonized peoples went hand in hand with the agricultural practices of the botanical


29 imperial government and its perception of (Pemberton 20). Study Questions 1. How does ? Does Cobham mirror Kingsley or iction? For example, Rupert is standing in the botanical gardens, demonstrating his labor of botany. What other ways is Rupert signifying labor representation of labor ? 2. How does the relationship betwee n metropole and colony play out in the scene with Rupert and Lady Rothberry? 3. Note who does the moving in the scene in Rupert Gray Who sees whom? Who moves towards whom? Is this important? Why or why not? Grand Tour As a conclusion to this guide, we shou ld look to the scene in which Rupert travels to colonial space of Trinidad and the bo tanical garden to the center of the empire (Cobham 54). Here, too, is another interaction between Gray, now the foreigner, and a Rothberry, Botanical Gardens there is an obvi ous focus on objects that symbolize power of some sort: in the botanical garden, the plants signify knowledge of their types and invoke the on which the Earl of Rothberry takes Rupert a way the Rothberrys impart knowledge and, consequently, power to the colonial subject Rupert (102). In each instance, different artifacts symbolize knowledge or power in some way and demonstrate different types of relationships between the characters. A grand tour was an educational journey that wealthy young Englishmen often took to learn about the history of Europe. These tours became very commonplace throughout the ni neteenth century, according to Roy Bridges and James Buzard, critics on travel literature. Moreover, as Buzard points out, the practice of grand tours led directly to the advent of mass tourism (38), the same type of tourism the postcards will become a maj or part of. The connection between the grand tour and tourism links this second scene to the chapter where Lady Rothberry visits Trinidad and consequently Rupert. So when Rupert travels to England, the Rothberrys want to provide Rupert with his own form of educational travel. Thus, the young Earl of Rothberry takes him around Europe. The route that the Earl of Rothberry and Rupert Gray take is similar to the second of the two primary routes established for grand tours (see Cobham 102 3). According to


30 Buzar d, the first set path was to travel across the channel to France and then south through southern France to Italy, with lots of stops along the way, and then the return journey back to England took a northerly route through Austria and Germany. The second e stablished path was simply reversed (Buzard 39), which is the itinerary Rupert follows. Rupert however begins his grand tour by first traveling around England and Scotland, a necessary lesson if the tourist were not familiar with the home country (Buzard 3 7). Moreover, once Rupert ends the usual circuit (England, Scotland, France, Germany, Austria, and Italy), his journey does not stop there, for he then travels to Greece, Egypt, the Holy Land, India, the Bearing Strait, Canada, and finally New York (Cobham 103). This is, indeed, the grandest of tours because Rupert gets an almost total expedition around the world. cultural capital ( ve in footnote 5 ; Buzard 38). The ideology that Buzard cites is the notion that an education can relate to mastery of knowledge, hopefully leading to benefits of power high social standing and great riches. The purpose of the travel is also to define the l imits or boundaries of the world, as Gikandi has suggested of travel by British men in his book Maps of Englishness (87). When Rupert, a black accountant from Trinidad, embarks upon his grand tour, he experiences something that normally would be reserved f or rich white men. Thus, he is able to cross the boundaries of race and class almost as simply as he is able to cross the borders of countries. The reasoning for his ease of crossing such boundaries is rooted in his earlier abilities to appear as a gentlem en not only to Lady Rothberry but also to many Rupert Gray is a peculiarly Caribbean version of the African American uplift novel, a story founded on the concept of black self d etermination and respectability that reconciles is conversant in the rhetoric of science and because he is gentlemanly, Rupert is able to contrast older, stereotypical images of Afro Caribbean men. As literary critic Raphael Dalleo writes, Rupert Gray tells a story that makes a modern, professional black man its hero and poses his position as a contrast to both the black working class and the literary intellectual. Rup ert is an intellectual in his own right, and his story has anticolonial implications: as Rosenberg notes, the novel makes the case for self Trinidadian as the most prominent politician in a Trinidad with representative go v Dalleo 80). Study Questions 1. Where can you see instances of colonialism in the grand tour Rupert Gray takes? 2. What do you think Rupert Gray actually learns from his grand tour? 3. er than the grand tour that Buzard provides? 4. Is Rupert Gray a problematic figure or is he a revolutionary figure? Why or why not?


31 Conclusion The purpose of this guide was to utilize these two smaller chapters and illuminate the various influences of the e arly twentieth century that were real political, social, and economic issues relating to Botany (and science), Tourism and Colonialism Finally, this guide employed cha pters 9 and 16 as sections for close reading analyses that opened up these larger issue s throughout the text. African writers with tourism and horticulture. The two chapters that comprise the focus of this guide ientalism, which is a false understanding of non European cultures that is based on European prejudices of or against the other non European culture, because readers see how clearly Rupert Gray engages issues in science (botany) and commerce (tourism), whi ch are both inextricable from colonialism and imperialism. Rupert Gray also demonstrates a contrast between the two scenes that highlights how being the type of elite cit izen of the world who goes on a grand tour and eventually becomes a Senator in the government of Trinidad. As should be clear, Rupert is a unique figure working for more than just his romance with Gwendoline He is very much a man who is, as Edmon d son su ggests, mo ving up in society and, as actions in both the Botanical Gardens scene as well as the Grand Tour should indicate the literary valu e but also the cross cultural Rupert Gray Acknowledgments This guide would not have been possible without the helpful guidance of Leah Reade Rosenberg (Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Florida); nor would it have been as successful as a digital production without Laurie Taylor, Ph.D. (Digital Humanities Librarian in the George A. Smathers Library at the University of Florida). Finally, but nowhe re in the least, I give special thanks to Eric Scott Henderson with whose permission I was able to include the postcards that readers have seen in this guide. His collection of postcards of Trinidad


32 made much of this guide a visual success. Readers of this guide may access the Eric Scott Henderson Collection of postcards at the following web address: http://www.flickr.com/photos/striderv/ obago but includes thousands of images of postcards from other countries. Works Cited Botanic Gardens: A Living History Eds. Nadine K. Monem and Blanche Craig. London, UK: Black D og, 2007. Print. The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing Eds. Peter Hulme and Tim Youngs. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 53 69. r (1660 The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing Eds. Peter Hulme and Tim Youngs. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 37 52. Cobham, Stephen N. Rupert Gray: A Tale in Black and White Kingston, Jamaica: UWI Press, 2006. Print. Dal leo, Raphael. Caribbean Literature and the Public Sphere Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press. Print. Edmondson, Belinda. Caribbean Middlebrow: Leisure Culture and the Middle Class. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009. Print. Gikandi Simon. Maps of Englishness: Writing Identity in the Culture of Colonialism New York: Columbia University Press, 1996. Print. East Indies, 1910 Journal Of Southeast Asian Studies 40.1 (2009): 187 214. McCracken, Donal P. Gardens of Empire: Botanical Institutions of the Victorian British Empire London: Leicester University Press, 1997. Print. Pemberton, Rita A. The Trinidad Botanic Gardens and Colonial Res ource Development, 1818 1899 1997. Print. Profession 91 (1991): 33 40. Schiebinger, Londa. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993. Print. Tobin, Beth F. Colonizing Nature: The Tropics in British Arts and Letters, 1760 1820 Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005. Print. For further reading on Rupert Gray b otanical gardens, and other m iscellany : At Terrae Incognitae 33 (2001): 48 58. Rosenberg, Leah Reade Nationalism and the Formation of Caribbean Literature New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Print. Schiebinger, Londa L. and Claudia Swan. Colonial Botany: Science, Commerce, and Polit ics in the Early Modern World Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.


33 Print. Representations 113.1 (Winter 2011): 39 71.