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The political and aesthetic imagination of Edwardian imperialists

Some of the most compelling and enduring creative work of the late Victorian and Edwardian Era came from committed imperialists and conservatives. This book explores the relationship of the artists with conservatism and imperialism, movements that defy easy generalisations in 1899. It does so by examining the work of writers Rudyard Kipling, Joseph Conrad, Rider Haggard and John Buchan along with the composer Edward Elgar and the architect Herbert Baker. The book presents an analysis of their mutual infatuation with T. E. Lawrence, or Lawrence of Arabia, who represented all their dreams for the future British Empire. It also explores the reasons why Lawrence did not, could not, perform the role in which his elder admirers cast him, as creative artist and master statesman of British Empire. Haggard's intrusion into Sigmund Freud's dream world at a critical point in the development of psychoanalytic theory suggests a divergent approach to the novels of imperial adventure. Writing imaginative literature about India as an imperialist enabled Kipling to explore a whole universe of perverse and forbidden pleasures without blowing the top off the volcano. Elgar occupies a higher position in the world of classical music than anyone imagined even at the zenith of his popularity in the Edwardian era. John Buchan mixed art and politics to a greater extent than any British writer, especially with his 'The Loathly Opposite'. The real-life political counterparts of the imperial romance were Britain's experiments with indirect rule from Fiji and Zululand to Nigeria and Tanganyika.

Norman Etherington

At some time between July 1897 and September 1899, Sigmund Freud dreamed about H. Rider Haggard’s novels. Freud habitually summoned writers to his aid when interpreting dreams but rarely surprised them in his bedchamber. How did the author of King Solomon’s Mines get in? Freud himself insisted that nothing in dreams should be dismissed as trivial or fortuitous, so the

in Imperium of the soul
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Norman Etherington

biologically inescapable attributes of the human condition born of the age-old struggle for existence. One of that generation, Sigmund Freud, built a new model of the psyche and society on that premise. On his reckoning civilisation itself depended on the effective repression of the wild and potentially destructive impulses of the inner self. Others born about the same time saw parallels between the mission of

in Imperium of the soul
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Problems and approaches
Ronald Hyam

variation. Heterosexual coitus is in any society the most prevalent form of sexual relationship, but it is never the only type of activity. 23 The most performed act is automasturbation. Sexual function is deeply embedded biologically in human behaviour. As Freud put it: ‘children bring germs of sexual activity with them into the world’. Boys are sometimes born with an erection, and their genitals are

in Empire and sexuality
Shaping and remembering an imperial city, 1870–1911
David Atkinson, Denis Cosgrove, and Anna Notaro

In his 1930 essay ‘Civilisation and its discontents’, Sigmund Freud contrasted the human mind with the city of Rome. In the Eternal City, he wrote, the ‘remains of ancient Rome are found dovetailed into the jumble of a great metropolis which has grown up in the last few centuries since the Renaissance. This is the manner in which the past is preserved in [such] historical sites …’. 1 Unlike the human mind, which in Freud’s view almost inevitably functioned as a repository of multiple memories and

in Imperial cities
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The death- knell of the imperial romance and imperial rule
Norman Etherington

Curtis pledged to oppose at the end of King Solomon’s Mines and Allan Quatermain . It seemed for a time as though the psycho-social agenda of safeguarding civilisation through repression that the Edwardian conservative artists shared with Freud would succumb to the all-conquering forces of modernism with its counter project of embracing primitivism and lifting the lid on

in Imperium of the soul
Nora’s Lieux de Mémoire across an imperial world
Dominik Geppert and Frank Lorenz Müller

memory, since historical research into ‘memory’ has also flourished over the past decades. Questions of memory, it is true, have fascinated thinkers from Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud to Henri Bergson and Émile Durkheim for much of the last 150 years or so. Ever since Maurice Halbwachs published his pioneering work on Les cadres sociaux de la mémoire in 1925 and then tested his ideas in

in Sites of imperial memory
Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
Tim Youngs

is in it, all the past as well as all the future. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, valour, rage – who can tell? – but truth – truth stripped of its cloak of time.’ (pp. 37–8) That Freud should use a similar image when discussing the human mind in civilised society underlines the strength of

in Travellers in Africa
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Great white hope of the Edwardian imperial romancers
Norman Etherington

of it, and yet Hut 12 shows me the truth behind Freud. Sex is an integer in all of us, and the nearer nature we are, the more constantly, the more completely a product of that integer.’ 75 The identification of the inner self with the savage other that underpinned the imperial romance was hardly possible under the cold light of Freud’s revelations. Lawrence’s possibly imagined defilement by the

in Imperium of the soul
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Sins, psyche, sex
Justin D. Livingstone

: psychobiography. 33 Like debunking biography, psychobiography dates back to the early twentieth century, when Freud approached his life of Leonardo da Vinci, ‘not as an idealized Victorian exemplar’, as Nigel Hamilton puts it, ‘but as a psychological riddle ’. 34 While there was considerable resistance to Freud’s ‘colonization’ of life-writing, 35 psychobiography began to burgeon as authors sought to try to

in Livingstone’s ‘Lives’