Kathryn Castle
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Imperial legacies, new frontiers
Children’s popular literature and the demise of empire
in British culture and the end of empire
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Enough scholarly attention has been paid to children's literature to establish that it played an important role in transmitting the imperial ethos to generations of children from the 1890s through the inter-war period. The popular press had been in the process of modernisation well before the end of the Second World War. Fiction set in the pre-war period which involved the travel of young Britons into the colonial world had often shown conflict between progress and the primitive. Magazines and annuals in the post-war period claimed the legacy of empire while they redirected youth to new frontiers. The introduction of a mechanical adventure hero who possesses selected characteristics of the imperial character is an interesting aspect of changing dynamics in the colonial world. In post-war Britain as the Empire contracted there was great concern over the economic state of the nation and its relegation to a second-rate power.

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