Edwardian politics and poetics
My counsailo[u]rs with suche other necessarie p[e]rsons [that] attend vppon me that
daie [St Stephens?] must also be consydered / There maie be no fewer then sixe
counsailo[u]rs at the least / I must also have a divine a philosopher an astronom[e]r
a poet a phisician / a potecarie / a Mr of request[es] / a sivilian / a disard / two gentlemen ushers besides Juglers / tomblers / fooles / friers and suche other … (Letter
from the lord of misrule [George Ferrers] regarding arrangements for the Christmas
Responding to the Edwardian crisis
One dreary day, whilst eating dinner, the Perring family had an unexpected
guest. Ignoring the unfinished meal, wailing babies and the piles of
washing around the room, Mrs Balkwill swept into the Perrings’ humble
home, dressed in silk petticoats and trailed by her maid. Exchanging the
briefest of pleasantries, the well-to-do lady canvasser showed undue haste
in wishing to put Mr Perring down as a vote for her side, evidently keen
to quit the house for more salubrious surroundings. When questioned,
-to-back houses and an area unfit for habitation. Today, very few traces of the Jewishness of the area remain for anyone to see; it is an industrial area and Jewish life has moved on to the northern suburbs. 2 In the Edwardian era, Jews lived in the Leylands, but as the community expanded – due to continued immigration from Russia and Poland and natural growth – Jewish families moved out and into better areas.
The Camp Road area, which was demolished with the building of the Sheepscar interchange in the 1960s, was a secondary area of Jewish
In an age of Imperial confidence, the social rhetoric of Victorian Britain frequently manifested a perceptible unease when considering cultural problems within the home nation. The imagery of ‘darkest England’, dependant as it was upon a powerful colonialist discourse, authorised and transmitted a register of language whereby an internal Other might be configured as uncivilised, and thus capable of being subject to the explorer and the missionary. Much, of course, has already been written upon the Gothic possibilities of this phenomena which characterised an Imperial age which allegedly declined with the nineteenth century. No similar consideration, however, has yet been made of its continuation into the twentieth century, a progressively post-colonial era in which the Imperial (or Imperialised) Other, in consequence, functions differently. This article considers two Gothic short stories, one in a reprinted Edwardian collection, the other a component of an original collection, both of which were issued in volume form in the late 1940s. The two narratives examine classic ‘cultures-within-cultures’, pockets of resistance within the fabric of the Imperial nation, though in a cultural context radically different from their Victorian predecessors. Algernon Blackwood‘s ‘Ancient Sorceries’ (1908), published in the 1947 reprint of his John Silence, and L.T.C. Rolt‘s ‘Cwm Garon’ published in Sleep No More (1948) share a preoccupation with the casual, localised, travelling which has replaced Imperial adventure, and with the decline of identifiable Christian institutions and landmarks themselves the products of earlier missionary activity in a familiar, though threatening, European landscape. In both short stories a form of devil worship is enacted before the eyes of the traveller, and in a landscape which fascinates and somehow holds him. In ‘Ancient Sorceries’, where the Devil does attend the bacchanal, the protagonist is almost seduced into willing participation but, on evading the sexual lure of the sabbat, vows never to return. Rolt, writing after the recent horrors of the Second World War, discards the presiding Devil in favour of a mortal substitute, but still leaves open the possibility that, in Kilvert‘s words, ‘an angel satyr walks these hills’. Neither welcomed nor seduced by the satanic community, Rolts protagonist finds himself fascinated by the land, and thus drawn into unwilling participation. In colonial terms, these two narratives explore the frequently rehearsed dangers of ‘going native’ that lie at the core of, among other works, Kipling‘s ‘The Mark of the Beast’, Rider Haggard‘s She and Conrad‘s Heart of Darkness. A subject people is identified, but their strength either supernatural or merely cultural, the ability to preserve a distinctive and resistant way of life tests the limits of the perceiving power. These are, in a sense, Imperial fantasies for a post-colonial world, a reflexing of colonised culture back in upon the formerly colonising nation.
On census night, 2 April 1911, Asquith's Liberal government, which still denied women the vote, ordered every household to comply with its census requirements. So suffragette organizations urged women, all still unenfranchised, to boycott this census. Many did. Some inscribed their census schedules with the words ‘No Vote, No Census’. Others evaded the enumerator by sheltering in darkened houses ~ or, in the case of Emily Wilding Davison, by hiding inside a cupboard within the Houses of Parliament. Yet many decided against boycotting. Even some suffragettes, who might have been expected to rebel, decided to comply with the census ~ and handed over a perfectly accurate schedule. Why? The book investigates the ‘battle for the census’ arguments that raged across Edwardian England in spring 1911. It explores why many committed campaigners decided this act of civil disobedience would be highly effective propaganda; and why many others decided to prioritize providing the government with accurate census data for its health and welfare reforms, rather than ‘Votes for Women’. This book is based upon a wealth of brand new documentary sources, which can be read in the participants’ own hand. Interrogating this dramatic new evidence, the book sheds crucial new light on the turbulent world of Edwardian politics. It includes a substantial Gazetteer of 500 campaigners’ census schedules, compiled jointly with Elizabeth Crawford.
This book studies a distinctive brand of women's rights that emerged out of the Victorian Secularist movement, and looks at the lives and work of a number of female activists, whose renunciation of religion shaped their struggle for emancipation. Anti-religious or secular ideas were fundamental to the development of feminist thought, but have, until now, been almost entirely passed over in the historiography of the Victorian and Edwardian women's movement. In uncovering an important tradition of freethinking feminism, the book reveals an ongoing radical and free love current connecting Owenite feminism with the more ‘respectable’ post-1850 women's movement and the ‘New Women’ of the early twentieth century.
This book analyses the development of male leisure against the changing notions of citizenship which underpinned perceptions of British society during the period 1850-1945. It opens with an examination of the 'leisure' problem of the middle decades of the nineteenth century. After the defeat of Chartism and associated challenges to the employers' right to organise the workplace, factory owners, the clergy and philanthropists established schemes of rational recreation designed to attract and educate working-class males. The book explores how schemes of rational recreation attempted to create the model citizen and the impact of these strategies on male working-class leisure. Taking three influential leisure activities - drink, the music hall and association football - the book explores their impact on both concepts of citizenship and male leisure patterns. In addition, commercial leisure also highlighted the marked gender divides in leisure activities found within working-class households. The book investigates the generational issues that shaped male working-class leisure. The increase in non-apprenticed semi-skilled work, particularly in the 'new' industry regions, raised fears that monotonous working practices and new leisure activities were a dangerous social cocktail. Moreover the book investigates how, during the late Victorian and early Edwardian era, the problem of a 'degenerate' youth became entwined with anxieties over the future of empire. It further contextualises male leisure against the dominant concerns between 1918 and 1945. This era saw the suburbanisation of British cities, continued anxieties over male citizenry and increased international tensions that led to war.
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.
Popular culture is invariably a vehicle for the dominant ideas of its age. Never was this more true than in the late-19th and early 20th centuries, when it reflected the nationalist and imperialist ideologies current throughout Europe. 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. Nineteenth-century music hall was known as the 'fount of patriotism'. A heroic and romantic vision of Empire helped to widen the appeal of British imperialism, which newspaper and magazine editors insisted on communicating to the new mass reading public. Juvenile fiction included Victorian children's books, and very few seemed deliberately anti-imperialist. The book offers a bridge between the pre-1914 period and the interwar years and between the public school and state school systems. It discusses the case of Peter Lobengula as a focus for racial attributes in late Victorian and Edwardian times. The imperial economic vision lay ready to hand for the publicists and public relations men who saw the Empire Marketing Board as one of the great opportunities in the inter-war years to develop their craft. The book also argues that whereas the Scout movement was created in the atmosphere of defensive Empire in the Edwardian period, Scouting ideology underwent a significant change in the post-war years. Girl Guides remind us that the role of girls and women in youth organisations and imperial ideologies has been too little studied.
The later nineteenth century was a time of regulation and codification, which was part of the Victorian search for reliability and respectability. This book examines the intersection between empire, navy, and manhood in British society from 1870 to 1918. It sheds light upon social and cultural constructions of working-class rather than elite masculinities by focusing on portrayals of non-commissioned naval men, the 'lower deck', rather than naval officers. Through an analysis of sources that include courts-martial cases, sailors' own writings, and the HMS Pinafore, the book charts new depictions of naval manhood during the Age of Empire. It was a period of radical transformation of the navy, intensification of imperial competition, democratisation of British society, and advent of mass culture. The book argues that popular representations of naval men increasingly reflected and informed imperial masculine ideals in Victorian and Edwardian Britain. It explains how imperial challenges, technological changes and domestic pressures transformed the navy and naval service from the wake of the Crimean War to the First World War. How female-run naval philanthropic organisations domesticated the reputation of naval men by refashioning the imagery of the drunken debauched sailor through temperance and evangelical campaigns is explained. The naval temperance movement was not singular in revealing the clear class dimensions in the portrayal of naval manhood. The book unveils how the British Bluejacket as both patriotic defender and dutiful husband and father stood in sharp contrast to the stereotypic image of the brave but bawdy tar of the Georgian navy.