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Popular culture is invariably a vehicle for the dominant ideas of its age. Never was this truer than in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when it reflected the nationalist and imperialist ideologies current throughout Europe. It both reflects popular attitudes, ideas and preconceptions and it generates support for selected views and opinions. This book examines the various media through which nationalist ideas were conveyed in late-Victorian and Edwardian times: in the theatre, "ethnic" shows, juvenile literature, education and the iconography of popular art. It seeks to examine in detail the articulation and diffusion of imperialism in the field of juvenile literature by stressing its pervasiveness across boundaries of class, nation and gender. It analyses the production, distribution and marketing of imperially-charged juvenile fiction, stressing the significance of the Victorians' discovery of adolescence, technological advance and educational reforms as the context of the great expansion of such literature. An overview of the phenomenon of Robinson Crusoe follows, tracing the process of its transformation into a classic text of imperialism and imperial masculinity for boys. The imperial commitment took to the air in the form of the heroic airmen of inter-war fiction. The book highlights that athleticism, imperialism and militarism become enmeshed at the public schools. It also explores the promotion of imperialism and imperialist role models in fiction for girls, particularly Girl Guide stories.

Britain 1876–1953

Music played a major role in the life of a global ideological phenomenon like the British Empire. This book demonstrates that music has to be recognised as one of the central characteristics of the cultural imperialism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It begins with an account of the imperial music of Sir Edward Elgar and Sir Arthur Sullivan and the establishing of an imperial musical idiom. The book discusses the music composed for or utilized by official occasions: coronations, jubilees, exhibitions, tattoos, Armistice Day and Empire Day. Community singing was also introduced at the Aldershot Military Tattoo in 1927, sponsored by the Daily Express. The book examines the imperial content of a range of musical forms: operetta and ballet, films, music hall songs, ballads, hymns and marches. In one of the scenes depicting ballet, Indian dancing girls are ordered to reveal the riches of the land and the Ballet of Jewels. There were two staples of song in the second half of the nineteenth century: the drawing-room ballad and the music-hall song. Sir Henry Coward was Britain's leading chorus-master, and his 1911 musical world tour with Sheffield choir was the high point of his career. The book concludes with a discussion of practitioners of imperial music: the divas Emma Albani, Nellie Melba and Clara Butt, and the baritone Peter Dawson.

The importance of films in the cultural and social life of both Britain and the United States has long been recognized. Although radio survived in Britain more or less intact, by 1960 it too had taken second place to television as the prime domestic medium. This book begins by analysing the very different relationships between cinema and radio that emerged in Britain and the United States. It moves on to examine the ways in which cinema adapted radio programmes in the fields of comedy and detective fiction and then how radio dramatized films. When radio first took off in the United States in the late 1920s, it was regarded by the film industry as a rival, something to keep people at home and away from the cinema. But during the 1930s, Hollywood began to appreciate the value of radio in publicizing and promoting its films. The British broadcasting service was set up in 1922 with a monopoly and finance from a licence fee following negotiations between the Post Office, which controlled the air waves, and the radio industry, which manufactured the equipment. Radio in wartime was informational and inspirational. It provided news, entertainment, and propaganda. The book concludes with a look in detail at the ways in which the two media have dealt with three popular fictional characters, the Scarlet Pimpernel, Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes.

Jeffrey Richards

The imperial dimension is a vital element in the construction and evaluation of the Irish character. In cinematic terms, the image of Ireland has been largely in the hands of the British and American film industries. For Ireland experienced on an even greater scale the problems Britain faced in seeking to establish a native film industry: chronic under-investment, technical backwardness and the overwhelming dominance world-wide of Hollywood. Sheridan Gilley argues that the principal opposition to the Irish was due to a view of their nationalism as narrow and parochial against the supranationalism of the British Empire. There has been cultural continuity between the Ireland projected in the stage melodramas, popular ballads and novels, and the Ireland of the cinema. The British cinema's equivalent of Ford as a director returning regularly to Irish themes is Brian Desmond Hurst.

in ‘An Irish Empire’?
Jeffrey Richards

Africa was the principal area of imperial expansion and activity in the latter part of the nineteenth century and provides an opportunity to examine G. A Henty's attitudes in particular to war, race and class. Sir John Harvey-Jones, chairman of ICI, attributed his world-view to his boyhood reading of Henty. Henty distilled for his young readers the approved doctrines and dogmas of his age, a fact noted and applauded in the contemporary press. But he also highlighted some of the contradictions and conflicts of attitude in British society, and that makes him doubly interesting to historians. Henty wrote six novels set in Africa, two were set in North Africa: The Dash for Khartoum and With Kitchener in the Soudan. One novel was set in West Africa: By Sheer Pluck. Three were set in South Africa: The Young Colonists, With Buller in Natal and With Roberts to Pretoria.

in Imperialism and juvenile literature
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Jeffrey Richards

Popular fiction is one of the ways by which society instructs its members in its prevailing ideas and mores, its dominant role models and legitimate aspirations. From the middle of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth imperialism was the dominant national ideology, transcending class and party divisions. Juvenile literature operates on the lower slopes of the Parnassus of adventure, steeped in every aspect of imperialism. Juvenile literature functions as an active agency constructing and perpetuating a view of the world in which British imperialism was an integral part of the cultural and psychological formation of each new generation of readers. The work of both G. A. Henty and R. M. Ballantyne appeared regularly in boys' papers and John Springhall looks at the hitherto neglected subject of Alfred Harmsworth's half penny papers in promoting imperialism.

in Imperialism and juvenile literature
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Feature films and imperialism in the 1930s
Jeffrey Richards

By the 1930s, the image of British Empire was already established, hallowed by the popular imperial melodramas of the Victorian theatre, by the paintings of Lady Butler and the heroic engravings of the war artists. This chapter looks at the British and American epics separately in the context of their respective cultures. In the case of Britain, there were some half a dozen films actually set in and dealing with the Empire, as opposed to films detailing imperial attitudes, of which there were considerably more. The Balcon trilogy is interesting because it deals essentially with economic aspects of Empire. This is worth noting because we sometimes get the impression, due to the overwhelming military emphasis of the Hollywood imperial epics that imperial films are about India, the Army and specifically the scarlet and gold heroics of the North-West Frontier.

in Imperialism and Popular Culture
Jeffrey Richards

The dominance of soldier heroes and army subjects in popular culture in the last decades of the nineteenth century represented a distinct change of emphasis and accompanied a change in the nature of imperialism. In mid-nineteenth century 'free-trade imperialism' was dominant, the concept of a commercial and maritime empire with minimum territorial responsibilities and maximum profit. A new generation of boys' writers, notably Percy F. Westerman, George E. Rochester and Captain W. E. Johns promoted the air hero in juvenile literature. Hitherto juvenile literature had been dominated by the heroic image of the navy, the force that was an essential element in the mid-Victorian empire, with its commercial and maritime emphasis. G.A. Henty made clear his admiration for the imperial British army in the preface to Through Three Campaigns, which dramatised the relief of Chitral, the Tirah campaign and the relief of Coomassie.

in Popular imperialism and the military 1850–1950
Films and the end of empire
Jeffrey Richards

Director David Lean explored the nature of Britain's last imperial hero in Lawrence of Arabia, scripted by Robert Bolt. The clash of archetypes surfaced in one of the key 1960s films of empire, Zulu. The 1930s had seen a flourishing genre of imperial films produced both in Britain and in Hollywood. The outbreak of the Second World War put an end to the 1930s cycle of imperial films. By the 1960s, mass cinema closures in Britain and a general decline in cinema-going meant that Britain was no longer the lucrative market it had once been for American films. The onset of the Cold War meant that for Hollywood, subject to the McCarthy purge and anxious to demonstrate its anti-Communist credentials, nineteenth-century British India provided a useful warning lesson about the dangers of Russian infiltration.

in British culture and the end of empire
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Empire and music
Jeffrey Richards

In view of the ubiquity of imperialism in fiction, painting, poetry and theatre, it would seem intrinsically likely that it has left its traces in music. Research indicates that there was a veritable ocean of imperial music from the classical to the popular during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, most of it now forgotten. The nineteenth century was the century of musical nationalism, when countries like Russia, Hungary, Bohemia, Norway and Poland each developed a musical style that was seen to reflect the national identity. In Britain there began to be insistent calls for the promotion of English national music. Typically an editorial in The Musical Times set out the case for nationalism in music. George Grove and his campaign promote English music and the notion of 'Englishness in music' which launched the English Musical Renaissance.

in Imperialism and music