Although the connections between colonialism and British nineteenth-century literature have been well studied, there have been few sustained, book-length attempts to map out the role of colonial experience in French realist novels of the century. The Colonial Comedy offers a broad view of the subject, but one that is carefully grounded in close reading and informed by consultation of authors' manuscripts. Linking materialist cultural analysis to the
specific traits of the realist novel, it exposes the importance of imported objects, financial networks and the new urban working classes in fiction's response to early global capitalism. Bridging the gap between
Postcolonial theory and nineteenth-century literary studies, Ihe Colonial Comedy renews our vision of key authors of realist canon (Balzac, Flaubert, Zola and Maupassant). It makes an original contribution to theoretical debates on literary realism, including recent arguments within postcolonial theory concerning 'Peripheral Realisms'. Situating the nineteenth-century canon in terms of postcolonial debates, it responds to Edward Said and more recent views of world-literature as part
of the emerging world-system.