Of England, Home, and duty
The image of England in Victorian and Edwardian juvenile fiction
in Imperialism and Popular Culture
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This chapter explains that the southern metaphor, the image of England, was, at least in children's books, an essential part of Green's 'energising myth'. It focuses on the fiction for the young over many decades a powerful and multi-faceted presentation of Englishness, as a moral and ethical baseline, and therefore a starting point for the justification of the Empire. For the imperialist writer, the extension of this Englishness overseas is a cogent reason for colonial expansion. The chapter also focuses on Victorian and Edwardian fiction, while readers enjoy exotic adventure stories set in distant corners of the Empire. The creation of English images includes both the land and the people, and both are placed within an historical context. If the conquests of England by various imperialist powers were impossible to explain satisfactorily to the young in a few simple sentences, they were nevertheless potential vehicles for the lessons of imperialism.


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