By Deborah Epstein Nord
Gypsies and the British mind's eye, 1807-1930, is the 1st booklet to discover totally the British obsession with Gypsies in the course of the 19th century and into the 20 th. Deborah Epstein Nord strains a variety of representations of Gypsies within the works of such recognized British authors John Clare, Walter Scott, William Wordsworth, George Eliot, Arthur Conan Doyle, and D. H. Lawrence. Nord additionally exhumes lesser-known literary, ethnographic, and ancient texts, exploring the interesting histories of nomadic author George Borrow, the Gypsy Lore Society, Dora Yates, and different hardly ever tested figures and institutions.
Gypsies have been either idealized and reviled by means of Victorian and early-twentieth-century Britons. linked to primitive wants, lawlessness, crafty, and sexual extra, Gypsies have been additionally items of antiquarian, literary, and anthropological curiosity. As Nord demonstrates, British writers and artists drew on Gypsy characters and plots to redefine and reconstruct cultural and racial distinction, nationwide and private identification, and the individual's dating to social and sexual orthodoxies. Gypsies have been lengthy linked to pastoral conventions and, within the 19th century, got here to face in for the traditional British earlier. utilizing myths of switched infants, Gypsy kidnappings, and the Gypsies' murky origins, authors projected onto Gypsies their very own wants to break out conference and their anxieties in regards to the ambiguities of identification. The literary representations that Nord examines have their roots within the interaction among the concept of Gypsies as a separate, usually despised race and the psychic or aesthetic wish to dissolve the boundary among English and Gypsy worlds. via the start of the 20th century, she argues, romantic identity with Gypsies had hardened into caricature-a phenomenon mirrored in D. H. Lawrence's The Virgin and the Gipsy-and completely obscured the truth of Gypsy existence and history.