Victorian Writers and the Image of Empire

Victorian Writers and the Image of Empire : The Rose-Colored Vision

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Writers of imperial fiction in the period 1840-1914 created a strong image of the British Empire that was often confused with the empire as it actually existed. Even in the 1940s, many people in Britain and the British Dominions still accepted the stereotypical view that the British Empire was a highly moral creation. This book studies the literature of imperialism in the Victorian and Edwardian periods to show how this image of empire was created and how it developed such strength. The volume concentrates on the works of major writers of imperialism, such as Rudyard Kipling, H. Rider Haggard, John Buchan, and G. A. Henty, but also looks extensively at the writings of less familiar figures, such as Robert Ballantyne and W.H.G. Kingston.



Many of the texts produced by these writers were books for boys, and they were very popular. They were often given as gifts and were awarded as prizes in schools. The books created a portrait of the British Empire as a place for settlement, the finding of treasure, the strengthening of religious beliefs and moral training, and the operation of codes of behavior for gentlemen. They emphasized courage and the willingness to face death in the service of Britain, and they suggested that the qualities of good citizens were the same as those of good imperialists. This was a comforting and influential concept during a period of imperial acquisition.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 216 pages
  • 162.05 x 242.82 x 22.1mm | 548.85g
  • Praeger Publishers Inc
  • Westport, United States
  • English
  • 031331778X
  • 9780313317781

Table of contents

Preface The Dreamweavers: An Empire of the Imagination World Pictures: Travellers and Explorers World Pictures: The Fiction Writers John Buchan and the Imperial Colloquium Settling the Ends of the Earth All That Glitters: Just Rewards Humanity's Burden Christianity, Faith, and the Imperial Adventure Facing Death Heroes and Imperialists Conclusion: The Rose-Colored Vision Imperial Postscript Index
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Review quote

..."Kitzan has drawn on memory and deployed his considerable scholarship to assess the allure of imperially-minded literature. In this perceptive, well-researched, gracefully-written book, he explains why the images were so compelling and why they lingered on after the Empire was over."-Canadian Journal of History ?...Kitzan has drawn on memory and deployed his considerable scholarship to assess the allure of imperially-minded literature. In this perceptive, well-researched, gracefully-written book, he explains why the images were so compelling and why they lingered on after the Empire was over.?-Canadian Journal of History .,."Kitzan has drawn on memory and deployed his considerable scholarship to assess the allure of imperially-minded literature. In this perceptive, well-researched, gracefully-written book, he explains why the images were so compelling and why they lingered on after the Empire was over."-Canadian Journal of History
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About Laurence Kitzan

LAURENCE KITZAN is an Associate Professor in the Department of History, University of Saskatchewan, where he lectures on British and British Imperial History. He has published in the area of Christian missions to India and China and on the First Burmese War.
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