The death- knell of the imperial romance and imperial rule
in Imperium of the soul
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The real-life political counterparts of the imperial romance were Britain's experiments with indirect rule from Fiji and Zululand in the 1880s to Nigeria and Tanganyika in the early twentieth century. Taking a wider view, Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka came to see the Edwardian romancers as intellectually linked to Renaissance authors such as Hakluyt and to the ancient Greek traveller Herodotus. Contemporary American composer John Williams has shown his ability to whip off an imperial march fit to stand alongside the best of them, but without serious political ideological purpose. Though the work of the imperial romancers has not lost its power to move and charm, the particular confluence of politics, science and aesthetics that brought it into being is gone, never to return.

Imperium of the soul

The political and aesthetic imagination of Edwardian imperialists


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