Bright Lights Film Journal

A Journey into Political Consciousness: Africa as “Setting and Backdrop” in Shekhar Kapur’s <em>The Four Feathers</em> (2002)

“In reflecting the postcolonial sensibilities, rather than the imperialist enthusiasms, of the early twenty-first century, the film is very much a creature of its time.”

In a public lecture he gave in 1975 at the University of Massachusetts, where he was then a visiting professor, the Nigerian novelist and critic Chinua Achebe delivered a trenchant attack on what he saw as Joseph Conrad’s racist depiction of Africa and Africans in his 1902 novella Heart of Darkness (Achebe 169-81). In this lecture, Achebe argues that not only does Conrad disparage the humanity of his African protagonists by presenting them as barbaric savages, but that he does so in order to explore the effect of such barbarism on the consciousness of Europeans. For Achebe, Conrad uses Africa parasitically, treating it as a “setting and backdrop” (Achebe 176) on which to project a drama of fraught and troubled European identity.

Achebe’s lecture provides a useful perspective from which to approach Shekhar Kapur’s 2002 film adaptation of A. E. W. Mason’s popular Edwardian novel of imperial adventure, The Four Feathers, which was published in the same year as Conrad’s novella.1 Like Heart of Darkness, The Four Feathers has an African setting that brings about a crisis of identity in the novel’s European protagonist. And although the two novels conclude in radically different ways, what makes their alternate endings possible is the depravity of Africa and the inhumanity of Africans. In Heart of Darkness, Kurtz’s encounter with “darkest Africa” precipitates his psychological breakdown and descent into savagery and barbarism; while the disgraced and ostracised hero of The Four Feathers, Harry Faversham, is able to regain his lost honour and social prestige by journeying alone to the Sudan after the death of General Gordon and the fall of the British garrison at Khartoum, where he heroically battles against the primitive, uncivilised, and fanatical followers of the Islamist insurgency resisting British colonial influence. Both of these novels, then, are about European identity, but it is an identity which emerges through or out of an encounter with the horrors of Africa. In an argument that applies equally to The Four Feathers, Achebe contends that Heart of Darkness comprehensively deprives its African protagonists of their humanity because it sees them not as people in their own right, but merely as adjuncts in the more interesting and important work of exploring European selfhood. According to Achebe, Conrad treats Africa “as a metaphysical battlefield devoid of all recognisable humanity, into which the wandering European enters at his peril.” He then goes on: “Can nobody see the preposterous and perverse arrogance in thus reducing Africa to the role of props to the break-up of one petty European mind?” (Achebe 176). And in a later conversation with Caryl Phillips, he states his case even more starkly and personally: “My humanity [as an African] is not . . . to be used simply to illustrate European problems” (Phillips 208).

Such a reading of Heart of Darkness and The Four Feathers sees these novels as reproducing on the page the kind of racist and imperialist attitudes the non-European peoples of the British Empire experienced throughout the course of the empire’s history. Neither novel represents Africans as subjects in and of themselves. Rather their humanity is belittled, qualified, and, contingent. Africans are a supporting cast of players whose function is to serve the novels’ European protagonists, enabling this privileged set of characters more fully to realise their subjectivity and selfhood. Reflecting the economic and political realities of empire, even fictional Africans have their humanity subsumed and subordinated to the interests of their colonial masters (Graff 184).

Bearing this in mind, one might think that The Four Feathers would offer rather unpromising material for a commercial Hollywood film that sought to reproduce the novel’s elements of romance, adventure, and derring-do, while at the same time challenging its racist attitudes and imperialist assumptions. Indeed, the wish both to celebrate the heroic deeds of a freelance British adventurer and at the same time to condemn the imperialistic cause for which he is ostensibly fighting, might appear to be an impossible circle to square, and this was certainly one of the criticisms made against the film at the time of its release (Malcolm, French). Retaining the conceptual terms of Achebe’s lecture, what I will argue in this essay is that the film’s director, Shekhar Kapur, follows A. E. W. Mason in concentrating his primary narrative interest on the story’s British characters, in particular its hero, Harry Faversham (played by Heath Ledger). As an inevitable result of this, Kapur — like Mason — tends to relegate Africa and Africans to the role of backdrop and setting. However, while sharing the novel’s focus on Faversham, Kapur’s concern is not with his social reintegration into respectable Victorian society, but rather with his further estrangement from that world, and his rejection of its racist values and attitudes. The film dramatises a journey into political consciousness as Faversham becomes more fully human, and more completely aware of what it is to be human, as a consequence of his experiences of Africa and his encounters with the humanity of Africans.

Kapur retains all of the central elements of the novel’s original plot. Like Mason’s novel, Kapur’s film tells of a young British army officer who resigns his commission after the fall of Khartoum, just as his regiment is due to be sent to the Sudan to fight the followers of Mohammed Ahmad (the so-called Mahdi), who is leading a religiously inspired resistance against the British. Three of Faversham’s fellow officers are so incensed by what they see as his dishonourable conduct that they each send him a white feather, a symbol of cowardice. Faversham’s shame is further compounded when his fiancé, Ethne (played by Kate Hudson), breaks off their engagement and gives him a white feather of her own. In secret he travels alone to the Sudan where, disguised as an Arab (in the novel he also disguises himself as a Greek merchant), he exposes himself to enormous physical hardship and great personal risk in order to rescue his one-time comrades from danger. Having finally exonerated himself of the charge of cowardice, Faversham returns each of the four feathers and marries Ethne. But while the film keeps in place the basic structure and events of the original story, it offers a powerful critique of the moral and political attitudes toward race and empire that remain unexamined in Mason’s novel. In part this is achieved through the portrayal of Faversham’s friendship with an African, Abou Fatma (played by Djimon Hounsou), a character whom Faversham first encounters in the Sudanese desert, and who assumes the role of Faversham’s guide, mentor, protector, and ultimately friend. However, before examining the implications of this interracial friendship and how it subverts the treatment of race in the original novel, I would like to consider the film’s opening sequence, which shows a group of young men — whom we subsequently come to recognise as Faversham and his fellow officers — playing a game of rugby. While this scene might appear to be incidental to the story — doing little more than establishing a setting and evoking a particular tone and mood — I will argue that it is subtly but self-consciously ideological in character, and that as such it provides a key to understanding the film’s engagement with the politics of race and empire.

On one level, the opening scene could simply be viewed as an entirely conventional, even predictable, sequence whose principal function is to alert the audience to the time, place, and social context of the film’s setting — upper-class, late-Victorian Britain — as well as to its genre — serious and worthy “historical drama” — the type of film that rather disparagingly came to be known in the 1980s as “heritage cinema” (Vincendeau). While it later emerges that the action is taking place on the playing fields of an army barracks, there are no obvious visual cues to indicate a military setting: the picture that the scene initially paints is closer to an elite English public school than a regimental barracks. The scene presents two teams of young men passionately and aggressively engaged in a game of rugby while a small group of well-dressed spectators (the implication is that this group consists of the players’ parents, relatives, and friends) is following the match from the touchline. The wealth and social status of the protagonists is indicated by the game of rugby itself (rugby is the winter sport of the British ruling classes); by the appearance and deportment of the spectators (for instance, genteel-looking ladies are seen sipping tea out of china cups and saucers); as well as by the grandeur of the neoclassical buildings that are visible in the background (two of the locations used for the opening scene were Blenheim Palace and the Royal Naval College at Greenwich.)

There is no equivalent of the film’s opening scene in Mason’s original: the word “rugby” does not appear anywhere in the novel of The Four Feathers. But although this scene is the invention of Kapur and his screenwriters, Michael Schiffer and Hossein Amini, it “feels” authentic because it draws upon a long-established tradition of British fiction — going all the way back to Thomas Hughes’s Tom Brown’s Schooldays (1857) — which sees sport in general, and the game of rugby in particular, as a vehicle for both the development and formation of individual character, and the transmission — particularly to the children of the upper and middle classes — of established social norms and conventional moral values. Social and cultural historians of sport have noted that from the second half of the nineteenth century onwards, rugby came to be regarded as an ethos as much as a form of recreation (Mangen, Stoddart, Holt 203-79, Collins). Because of its violent and aggressive nature, rugby was held to instil the “manly” virtues of courage, fortitude, and resilience, yet as a team game it also encouraged self-sacrifice and collective endeavour, as individual players were required to subordinate their own personal interests to the greater good of the team. Sport also reflected the social divisions of late Victorian society (rugby union was played at the public schools, the ancient universities, and amongst members of the traditional professions such as the law, the church and medicine — rugby league was popular in the industrial north, while association football [soccer] became a predominantly urban, working-class sport). So knowledge of rugby union and an ability to play the game tended to confer and confirm privileged social status, becoming as a result an unofficial badge of class.

With this in mind, we can see a number of very obvious reasons for including a game of rugby in the film’s opening sequence. In a coded, shorthand way, it signals to the audience the class background of the protagonists, their cultural milieu, and the kind of conservative political attitudes and outlook they are likely to share. But as well as acting as a marker of social privilege, rugby was particularly strongly associated during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with British colonialism. The values, virtues, and sense of esprit de corps that the game was thought to impart were the same qualities that were prized in British army officers and colonial administrators, and it was the successful transmission and inculcation of these principles that was widely thought to account for Britain’s imperial preeminence. For instance, J. E. C. Weldon, the imperial enthusiast and Headmaster of Harrow School from 1881 to 1895, argued that: “In the history of the British Empire . . . it is written that England has owed her sovereignty to her sports” (Holt 205). The founder of the modern Olympic movement, the French nobleman Baron Pierre de Courbetin, who was a great admirer both of the British sport ethic and the British Empire, also attributed much of the country’s success in acquiring oversees territories to rugby. In 1886 he even visited Rugby School, which as its name suggests was thought to have been the birthplace of the game, and which as an educational institution did much to spread the game’s popularity and influence. Indeed, such was the symbolic significance that De Courberin attached to the sport that he wrote that the tomb of Thomas Arnold, Rugby’s headmaster from 1828 until his death in 1842, should be seen as “the corner-stone of the British Empire” (Holt 1). One further example of the connection between sport and empire is particularly relevant to a discussion of The Four Feathers, bearing in mind its Sudanese setting. The Sudan Political Service, which was set up by the British in 1899 to supervise the government of the country, was well known for the high premium it placed on sporting prowess in its recruitment of graduates as colonial administrators. As a result of the Service’s preference for physically fit sportsmen, the Sudan came to be known in British imperialist circles as “the land of Blacks ruled by Blues” (Holt 206). (The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines a “Blue” as “a person who has represented a university in a sport, esp. Oxford or Cambridge.”)

So the imperialist culture of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century British sport provides a further rationale for Kapur’s inclusion of a game of rugby in the film’s opening sequence. Not only is it a game likely to have been played by the kind of youthful army officers who would have gone off to fight for the British Empire, but it can also be said to encapsulate the aggressive, militaristic, and chauvinistic values of the whole imperialistic endeavour. And it is this ideological element to rugby that Kapur highlights in his film. For what he depicts on screen appears less a conventional sporting contest and more a fierce and bloody ritual designed to initiate its participants into an elite warrior caste. The respectable spectators look on unperturbed from the touchline as the players attack one another with extraordinary savagery: faces are bloodied and bodies end up in a mangled heap on the ground. Kapur seems to imply that it is these British officers, and not the Africans whom they will shortly be sent to subjugate, who are the real barbarians, and it is only through this kind of ritualised initiation into violence that they will become inured to the brutality and inhumanity required of them in war. Kapur can therefore be thought of as subjecting the British to the same anthropological scrutiny that the British themselves had directed toward the subject peoples of their empire. This is further suggested by the musical score (composed by James Horner) that accompanies the scene. As the bodies of the players come in and out of focus, traditional Eastern musical motifs fade in and out, providing an auditory parallel to the visual action. The effect of this is dreamlike and hypnotic, but the use of such self-consciously exotic musical tropes also “orientalises” the figures on screen. Kapur would appear to be inviting the film’s predominantly Western audience to view the British — to view themselves in other words — as strange and “other.” The scene therefore implies that it is the British who are violent and warlike, and that the rites and customs of British society function in such a way as to desensitise their young people to the violence expected of them when serving their country overseas. In this opening scene, then, Kapur provides an aesthetic, and perhaps more importantly, a moral framework through which to understand the personal and political dimensions of the rest of the film.

Like A. E. W. Mason one hundred years before him, Kapur is clearly interested in telling a story about the personal development of a young British officer, and like Mason he projects that individual story onto the panoramic background provided by the British state’s military intervention in the Sudan. However, unlike Mason, Kapur refuses to take the actions of the British at their own valuation. While Mason’s novel does not question the morality of Britain’s involvement in the Sudan, in Kapur’s film, the increasing disquiet felt by Harry Faversham at the actions of the British becomes an index of his growing maturity and a sign of his developing moral — as opposed simply to physical — courage. In this sense, Kapur incorporates the film’s political agenda into its narrative of personal development: Faversham and — to a lesser extent — his erstwhile fellow officers are forced by the traumatic experience of war to confront their own prejudices and to acknowledge the autonomous humanity of the Africans they encounter. A particularly powerful instance of this occurs in a scene in which a British patrol, having just entered an unnamed Sudanese town from the surrounding desert, is attacked by a sniper. In what appears to be a self-conscious visual echo of Pontecorvo’s Battle of Algiers (1966), the soldiers chase the solitary gunman through a dense and complex labyrinth of passages and houses, eventually catching up with and confronting him in a courtyard. What follows is a psychological stand-off between one intrepid gunman and a group of well-armed but increasingly desperate soldiers who cannot comprehend the defiance of their lone adversary. Jack Durrance (played by Wes Bentley), the officer in command of the patrol, repeatedly calls on the man to put down his weapon, but despite the fact that the gunman is in full view of the British rifles that are trained against him, he does not comply. Rather, he is able to wrest control of the situation and dictate the terms of the encounter by slowly and deliberately reloading his gun and aiming it at his enemies. In so doing, he forces the hand of the British. The scene ends with tragic inevitability: Durrance shoots and kills his adversary, an act that in turn incites the local children to express their outrage at the British by pelting them with stones.

Although this is a highly emotive scene, I would argue that it is also extremely self-conscious and artfully constructed. It signals its broad political sympathies both through its visual echoes of The Battle of Algiers, and — in its representation of stone-throwing children resisting an army of occupation — through the obvious parallels it draws with the Palestinian intifada. However, Kapur appears to be more interested in exploring the psychological effect the occupation is having on the occupiers than in examining the experiences of those under occupation. Durrance and his fellow British officers are clearly unnerved by the willingness of their adversary to die for his cause, which they see as going against their codes of “civilised” behaviour. (In this way, the film would appear to be reflecting contemporary anxieties about suicide bombing, particularly in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001.) But more significantly, perhaps, the extreme violence of the confrontation forces the British to recognise the fact of their own unpopularity, and to acknowledge that it is their presence in the Sudan that is driving the local population to take such desperate, seemingly suicidal action. The self-confident belief of the British that they represent the forces of order and civilisation cannot remain unchallenged when the people they are ostensibly protecting are opposed to — and violently resist — their rule.

Of course, a criticism that could be levelled against the film in general and this scene in particular is that the process of moral and political education that Kapur charts is anachronistic. (How many British soldiers serving in the Sudan in the 1880s actually responded to the antagonism of the local population by questioning their own actions? Isn’t it more likely that the experience of violent conflict would have led to the strengthening rather than the weakening of racial prejudices and religious and cultural stereotypes?) In reflecting the postcolonial sensibilities, rather than the imperialist enthusiasms, of the early twenty-first century, the film is very much a creature of its time. (For instance, another contemporary film that brings a modern sensibility to bear on — in this case — a much earlier historical period is Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven [2005], which centres on a twelfth-century Christian knight [played by Orlando Bloom], who despite fighting to defend Jerusalem against the army of Saladin, has the political values and moral outlook of a twenty-first-century liberal.)

As this illustration suggests, there are obvious political problems associated with such an anachronistic approach to history. On the one hand, there is much to commend in Kapur’s idealism and optimism; as the film suggests, people can change; racial prejudices and hatreds can be overcome. The barriers that separate people are not insurmountable, and individuals from widely different religious, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds can learn to acknowledge and respect their common humanity. However, what we would now see as a laudable sense of hope and possibility must be tempered with the realisation that the potential for change in human affairs is often not realised. So while admirable in many respects, there is the danger that Kapur’s treatment of history might seem rather facile and his understanding of the human condition slightly glib. Although well intentioned, Kapur’s film is vulnerable to the accusation that it substitutes or at least confuses political fable for genuine history. And in so doing, it might be seen as attempting not only to efface the racism that underpinned Britain’s imperial policy, but also to downplay the entrenched racist attitudes of many of the individuals who served the British Empire.

In the case of Kapur’s version of The Four Feathers, then, the wish to present an optimistic story in tune with the tastes and sensibilities of the early twenty-first century — a tale, in other words, in which hope conquers despair and human sympathy triumphs over prejudice — might be said to be at odds with a desire to pay due respect to the history of the period in which the film is set. And nowhere is the danger of presenting a slightly caricatured version of history more apparent than in the film’s portrayal of the interracial friendship between Harry Faversham and Abou Fatma. In Mason’s novel, Fatma is a sketchily drawn character: a one-time servant of General Gordon in Khartoum, he transfers his loyalty and service to Faversham. Within the moral economy of the novel he is a “good” character in that his faithful allegiance to the British is never in doubt, but there is nothing more to him than the role he fulfils of the dutiful and trustworthy servant: he has no interiority or depth, and there is certainly no question of him acting autonomously or independently. In his dealings with Fatma, Faversham is always in control, and there is nothing in their association to suggest any emotional intimacy or friendship. It is significant that in Mason’s novel, Faversham speaks fluent Arabic: an ability that not only allows him to pass himself off as an Arab (thus granting him access to those areas of Sudanese society that are otherwise restricted to Westerners), but also confers on him a kind of power over the Arabic-speaking Africans he encounters, including Abou Fatma. Edward Said has famously argued that Orientalism should be understood as an institutional discourse that provided the West with a system of knowledge that enabled it to dominate and exercise authority over the Orient (Said passim). As portrayed by Mason, Faversham is the master of just such a system of knowledge; his comprehensive understanding of the language, mentality, and customs of the people he is living amongst gives him enormous power over them. Although he becomes involved in a series of increasingly dangerous and desperate situations, he is always equal to them, and his confident ability successfully to negotiate the perilous circumstances in which he finds himself is a function not simply of his courage and ingenuity, but also of the system of privileged, orientalist knowledge which he has inherited almost as a birthright.

As we might expect, the way in which Faversham relates to Abou Fatma in particular, and Africans in general, is presented in radically different terms in Kapur’s film, but as with Mason’s novel, linguistic competence in Arabic — or the lack of it — provides a helpful means of understanding the political as well as personal implications of their relationship. In the film, Faversham arrives in Egypt unable to speak Arabic, and throughout his time in Africa he appears only ever to acquire a smattering of words and phrases. So the 2002 cinematic incarnation of Harry Faversham has none of the confidence, authority, or autonomy of Mason’s original character from a century earlier. Ignorant of both the language and customs of the people amongst whom he is living — people who for the most part are extremely hostile to the British — he falls into a state of complete dependence on Fatma, a dependence that is as much emotional and psychological as practical. Therefore, what in the original novel is very much a conventionally hierarchical relationship, in which all the power and authority are vested with the figure of the colonial European, becomes in the film something very different. For his early twenty-first-century cinema audience, Kapur depicts an emotional connection between the two men that is held together by mutual respect and friendship rather than a traditional master-servant relationship.

But Kapur does not simply reinterpret the characterisation of Harry Faversham: Abou Fatma is also represented in a radically different light. Although the film retains the idea that he was once the servant of General Gordon, this seems to be a plot device to explain his knowledge of the English language. He has no residual loyalty to the British; his loyalty is purely personal and is directed solely at Faversham. (He is therefore no stooge of empire; there is no cringing servility to the colonial master.) Whereas in the novel, Fatma is entirely passive, here he is active and dynamic; he is Faversham’s guide and mentor in an unfamiliar word; he sets in motion and oversees all of Faversham’s plans; and he saves Faversham’s life and rescues him from prison. He is also presented as a source of experience and wisdom. It is he and not Faversham who has knowledge of more than one culture and language, and as a result he has a much broader vision and understanding of the world than his European friend. To paraphrase Said’s term, it might be said that Abou Fatma is an Occidentalist — the knowledge he has acquired of the language, habits, and customs of the English gives him a kind of authority over them, although it is an authority he exploits to help and support his friend rather than to dominate and oppress him.

In his treatment of the friendship of Harry Faversham and Abou Fatma, then, Kapur has made a strenuous effort to purge the original story of its racist elements and to reimagine their relationship in idealised, almost utopian terms. The one-time servant now fulfils the role of friend and mentor while the resourceful and self-reliant master is newly conceived of as physically and emotionally vulnerable, and hopelessly out of his depth in a strange and unfamiliar land. Indeed, such is the transformation that Kapur works on the dynamic of this relationship that Fatma almost comes to assume the role of Faversham’s spiritual guide, as it is his respect for and admiration of Fatma that prompts Faversham finally to reject the values and ideology of imperialist Victorian society. Therefore, from the perspective of the film’s early twenty-first-century audience, Fatma functions as something of a catalyst for the narrative — he helps to liberate Faversham from the metaphorical shackles of bigotry and prejudice that had formerly imprisoned him in a state of stunted ignorance.

A discussion of the relationship between Abou Fatma and Harry Faversham provides a useful point on which to conclude this essay because it brings into sharp relief all of the principal issues and ideas I have been exploring. The century between the publication of A. E. W. Mason’s novel and the release of Shekhar Kapur’s film has seen a transformation in Britain in attitudes toward both the politics of race, and the history and morality of the British Empire. The casual, unconscious racism of Mason’s novel is now no longer tenable in mainstream culture, and the changes that Kapur makes to his adaptation of the story reflect this fact. While Faversham and his compatriots may have journeyed to Africa with little awareness or understanding of the people whose country they were sent to occupy, their various experiences of conflict force them to question not just the morality of their individual actions, but the right of the British state to invade a foreign land and exploit and subjugate its population. Thus the film ends with a memorial service for the troops who died during the Sudanese campaign in which there is no jingoistic celebration of the glories of empire. Rather, it presents a simple and dignified commemoration of personal loyalty and individual sacrifice. Jack Durrance, the officer who delivers the memorial address, reflects this revisionist view by solemnly intoning: “We fight for the man on our left. We fight for the man on our right.”

Of course, while the film’s rejection of the values of empire is warmly to be welcomed, as I have already suggested, there are problems with such a representation of the politics of colonialism. It could be argued that the film seriously distorts history and presents its audience with a rather comforting, almost Disneyfied version of the British Empire. The film could therefore be said to be letting the British off the hook, as it would seem to imply that all those involved in the Sudanese campaign are so chastened by their experiences that they are resolved to amend their ways in the future. The film concludes with two final images: the first showing Harry Faversham and his fiancé, Ethne, walking hand in hand by the river Thames, the second showing Abou Fatma riding a camel across the desert. The implication is that there is an unbreakable bond uniting these two friends despite the thousands of miles that separate them. It provides an emotionally stirring conclusion to the film, but again it could be viewed as offering a rather saccharine and fundamentally misleading image of the reality of empire. And perhaps what these contradictory reflections on Kapur’s film highlight is the fact that, however politically literate and morally well intentioned, no modern director can avoid confronting insoluble difficulties when adapting a novel such as The Four Feathers that is so deeply implicated in the fundamentally different moral and political values of its time.

Works Cited

Chinua Achebe, “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness,” reprinted in Chinua Achebe. Things Fall Apart. Ed. Francis Abiola Irele. New York & London: W. W. Norton, 2009, pp. 169-181.

Collins. A Social History of English Rugby Union. London: Routledge, 2009.

Philip French, “Review of The Four Feathers,” The Observer, Sunday 20 July 2003.

Gerald Graff, “Teaching the Politics of Heart of Darkness,” reprinted in Chinua Achebe. Things Fall Apart. Ed. Francis Abiola Irele. New York & London: W. W. Norton, 2009, pp. 182-188.

Robert Holt. Sport and the British: A Modern History. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Thomas Hughes. Tom Brown’s Schooldays. Ed. Andrew Sanders. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Derek Malcolm “Review of The Four Feathers,” The Guardian, Tuesday 12 November 2002.

J. A. Mangen. The Games Ethic and Imperialism: Aspects of the Diffusion of an Ideal. London: Viking, 1986.

A. E. W. Mason. The Four Feathers. Ed. Gary Hoppenstand. London & New York: Penguin, 2001.

Caryl Phillips, “Was Joseph Conrad Really a Racist?,” reprinted in Chinua Achebe. Things Fall Apart. Ed. Francis Abiola Irele. New York & London: W. W. Norton, 2009, pp. 200-208.

Edward W. Said, Orientalism (1978). London: Penguin, 2003.

Brian Stoddart. “Sport, Cultural Imperialism, and Colonial Response to the British Empire.”Comparative Studies in Society and History 30. 1988, pp. 649-673.

Ginette Vincendeau. Ed. Film/Literature/Heritage: A Sight & Sound Reader. London. BFI Publishing, 2001.

  1. Kapur’s film is the seventh screen adaptation of Mason’s novel to date. Its best-known predecessor is Zoltan Korda’s 1939 version, produced by Alexander Korda, the director’s brother. []