Adventures in Imperial Anthropography
(A Nineteenth-Century Pastiche)


Kevin Perromat Augustín

University of Seville, Seville, Spain

Copyright © 2003 by Kevin Perromat Augustín, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. Copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the editors are notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.

Cuando usted viaje, deje su vida en su casa, en su pueblo, en su ciudad.

Es un artefacto inútil.

Juan Filloy, Periplo.

Come across amid tampered pages, there, in Rock stars’ tattoos, in the Crystal Palace, in some National Bank bills. It is written everywhere: here, on the documentary channels, camels among pyramids on tobacco labels, on the breakfast trays, a Bengali soldier on a Premium-quality tea tin-box, or here, on the Disney Channel, Uncle MacDuck, salakov-headed in khaki-trousers discovering some new golden Mammon idol to sum up to the Lake-Ness-depths of his pool-like safe. [1] Our explorers are not forgotten. Nevertheless, the question is constantly poised: are these historic figments, blameless of inequalities, devoid of cultural consequences, or (some accuse us) guilty modes of reference and representation?[2]

The Imperial Anthropographic Society is proud of its members. Its origins have been left off track; was he the First Man[3] who painted hunting scenes in Altamira or Lascaux? Was he that one who believed that to draw a conquered Mammoth on the walls of a cold cave, where men hide and shivered in the night of time, ought to mean its posterior defeat? Was it so simple to eliminate the distance between Time and Space? Was not He the first cartographer of the future?

We have been accused of hermetism, of Zionism, of constituting an hidden structure of power, a secret society, the Great Conspiracy. . . . Pointing at Solomon’s Temple, to Notre Dame, to Homer’s Odyssey, outraged voices have protested against what they suggest is the Great Trap-Map. "The ineluctable modality of the visible," a certain preposterous S. Dedalus entitled it. We have not condescended to reply to these claims, we assimilate them. We made no distinction. There are not numerous landscapes, not multiple geographies. There is only one Map. Everyone’s. Ours. We are not blind; we know indeed that each of us, deep inside, has this same irresistible desire to escape, to break out this universal Atlas, the imperious need to find blanks to fill in, spaces uncharted, unexplored futures, unknown pasts. One might even invent new territories, distant planets, private geographies. It does not matter, it is all foreseen. From the beginning, Man has been trying to escape (from) his own shadow. Travelling was always within ourselves. An Anthropography.

The Great Atlas is ever expanding. As Roland Barthes noticed, all of us have inherited a territory, a received Topography, a given representation of the World, a land familiar and simultaneously alien to us, for we have not charted it.[4] Here Toponymy, the act of providing places with a name, is an extremely important motion. It may be called Tradition, Leviathan, System, Mechanism, Universal History. . . . It is not relevant. It is "the World and all that it contains," as A. Graham Bell put it,[5] what Derrida identifies with the "Texte Generale," the unstopped writing space, the fixed succession of linguistic/cosmographical landmarks: Pandora’s boxes, words within worlds within words, vertical chronologies, infinite spaces. History is but a written story on a circular Great Wall. The beginning and the end coexisting in spherical narratives, where primitive tribes encounter conquerors from their future, a mixture of industrialised Metropolis and barbarian peripheries.[6] The First, the quest for a Centre, provides the meaning, as a telegraphic lighthouse casting light to darker corners of the Empire. It is but a never-ending tale of the Arabian Nights, told by Tusitala,[7] by Kipling’s naughty goblin Puck of Pook’s Hill:

They are the dark places of the earth, full of the unimaginable cruelty, touching the Railway and the Telegraph on the other side, and, on the other, the days of Harun-al-Rashid. (Kipling, The Man Who Would Be King 247)
The Empire of Telegraph, ‘writing in distance,’ taints all narratives, the manner in which the Metropolis ruled its far-flung territories:
A King or a courtier or a courtesan or a community was going to die or get a new Constitution, or do something that was important on the other side of the world, and the paper was to be held open till the latest possible minute in order to catch the telegram. (Kipling, The Man Who Would Be King 250)

As Marvin Harris has pointed out, the Industrial revolution and its supernatural artifacts tracked Hegel’s Spirit of the World, the West-ward path -- the Railway, by land, and the Clippers ("Warpers of Space," as Frank Herbert defined them, in his "Dune expedition"), by sea, and the Gramophone, on the air. Man’s History understood as a single-lane Freeway, where Man can recede and progress within a few hours' distance: From Victorian Reign to Prehistoric Taliban Kafiristani (former Afghan savages), from Nellie, the ship in which Marlow recounted his experiences in Africa, harboured in the Thames, to Kurtz’s Inner Station of the Dark Ages, following the Lost Steps,[8]: the reversal of Bahktin’s concept of Fiction mainly as a question of chronologies:

The mere antiquity of Asiatic things, of their institutions, histories, modes of faith, etc., is so impressive, that to me the vast age of the race and name overpowers the sense of youth in the individual. A young Chinese seems to me an antediluvian man renewed. (De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater 108)

There are different reasons to go abroad, to explore and enlarge the Map of the Empire. France was able to claim Canadian Territories thanks to the services of Jacques Cartier, Cartographer of the river Saint Laurence. To name, to possess. Soon, problems arising from parallel expeditions were presented to the earlier geographers and anthropographers of the Empire, requiring the creation of another figure, the Explorer of Texts, whose Panoptical[9] view functions as an Order-producer in the tremendous struggle among map-makers. Alphabetical Order, for its geographical qualities, is preferred:

The Library of the Society is particularly rich in sets of transactions and periodicals and these have recently been put in thorough order, by Dr. James Murie, by whom this appendix has been compiled(...) The arrangement is geographical, as in the case of Appendix II. The continents are arranged alphabetically, the countries and towns in each country being also in alphabetical order. (Mill, Catalogue viii)

Order always involves the construction of hierarchical societies. In geographical ordinations, rank position is determined by the proximity to the metropolitan centre. Subsequently, it is not surprising that Irish, Scots and Welsh should be reputed explorers. This is a question of stubbornness; of possessing the straight mind and perseverance. Livingstone, Stanley, Mackenzie, Robert Louis Stevenson, Carnehan (who tragically participated in Kipling’s expedition to Kafiristan), the Scottish Kirk, Uncle MacDuck, Calvinism, E. J. Eyre in Jamaica, frugality and Will to Power. Nevertheless, far from rendering tribute to the inspiring deeds of these courageous captains, soldiers and colonisers, miserable voices have spread insidious remarks and judgements of them being mere tools -- used and dumped -- for an uncaring Power, who never explains.[10] We will not reply to that obviously misleading condemnation; we will content ourselves with pointing at the fact that even iron-maiden Queen Victoria, in her first years of widowing, required the supplementary force of Brown, her Scottish horseman.

To reduce Empire to mere greed and insatiable capitalistic accumulation is to misunderstand Imperial fundamental nature, its grandeur. Anthropographers such as Max Weber, Karl Popper and Francis Fukuyama agree in an unconditional confidence in Man’s happiness not deriving exclusively from material sources. Exploring societies, even in their less-advanced phases such as the Company-stage, possess generous encyclopaedic directresses. Kurtz’s legacy as a member of the Company is not the riches produced but a report-paper on the "Suppression of Savage Customs".[11] It was not spices-commerce (or tea, coffee, tobacco, cacao, petroleum, etc.) which justified Royal Societies.

The famous "contrack" signed between Daniel Dravot and Peachey Taliaferro Carnehan, in the Kafiristani Expedition, works as a marker of the Company origins of later Victorian Empire:

This Contract between me and you persuing witnesseth in the name of God —Amen and so forth.

(One) That me and you will settle this matter together; i.e. to be Kings of Kafiristan.

(Two) That you and me will not, while this matter is being settled, look at any Liquor, nor any Woman black, white, or brown, so as to get mixed up with one or the other harmful.

(Three) That we conduct ourselves with dignity and Discretion, and if one of us gets into trouble the other will stay by him.

Signed by you and me this day.

Peachey Taliaferro Carnehan.

Daniel Dravot.

Both Gentleman at Large. (Kipling, The Man Who Would Be King 254)

Other sightless reproaches against illustrious clubs such as the International Safari Association -- which counts among its 33000 members important figures like General Schwarzkopf and former ex-Vice-president Dan Quayle -- [12] deserve as well a general condemnation.

Marlow relates to his listeners on the Nellie how he became fascinated with the graphic representation of the world. Geographical charts extract proportional equivalents to explorers’ experiences. It was suspected that to arrive first to a nameless territory awarded the possibility of adapting the map to resemble explorer’s desire. According to Freud, it is during childhood when erotic and death drives are established. Accordingly, the curves and angles of their motion draw another map:

‘Now when I was a little chap I had a passion for maps, and I would look for hours at South America, or Africa, or Australia, and lose myself in all the glories of exploration. At that time there were many blank spaces on the earth, and when I saw one that looked particularly inviting on a map (but they all look like that) I would put my finger on it and say when I grow up I will go there (. . . ) True, by this time it was not a blank space any more. It had got filled since my boyhood with rivers and lakes and names. It had ceased to be a blank space of delightful mystery -- a white path for a boy to dream gloriously over.’ (Conrad, Heart of Darkness 12)
The map as a text accomplishes what Barthes would call a blissful perverted reading: "This text is a fetish object and this fetish desires me. It chooses me."[13] No claims ought to be addressed to the explorer, for his steps were already written in the scale. Each expedition goes further, in predetermined tracks, like railways allowing junctions and terminals -- being, nevertheless, already drawn.

Topography, the description of topoi, of rhetorical devices, on the other hand, results from the comprehension of the difference between figuration and representation. In opposition to extensive explorations, it derives from intensive discoveries. Cartography is always taxonomic, cataloguing the forces of nature, insisting that a two-inch blue line bears the name of Nile, that there exists a Universal Greenwich Chronological Meridian, and other metaphors that bear the magnificence of our maps.

"Pleasure is never at home," wrote John Keats in a poem, speaking of the necessity of stepping out of Tradition: the Out-Land exploration. Out of schedules, out of Duane-clerks in the Service, out of wicked governesses, out of industrial Manchester, out of the Nellie and of London. The Great Empire advance accompanies Man’s being effaced from the Map. Weight-less, indistinguishable in the Metropolitan Topography, the individual feels with anguish what M. Kundera calls the "unbearable lightness of being." The answer requires commitment, efficiency, either in the Conquest of a king-less territory, or in meticulous, exact anthropophagy, opium-eating,[14] pursuing the last doll in the Matryoska Mechanism. The process should be never-ending.

Yet, it is dangerous to travel excessively far. Some explorers never came back, leaving more blankness to the blank they sought to fill in. There are multiple examples: Alexander the Great, Cook, Magallanes, or the notorious case of Gordon -- of which there exist two contradictory variant stories; the first compiled by a certain E. A. Poe, gives his complete name as Arthur Gordon Pym and locates his death-place, in the first half of the XIXth century, somewhere in the Antarctic Continent, the story being apocryphally continued by the French explorer J. Verne; the second one places his death in Khartum, besieged by the troops of the Mahdi, the Chosen (1888). (There might be several different explorers with the same name; there are scattered blanks and inaccuracies throughout the tampered pages of the catalogue of the Society.) Neither did Daniel Dravot, the King of the king-less Kafiristan, come back, nor Kurtz. But symbolically they did: the first as a crowned trunk-less head, the latter in the chart he drew for the (civilised) future of the savages, brought back to Europe by Marlow.

Nevertheless, the bounty is tempting. Since Hegel, and Nietzsche after him, divided humanity between Masters and Slaves -- the one who dare, take the risk of freedom, and the ones who dare not -- the vast majority of the Human Race had fallen into a status mid-way between slavish security and master comfort. [15] Real travellers’s voyages were fortune-bound, ad venturam. As Masters they imposed names and meaning to the domain they explored. But, alas, these times are nearly over. Paul Bowles noticed sadly that in order to travel properly the traveller required at least six luggage pieces, among trunks and hand baggage. Nowadays one cannot find African natives to download and port the equipment of a voyager. Gregarious Tourists have substituted for travellers, and tourists, it is well known, believe anything:

But Keola knew white men are like children and only believe their own stories; so about himself he told them what he pleased, and as for the light (which was Kalamake's lantern) he vowed he had seen none.(. . . ) The mate was told of it; he saw the boats preparing, because in that season the people leave that island and sail to the Isle of Voices; but he was a fool of a white man, who would believe no stories but his own, and he caught one of these fish, cooked it and ate it, and swelled up and died, which was good news to Keola. (Stevenson "The Island of Voices," from Island Night’s Entertainments)

That is what happens when the traveller becomes a Haole, a Tourist. Barthes conceives Western Narrators as masked figures constantly pointing at themselves: the Cartesian larvatus prodeo (‘masked I advance’) disguising, even going native, as markers of the role production. The traveller’s paraphernalia explains among other things why there has not been organised any, let’s say, Egyptian Expedition to Westminster Abbey to dig King Henry the VIIIth ‘s corpse and remove it back to Cairo, in order to enlarge the Egyptian National Archaeological Museum. Territories out of the Empire are blank pages to fulfill with narrators’ desires. There, one might become a King, a Princess or find a South Sea Paradise and never return to the Metropolis.

Pleasure, though, is neither wholly abroad. One of the factors of the process of disappearance of Exotica is related to landscape transformation. Railway radial diagrammatic geometry impresses Imperial telegraphic command. If the American National Geographic Society was founded out of members of the Enlightened Club Cosmos, the subsequent reproduction of Western models accounts for Polo and Cricket Clubs, the latter being the most British of sportive rituals, supposed to be completely unintelligible for foreigners. Utilitarism and Rotarian philosophical theory have allowed the development of former culture-blank spaces. The unfaithful accusation of cruel exploitation, the imposition of an economic and cultural dependence, has been reversed brilliantly by reputed scholars such as Karl Popper and Francis Fukuyama, the latter being a fresh evidence of the International Project achieved by the Empire, which was initiated after Prichard's archaeological discoveries of Adam, the Hegelian First Man, concerning his being black and uncultured. [16] Nowadays there are Méditerranée Clubs even in the International Space Station, as Russians have recently proved.

Frances Hodgson Burnett participates in this special number of the Imperial Anthropographic Society with the account of two in-land expeditions: The Secret Garden and A Little Princess. As a spiritist and a theosopher, her expert use of boy-scouting allows her to explore the roots of Western geographic representation of Man’s labyrinthic Desire.

Thomas de Quincey was also interested in esoteric (i.e. inner) voyages. He travelled down to the Land of the Lotus-eaters, where he discovered in our contemporaneous ancestors the Glory and Horror of the First Men, this time Malaysian or Chinese, disguised in Civilisation Customs (in the double sense of habits, and Duane taxes which led Queen Victoria to declare war against Imperial China).

Rudyard Kipling, the poet of the Empire, recounts Dravot and Carnehan’s expedition to Kafiristan. From Kim to The Jungle Books, his support of Imperial Redemption does not need further mentioning.

Joseph Conrad, born Polish, could not speak the Imperial tongue until reaching twenty-one. His famous expedition to the Barbarian Land of Horror exposes Empire in its most dramatic form, placing into light the hollowness of defective explorers. Empire is a religion, which false priests denigrate.

Robert Louis Stevenson, the Scottish unreturned explorer, evidences Imperial Universal Expansion, the Mechanism, contradicting the obnoxious dissenters, who protest against a supposed European Ethnocentrism. He was buried in the Sandwich Islands.

Our expeditions may be broadly divided into two main categories: In-Land and Out-Land Explorations. The difference is neutralised in cartographic terms. Both groups travel towards our primeval ancestors, chronologically and spatially.

Within Burnett’s expedition, Mary Lennox, an orphan girl, arrives from India to live with her uncle in Yorkshire. His Mansion, Misselthwaite Manor, shelters an ailing garden and Master Colin, a sick boy. Her missionary stay cures both. Conversely, Sara Crewe is brought over from India as well, to join in a girls’ seminary in London. Sara’s condition is made equal to Mary’s, when suddenly Captain Crewe dies. Burnett explores the sources of the Imperial Capital, the economic interrelation between the Metropolitan Centre and the Colonies. Sara, a self-proclaimed ‘princess,’ suffers the humiliation of a dip into destitution and the ill-treatment of the Governess, Miss Minchin. Nevertheless, the explorer became a ‘Riches’ Princess,’ after being rescued by her father’s contractual partner, Mr. Carrisford, revealing the glorious splendour of the Capitalistic Working Ethos.[17]

Thomas de Quincey’s voyage to the Subconscious establishes another landmark in Anthropography. Self-exploration previously had been aimed at the centre of consciousness. The margins of it harbour barbarians, Thanatos and Eros drives, which go up to the explorer’s childhood. Although de Quincey returned from the Opium regions, it was suspected that he made frequent visits back to the region of unfiltered Pleasure and Pain.

Kafiristan, the land of the sons of Alexander: the rediscovering of the possible cradle of Masonry, and the West-ward movement of the Hegelian "Spirit of the World," affords Kipling historic recognition. The confirmation of Darwin’s hypothesis concerning the pre-eminence of the genealogical inheritance over cultural adaptation: Dravot and Carnehan’s failure -- together with the breaking of Victorian taboos, the breach of the famous "contrack" -- resided in not perceiving the English component amid the Native constitution. Englishness within natives means Calibanness. Dravot’s hubris leads him to adopt natives’ superstitions and eventually condemns him to beheading, a royal execution method.

Conrad’s surveyor, Marlow, traces back the sources of Evil within the African continent, from its geographical centre. Obeying instructions from the Company, Marlow surmounts the river Congo, in the quest of Kurtz’s Inner Station. Kurtz's somehow brutal methods find their required justification in the same arguments used by Truman (and after him, many others, such as Fukuyama) in his "Apology of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki": the uncivilisable nature of the natives. Kurtz as a tragic hero died while accomplishing his duty, his triumph being achieved with the ultimate return to the Metropolitan Company (rendered by Marlow) of his report "On the Suppression of the Savage Customs."

Last but not least, Stevenson's wandering in the South Sea Islands ended in the Sandwich Islands, where he fixed his eternal residence. Though perhaps he went somehow excessively native -- to the point where he exchanged his surname for Tusitala, the ‘story-teller’ -- his wanderings provided him the merit of the discovery of the "Bottle Imp" and the "Island of Voices." The "imp" in the bottle, which cannot be broken nor lost, and provides a certain condemnation to whoever possesses it, concedes infinite wishes to its owner. The only way to get rid of this wondrous artifact is to sell it for a lower price than the purchase price. The "Island of Voices" is located in the South Seas, in the Low or Dangerous Archipelago. Any shell picked and transported elsewhere would turn into American dollars. Some have found this fact to be the ultimate evidence of Empire’s Evil, but such a reading eventually confirm that generous, encyclopaedic all-including nature of the Society explorers, Stevenson being one of its most illustrious members.

The Romantic explorer Percy Bysshe Shelley met once a "traveller from an antique land" who told him of the broken statue with the inscription: "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings./ Look on my works ye mighty and despair." The statue lay on the desert, amid the uncharted waves of sand, a levelled sepulchre, a blank space on the map, spared from oblivion by an Ozymandias fugitive. Catalogues are titles and proper names’ burial place. The cartographer of this map of texts invents possible ordinations, systematic meanings: a purpose. Its practical implications, items considered as goods, form what it is called an inventory. The inventoried encoding procedures of a map are the Map’s Legend.

(The spirit of) ADVENTURE has redeemed our universal enterprise, said Alexander Graham Bell, founder and second President of the National Geographic branch of the Imperial Anthropologic Society:

‘What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the idea -- something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer sacrifice to . . . ’(Conrad, Heart of Darkness 10)
Inventor of the telephone, his artefact improved Telegraph Roads, the ancestors of today's Internet "Freeways of Information." To travel ad venturam, leaving chance to determine the course and destiny of the traveller’s steps. Chance is a capricious force.

(Lake) ALBERT is situated in the border between Uganda and The Republic of Congo. Albert receives water supplies from his consort lake Victoria, who is, in all aspects, greater than Albert.

ALEXANDER (the Great), the most famous Conqueror and Emperor of Antiquity, one of the Masonic Patriarchs and mythic founder of the Kingdom of Kafiristan, the inhabitants of which are white, their nature being similar to that of English people. In Masonic terms, Kafiristani:

Chiefs and the priests can work a Fellow Craft Lodge in a way that’s very like ours, and they’ve cut the marks on the rocks, but they don’t know the Third Degree, and they’ve come to find out. (Kipling, The Man Who Would Be King 265)
This is something which improved Kafiristani’s status from Barbarians to those who could claim descent, though corrupted, from Explorers.

ARIEL, the bright face of the native-barbarians, works as benefactor in Stevenson’s "Island of Voices" -- Keola, the unfortunate traveller, being rescued by his wife Ariel-lehua, after escaping his father-in-law’s, the sorcerer Kalamake, attempt to murder him. In the Kafiristan-Expedition, Kipling seems to perceive the same character in Big Fish, a native Free-Mason of Dravot and Carnehan’s Lodge.

BABEL, another name for Labyrinth, the Map of Maps, the telegraphic confusion of the "Island of Voices." See GARDEN.

BARBARIANS, said Lévi-Strauss, are meaning-confines, meaning being enclosed by what Barbarians are able to comprehend. [18] Barbarians fall into two main categories: Ariel and Caliban.

The BOUNTY to obtain is always Freedom and Recognition. The ways to obtain it are multiple and varied: from rebellious Mutiny, Ivory or Shell-dollar collection, archaeological finding, a home in Hawaiian Paradise, a Kingdom quest, to a name on a Map. The mutinied Bounty vestiges were found on the bottom of the sea near Pitcairn, by Luis Marden, in 1957, in a National Geographic expedition.[19]

(Taliban) CALIBAN dwelled in the territory before the arrival of Prospero the Magician, whom he, afterwards, grumpy and submissive, served until his final departure. Unlike his more agreeable version, Ariel, Calibans tend to rebellion. Resentful of foreigners, Kafiristani have remained isolated until present days, after rebelling against Dravot and Carnehan’s Crown. In the "Island of Voices" Keola proposes the Caliban Cannibals to stop the arrival of the invisible sorcerers, whose voices give name to the island, and who pick up shells-dollars, by cutting the trees which produce the leaves they need for their spells.

(Western) CANNON is located in the central square of Lahore (India), where Kipling, Kim and the Lama met for the first time. The Lama is said to possess a map of the way to Nirvana. Kim is a boy-scout in the service of the Great Game,[20] and would accompany the Lama in his wanderings, gathering information for the Secret Service. Harold Bloom’s Western Cannon, as the British ones after the Indian Mutiny of 1857, expels Sepoys from its fire mouths, [21] clearing and putting into thorough order the catalogue of authority maps.


DARWIN (Rio Negro, Argentina) is located within the Patagonian Country. Darwin has resolved the secular controversy between Order, this redoubtable word for R. Barthes, [22] and Progress. Its population which comprises Jewish, Arab, German, English and Spanish immigrants, in addition to the Mapuche Natives, believes strongly in Positivism (i.e. Progress) and the "survival of the fittest." The success of parents is inscribed within the clearest countenance of the offspring. Something which allows the European-descent bourgeois to feel at ease when looking at a Mapuche worker or an unemployed person (homeless, for obvious reasons, there are not in Patagonia), Darwin authorities request sympathy for the less Positive individuals. One of our Explorers reports a conversation with the Mayor of the city, in which he confessed having had an extraordinary nightmare in which, with anxiety, he realised that life was in fact created and not the result of evolution and natural selection among species. In end of his dream he had considered suicide. Fortunately, when he roused from the bed, he confirmed that his butler had an unequivocal ape-face.[23]

EMPIRE is the fulfillment of the old prophetic enterprise of Alexander, Templates, or within the esoteric cabalistic tradition, Solomon, Swedenborg and Urizen-Blake. As Umberto Eco has demonstrated in his report on the Pendulum of Foucault, Cathedrals, Railway Junctions, Cricket and Rotary clubs, among other elements, work as Energy Cannon nodes within a network which frames, and makes coherent, the whole Universe. It has received the label of Civilisation and the more Utilitarist appellation of the Game of Games. Its clock-work Mechanism comprises the Garden image, in its British and not French version.

(As the) EXPLORER and geographer Antoine de Saint Exupéry wrote in the account of his childhood travels, The Little Prince:

Mais je ne suis pas un explorateur. Je manque absolutement d’explorateurs. (. . .) Le géographe est trop importat pour flâner. Il ne quite pas son bureau. Mais il y reçoit les explorateurs. Il les interroge, et il prend en note ses souvenirs. Et si les souvenirs de l’un entre eux lui paraissent intéressants, le geographe fait faire une enquete sur la moralité de l’explorateur. (46).[24]

Carnehan uses Kipling’s identity as a reporter for an Indian Magazine; Kipling in his turn, as a journalist, impersonates Peachey Carnehan as an explorer. In other words, the geographer (i.e. the anthropographer) Saint Exupéry’s split personality embodies the traveller’s dilemma towards territories explored. Geography implies founding (the meaning of the term being "engraving/printing of the earth"), that is, the providing of a meaning, a permanence, which in its turn and after Nietzsche has become a question of Will. Subsequently, it is not surprising that Neil Armstrong, the astronaut, confirmed that: "I am an explorer, not a discoverer."[25] Imperialism requires a certain amount of stubbornness, individuality and courage. The creation by Baden Powell, the Boers' Subjugator, of the boy-scout corps warranted for each new generation adopting the Jungle Law. The child exploring, path-finding, like Kim, became part of the Great Game.[26]

(Great) GAME. See EMPIRE.

The GARDEN stands as another variation of the Labyrinth-form. As Jorge Luis Borges pointed out, mazes are only dangerous if they do not have a centre, even though this centre contains the Minotaur. Centre-less structures harbour infinite Horror monsters, infinite enigmas. Burnett’s The Secret Garden warns against uncontrolled Nature growing and, in a parallel way to British rule overseas, suppressed Natives’ structures suspected of challenging the Centre's hegemony, as occurred in the Opium war. As an official Chinese Internet site puts it:

"In the north is a shop-lined street named after Suzhou, a commercial city near Shanghai. The marble boat on the edge of the lake has an ironic significance. The palaces and pavilions in the garden were burned down by the Anglo-French Allied Force in 1860. In 1888, empress Dowager Cixi had them rebuilt with large sums of money earmarked for expanding the Chinese navy. The marble boat was an addition under her reign. Yuan Ming Yuan, or the Old Summer Palace, before its destruction, was referred to as the Garden of Gardens, since it was a combination of gardens of different styles (. . . ) each consisting of smaller landscapes, 50 of them being imitations of gardens, some, for example, were copies of the 10 scenic spots at Hangzhou's West Lake with identical borrowed names. The best-known Western structures were a fountain, a maze and European palaces, all of Renaissance style. In a small lake was built a model of Venice. The emperors' apartments were adorned with art treasures of an astonishing richness. The garden was beautified by millions of exotic flowers and trees. Unfortunately, the garden was looted and burnt down by the Anglo-French Allied Force in 1860 and by the allied force of eight powers in 1900. A once wondrous garden was reduced to ruins. Visitors today can see a few blocks of stone and broken marble that once belonged to the European palaces constructed under Emperor Qianlong between 1740 and1747".[27]

Chinese gardening could not be spared because it permitted different map-codes to coexist. The Western masked narrator never ceased "to point at himself," to put it in a Barthesean phrase, and natives' revenge is exemplified in Borges's expedition to the "Jardín de los Senderos que se Bifurcan," where a Chinese-German spy kills an English Garden-Scholar as a part of a message written in a ciphering code for designating war-bombing objectives. French and British Gardening, though alike in a vertical domination of nature, differ greatly in their degree of rational exclusion of undomesticated elements. The Empire would not tolerate a non-marked writing.[28] It is true that English Gardens allow Blake’s Sick Rose, but "his dark secret love/ does thy life destroy," like de Quincey’s blooming and fading away.

(The) HORROR is the unbearable discovery that there never was a centre of the Labyrinth, that there never was an unique Minotaur, waiting for the Hero to solve the riddle, the Explorer realising that the enemy, the infinite number of eccentric/concentric mazes, awaited within himself:

The Malay had been a fearful enemy for months. I have been every night, through his means, transported into Asiatic scenes. I know not whether others share in my feelings on this point; but I have often thought that if I were compelled to forego England, and to live in China, and among Chinese manners and modes of life and scenery, I should go mad. The causes of my horror lie deep, and some of them must be common to others. Southern Asia, in general, is the seal of awful images and associations. As the cradle of the human race, it would alone have a dim and reverential feeling connected with it. (De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater 108)
Horror is the fading distance between Civilisation and Barbarians.

IN-LAND VOYAGES reflect, as "mirror within the mirror,"[29] the imperial attitude of reference and representation. Conversely they are used as field-work data to understand Overseas Natives.

LABYRINTH, the ‘map of maps,’ see GARDEN.

LION was yesteryear's most imperial trophy. Presidents of nations desiring to acquire Imperial Status, such as France or the United States, would make great efforts to obtain the skin-proof of any specimen killed. French Tartarin of Tarascon -- some scholars sustain his real identity was a certain Alphonse Daudet -- was sent to Algeria to undertake such a wondrous beau geste. The United States tainted the affair with a Kitsch touch -- in the sense understood by U. Eco, vanguard forms employed in the production of Mass-media texts --[30] and President Theodore Roosevelt went on Safari to Uganda, wrote a diary on his stay, and gave it for publication to several magazines.[31] In the same line, former president of the U.S. George Bush has recently protested against Botswana authorities’ intention to ban the Lion Chase.[32]

MAHDI, the Chosen, led a Caliban Insurrection against British rule in Sudan and Egypt. He is the mythical murderer of the legendary explorer Gordon. In recent times, the Mahdi figure has been successfully impersonated by figures such as Bin Laden, Col. Gadaffi, and Fidel Castro.

The MAP, like the Lama's in Kipling's boy-scout Kim’s travels, always leads to Nirvana. See Bounty.

MASONRY is another term for the Universal Project. As an esoteric practice it’s the hidden face of the Empire, which accounts for its principals being called the Invisible. So they are the Mighty and Magic Voices of the Sorcerers, able to turn sea-shells into dollars, in the "Island of Voices." Masonic laws and rites possess a clear analogic function: their breakage implied the punishment and expulsion from the Free-Masonic Territory, as tragically happened with the explorers Carnehan and Dravot who dared to create a Lodge without permission:

"It’s against the law," I says, "holding a Lodge without warrant from any one; and know we never held office in any Lodge."

"It’s a master stroke of policy," says Dravot. (Kipling, The Man Who Would Be King 265)

It is necessary to keep in mind the Construction images implied within the Masonic code. Order is indispensable to preserve the ever-growing Tower of the Empire, from becoming another Babel, the centre-less Labyrinth.


METROPOLIS: "When the place of publication was London, it is not noted, and where no town is given London is to be understood." (Mill, Catalogue vi)

MUTINY is the most drastic attempt to escape from the Map. It usually occurs in over-enclosed Territories -- a ship sailing in the South Seas, within a Masonic Lodge, etc. Contrarily to what Imperialism critics have claimed, mutinies do not have exclusively material causes. They grow from the hope of a Utopian Bounty. The famous Indian Mutiny was supposedly provoked by a rumor about the fat in the rifles and cannons coming from slaughtered pigs and cows (taboo meat for Muslims and Hindus, respectively).[33] These tragic events must induce us to reflection. The best prevention against rioting disorder derives from Discipline and exemplary behaviour of officials, local kings and Emperors. Queen Victoria may serve as a model.

(Going) NATIVE may lead to Horror, as in Kurtz’s case, and to the subsequent expulsion from the Map, as in the case of the Kafiristan Expedition. Nevertheless, used with moderation, native-disguise may render profitable out-comings. Dravot and Carnehan impersonated twice in order to be let into the Kafiristan King-less Kingdom: once as a mad dervish and his servant, second as pure Barbarians.

OPIUM provided a new means of transport to regions unexplored, to the unknown Orient. Tainted with esoterism, opium-eating rendered the traveller to the Homeric Land of the Lotus-eaters, to the myth of the wandering outsider:

Considering that, of such language as I possessed, the Greek, in point of longitude, came geographically nearest to an Oriental one. He worshipped me in a devout manner, and replied in what I suppose was Malay. (...)To him, as an Orientalist, I concluded that opium must be familiar. and the expression of his face convinced me that it was. Nevertheless, I was struck with some little consternation when I saw him suddenly raise his hand to his mouth, and (in the school-boy phrase) bolt the whole, divided into three pieces, at one mouthful. The quantity was enough to kill three dragoons and their horses, and I felt some alarm for the poor creature; but what could be done? I had given him the opium in compassion for his solitary life, on recollecting that, if he had travelled on foot from London, it must be nearly three weeks since he could have exchanged a thought with any human being. I could not think of violating the laws of hospitality by having him seized and drenched with an emetic, and thus frightening him into a notion that we were going to sacrifice him to some English idol. No; there was clearly no help for it. He took his leave, and for some days I felt anxious; but, as I never heard of any Malay being found dead, I became convinced that he was used to opium, and that I must have done him the service I designed, by giving him one night of respite from the pains of wandering. (De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater 92)
Though dissenters have long declaimed against the lethal consequences, they say, of Opium Trade, and the consequent helpless condition of the Natives, the naked truth is that no Malay (i.e. no oriental, including Chinese) was "found dead." This fact impels us to doubt those critics of the Victorian Campaign in China in favour of the Free-Market Trade, which in itself is a extremely generous attitude toward Otherness. Notice as well, the Barbarian Nature of the Malay native, which allows him to endure an overdose of this excellent Pharmakos against the Wandering Sickness.

(Little) PRINCESS, nowadays, is born out of the Map. It might be there, in a little planet, hardly recorded in astrologers’ sidereal charts, like Saint Exupéry’s friend, or in any of the blank spaces, provided only with a name, an empty metaphor to be filled with explorer’s wishes. Thus, it is not surprising that little princes became boy-scouts. Sara Crewe’s difficulties in retaining her noble condition back in the Metropolis are due to the essential difference between the Land of Progress and the Land of Desire, the latter being epitomised by her rescuer, the Indian Gentleman.

RIMBAUD represents the third extreme option when confronting the Mapping Anxiety. According to Barthes, the explorer may choose between different mechanisms: either to remain within the limits of a received Map, or to escape from it, and the most strict coherence of silence, like Orpheus condemned to the impossible task of ignoring Eurydice in order to save her.[34]

SAFARI has its etymological origin in the Arab term "safar," denoting ‘travel, trip, dusk and dawn.’ Thus, it might be said, according to Paul Bowles, that safari-men appeared in the dusk of the travellers' times, and in the dawn of the Tourist Age. The increasing domestication of the territories forced this variation of the hunter-theme, in order to preserve the Adventure-characteristic of travelling. Yet safari-men are finding Safari-territories increasingly domesticated. Lions are becoming scarce, a rare trophy, for safari is related also to the term "sifar," which means ‘embassy’, which, by definition, is a portion of the homeland inserted in a foreign territory: a national domain. The domestic results are unavoidable.

SAVAGES, see Natives and Barbarians.

TATTOOS within the mariner code express the number of nautical leagues travelled. Each centimetre cartographied provides the sailor, the seafarer, with a new trait on his autobiographical Topography. Each port provides a original print-proof trope for the wandering poet. However, skin writing has been considered traditionally in Medicine as self-mutilation. A self-devouring Literature, a clipper of spatial distance.

TELEGRAPH ROADS connected the heart of the Metropolis to the overseas territories. As it is shown in the expeditions "The Island of Voices" and the "Man who Would Be King," they are essential to Empire Masonic Foundations, for they are energy-cannons conforming the Mechanism network. Any Map, thence, is a telegraphic, ‘signifying at distance’ means of Metropolitan anthropography.

TERRITORY is, as Carlyle suggested, semantically sustained by the same Mechanism which relates Propriety to Property.

TOPOGRAPHY: the study of the topoi, that is, Traditional Literary Criticism.

(Lake) VICTORIA is situated between Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. One of the greatest geographical accidents in the world, she receives water supplies from an enormous basin of thousands of square kilometres. One of her multiple Explorers, Mr. Stephen Dedalus, called her "the harlot of yellow teeth," due possibly to her being considered the "major drug-dealer of the XIXth century." (It is a well-known fact that the smoking of Opium and other substances produces a characteristic tainting of the teeth.) As an Iron Maiden avant garde, she ordered the Opium War (1840-42) against Chinese obstinacy against Free Market Economy.[35] As an Adventure patron, she favoured both outer expeditions, and In-Land Voyages such as Thomas de Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium eater. Her portrait presided and guarded from above, "For it seems he had observed the place where Kalamake, the magician, kept his treasure, which was a lock-fast desk against the  parlour wall, under the print of Kamehameha the Fifth, and a  photograph of Queen Victoria with her crown" (Stevenson, "The Island of Voices").

The WORLD EXHIBITION, another illustrious Map, possessed a clear promotion purpose. Yet, it would not be fair to reduce its value to a mere technological tour de force. Anthropographic charts, though to a certain extent arbitrary -- they assigned different exhibition (i.e. figuration/ representation) space to unequal territories, and the centre, like fatherhood, remains as ever a question of faith -- are produced to represent the totality of the Universe. This royal and titanic struggle should not be point-less.


  1. Parallax stalks behind and goads them, the lancinating lightings of whose brow are scorpions. Elk and Yak, the bulls of Bashan and of Babylon, mammoth and mastodon, they come trooping to the sunken sea, Lacus Mortis, described by Joyce in Ulysses, p. 542. Back

  2. For a consistent and systematic criticism of the Imperial Encyclopaedic Project, see Said, Culture and Imperialism. Back

  3. First Man, after Hegel, in the sense used by Fukuyama in The End of History and the Last Man (147): "But Hegel’s ‘first man’ differs from the animals in a second and much more fundamental way. This man wants not only to be recognized by other men, but to be recognized as a man. And what constitutes man’s identity as man, the most fundamental and uniquely human characteristic, is man’s ability to risk his own life." Back

  4. Barthes, Writing Degree Zero, p. 16. Back

  5. Quoted in National Geographic Magazine, Spanish Edition, Vol.1, nº1, non-numerated page, October 1997. Back

  6. Barthes, Writing Degree Zero, pp. 29 and 48. Back

  7. Tusitala, ‘the story teller,’ was the name received by R. L. Stevenson in Hawaii. Back

  8. The reference is to Alejo Carpetier’s The Lost Steps. Back

  9. See Foucault’s Vigilar y Castigar. Back

  10. See the criticism displayed by, among many others, Said, Culture and Imperialism, Furtado, La Hegemonía de los USA en América Latina, and Galeano, Patas Arriba. La Escuela del Mundo al Revés. Back

  11. Conrad, Heart of Darkness, p. 103. Back

  12. El País, 28th April 2001, p. 43. Back

  13. Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text, p. 27. Back

  14. See Barrel, The Infection of T. de Quincey. Back

  15. See Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man. Back

  16. Fukuyama overcomes racial prejudices and defends the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For Prichard’s theories see Harris’ El Desarrollo de la Teoría Antropológica. Back

  17. See, for instance, Weber’s La Ética Protestante y el Espíritu del Capitalismo. Back

  18. Lévi-Strauss, Raza y Cultura, p. 42. Back

  19. National Geographic Magazine, Spanish edition, nº2, vol. 1, November 1997. Back

  20. Said, Culture and Imperialism, pp. 159-196. Back

  21. Joyce, Ulysses, p. 402: "He who had blown a considerable number of sepoys from the cannonmouth without flinching, could not now restrain his natural emotion." Back

  22. For Barthes, it means ‘Repression,’ Writing Degree Zero, p. 26. Back

  23. Mempo Giardinelli in Final de Viaje en Patagonia, p. 83. Back

  24. "but I am not an explorer. I am absolutely short of explorers. (...) The geographer is too much important to take a walk. He never abandons his office. There, he receives the explorers. He questions them, and takes notes from their memories. And if the memories of one of them seem interesting, the geographer orders an investigation about the explorer’s morals" (the translation is mine, Le Petit Prince, p. 46). Back

  25. National Geographic Magazine, Spanish edition, p. 44, nº2, Volume 2, February 1998. Neil Armstrong carried with him, together with the Starred-and-Barred, a National Geographic ensign in his travel to the Moon. Back

  26. See Said, Culture and Imperialism. Back

  27. Beijing Introduction -- Imperial Palaces &Gardens -- The West Hills of Many Royal Gardens: Back

  28. Barthes considers Chinese "as non-marked Writing" (Writing Degree Zero 34). Back

  29. Joyce, Ulysses, p. 540. Back

  30. For Kitsch and Mass-Media, see Eco’s Apocalípticos e integrados. Back

  31. There was a French translation of Roosevelt’s reports on "his African adventure," published in the magazine yearbook of 1909, Lectures pour Tous. Révue Universelle et Populaire Illustrée, published with the title "Mes Chasses dans l’Ouganda" by Hachette in Paris, pp. 3, 95, 197 and 385. Back

  32. El País, ibid. Back

  33. See Said, Culture and Imperialism. Back

  34. Barthes, Writing Degree Zero , pp. 75-76. Back

  35. Free Market Economy has received the denomination of the "Mechanism" equating Liberal Economy and Politics with Natural Sciences’ universal laws, according to such optimistic scholars as former member of the U.S. State Department Staff, Francis Fukuyama. See The End of History and the Last Man. Back

Works Cited

[N.B: I was not able to obtain any English copy of R. Kipiling’s Island Night’s Entertainments, other than the Spanish translation Noches en la Isla, by Anaya, Madrid, 1987. Quotes from this text are from the Gutenberg Project, Høgskolen i Vestfold : Vestfold Collge, 1999, in]

Abrams, M. H. The Mirror and the Lamp. Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition. New York: Norton 1958.

Barrel, J. The Infection of T. de Quincey: A Psychopathology of Imperialism. New Haven: Yale UP, 1991.

Barthes, Roland. The Pleasure of the Text. Oxford: Blackwell, 1990.

---. Writing Degree Zero. Elements of Semiology. Boston: Beacon Press, 1970.

Burnett, Frances Hodgson. A Little Princess. London: Penguin Popular Classics, 1995.

---. The Secret Garden. London: Penguin Popular Classics, 1995.

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. London: Penguin Popular Classics, 1994.

Chomsky, Noam, and Herman Edwards. Los guardianes de la Libertad: Propaganda, desinformación y consenso de los medios de comunicación de masas. Barcelona, Crítica, 1995.

De Quincey, Thomas. Confessions of an English Opium Eater. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1973.

Eco, Umberto. Apocalípticos e integrados. Barcelona: Lumen, 1997.

Foucault, Michel. Vigilar y castigar, nacimiento de la prisión.. Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI Argentina editores, 1989.

Fukuyama, Francis. The End of History and the Last Man. London: Penguin Books, 1992.

Furtado, Celso. La hegemonía de los USA y América Latina. Madrid: Edicusa, Editorial Cuadernos para el Diálogo, 1971.

Galeano, Eduardo. Patas arriba. La escuela del mundo al revés. Madrid: Siglo XXI de España, 1994.

---. Las venas abiertas de América Latina. Madrid: Siglo XXI de España, 1996.

Giardinelli, Mempo. Final de Novela en Patagonia. Barcelona: BSA. 2000.

Harris, Marvin. El desarrollo de la teoría antropológica. Historia de las teorías de la cultura. Madrid: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1978.

Joyce, James. Ulysses. London: Penguin Books, 1992.

Kipling, Rudyard. The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories. New York: Oxford UP, 1996.

Lanternari, Vittorio. The Religions of the Oppressed. A Study of Modern Messianic Cults. New York: Mentor Books, 1965.

Mill, Hugh Robert. Catalogue of the Library of the Royal Geographical Society. [London]: John Murray, 1895.

Puech, Henri-Charles, et al. Las religiones constituidas en Occidente y sus contracorrientes, II. Historia de las Religiones, 8. Madrid: Siglo XXI, 1987.

Said, Edward. Culture and Imperialism. New York: Vintage, 1993.

Saint Exupéry, Antoine. Le Petit Prince, Gallimard, (without date and place of printing).

Verdú, Vicente. El planeta americano. Barcelona: Anagrama, 1996.

Weber, Max. La ética protestante y el espíritu del Capitalismo. Madrid: Península, 1987.

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