Internationalisms and the Geopolitical Aesthetic

Lauren M. E. Goodlad

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This essay take up the concept of “internationalism” in both practice and theory over the past two centuries. Deeply embedded in Victorian liberal ideologies, internationalism was inseparable from Britain's rise to imperial and commercial power, as well as from traditional forms of nationalism. Recent critical work, however, has become more sensitive to modes of interaction which complicate the assumption of national sovereignty and anticipate translocal, transnational, and supranational polities of many kinds. Among literary historians, there is a new awareness of the “worldedness” of nineteenth‐century literature. This essay adopts the idea of a “geopolitical aesthetic” from Fredric Jameson to describe art's formal capacity to articulate the “landscapes and forces” of global situations too large, complex, and long‐evolving to be fully accessible to individual experience. Jameson's term nicely captures the Victorian affects of imperial disavowal and anxiety over the breaching of cherished sovereignties at multiple scales. A “geopolitical” approach to a “worlded” and “worlding” literary aesthetic resists the centripetal logic of nationality without ignoring the nation‐state's actually existing power and materiality.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Companion to the English Novel
EditorsStephen Arata, Madigan Haley, J. Paul Hunter, Jennifer Wicke
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
ISBN (Electronic)9781118607251
ISBN (Print)9781405194457
StatePublished - May 2015


  • cosmopolitanism
  • globalism
  • empire
  • trade
  • Suez Canal
  • economics
  • nationalism
  • geopolitical aesthetic
  • Anthony Trollope
  • John Wyllie


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