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.
The search for an improving juvenileliterature demonstrates perhaps better than any other field the manner
in which the core ideology of imperialism solved the many problems which
had been identified during the nineteenth century. Anxieties about the
extension of literacy and the provision of a distinctively juvenileliterature, both in books and in periodicals, were resolved by the
aristocrats or nouveaux riches. Its values
were propagated through the influence of such people over the natural
history establishment in the museums and universities, through the
publication of large numbers of travelogues and memoirs, and in
paintings and engravings.
Juvenileliterature invariably represents the values,
aspirations or fantasy life of a contemporary elite. In the Victorian
, service and sacrifice which
epitomizes the popular cultural images of the military in the heyday of
the empire. 1
The affirmative attitude towards the heroism, romance and
adventure of empire that these memories imply was confirmed by
Shaw’s boyhood reading. He steeped himself in the juvenileliterature of his age. He revered G.A. Henty, but his particular love
was sea stories
Imperial history and the imperial idea have been examined almost entirely in a centrifugal manner, as the radiation of influences from Britain into its wider hinterland. This book explores the manifestations of the imperial idea, from the trappings of royalty through writers like G. A. Henty to the humble cigarette card. It uses popular imperialism as a focus for the examination of the theatre, the cinema, education, juvenile literature, imperial exhibitions, youth movements, and a variety of imperial propaganda bodies between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries. The most aggressive and innovative advertisers of the day were companies dependent on the imperial economic nexus, in tea, chocolate, soaps and oils, tobacco, meat extracts, shipping, and later rubber. Middle and upper-class attachment to the music hall developed out of its success among the working class. Radio conveyed a sense of the unity of Empire, at least in the public mind, such as the Edwardian imperial societies had found unattainable. After the Second World War the British Broadcasting Corporation (B.B.C.) continued to present a vision of a beneficent and regenerative Empire. The great exhibitions which from the 1880s came to be dominated by the imperial theme offer the most striking examples of both conscious and unconscious approaches to imperial propaganda. By the 1880s the new morality had come to be wedded to the late nineteenth-century world view and was suffused with the patriotic, racial, and militarist elements which together made up the new popular imperialism.
Imperial power, both formal and informal, and research in the natural sciences were closely dependent in the nineteenth century. This book examines a portion of the mass-produced juvenile literature, focusing on the cluster of ideas connected with Britain's role in the maintenance of order and the spread of civilization. It discusses the political economy of Western ecological systems, and the consequences of their extension to the colonial periphery, particularly in forms of forest conservation. Progress and consumerism were major constituents of the consensus that helped stabilise the late Victorian society, but consumerism only works if it can deliver the goods. From 1842 onwards, almost all major episodes of coordinated popular resistance to colonial rule in India were preceded by phases of vigorous resistance to colonial forest control. By the late 1840s, a limited number of professional positions were available for geologists in British imperial service, but imperial geology had a longer pedigree. Modern imperialism or 'municipal imperialism' offers a broader framework for understanding the origins, long duration and persistent support for overseas expansion which transcended the rise and fall of cabinets or international realignments in the 1800s. Although medical scientists began to discern and control the microbiological causes of tropical ills after the mid-nineteenth century, the claims for climatic causation did not undergo a corresponding decline. Arthur Pearson's Pearson's Magazine was patriotic, militaristic and devoted to royalty. The book explores how science emerged as an important feature of the development policies of the Colonial Office (CO) of the colonial empire.
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.
literature provided the means by which the middle-class mercantile
exploration-colonisation tradition, epitomised by Robinson Crusoe, was
reconciled with the chivalric aristo-military tradition revivified by
Scott. Juvenileliterature operates on the lower slopes of this
Parnassus of adventure, steeped in every aspect of imperialism. It
functions therefore not just as a mirror of the age but an active agency
The Arctic region has been the subject of much popular writing. This book considers nineteenth-century representations of the Arctic, and draws upon an extensive range of evidence that will allow the 'widest connections' to emerge from a 'cross-disciplinary analysis' using different methodologies and subject matter. It positions the Arctic alongside more thoroughly investigated theatres of Victorian enterprise. In the nineteenth century, most images were in the form of paintings, travel narratives, lectures given by the explorers themselves and photographs. The book explores key themes in Arctic images which impacted on subsequent representations through text, painting and photography. For much of the nineteenth century, national and regional geographical societies promoted exploration, and rewarded heroic endeavor. The book discusses images of the Arctic which originated in the activities of the geographical societies. The Times provided very low-key reporting of Arctic expeditions, as evidenced by its coverage of the missions of Sir John Franklin and James Clark Ross. However, the illustrated weekly became one of the main sources of popular representations of the Arctic. The book looks at the exhibitions of Arctic peoples, Arctic exploration and Arctic fauna in Britain. Late nineteenth-century exhibitions which featured the Arctic were essentially nostalgic in tone. The Golliwogg's Polar Adventures, published in 1900, drew on adult representations of the Arctic and will have confirmed and reinforced children's perceptions of the region. Text books, board games and novels helped to keep the subject alive among the young.
In that period an imperial nationalism, compounded of
monarchism, militarism, and Social Darwinism, through which the British
defined their own unique superiority vis-à-vis the rest of
the world, was projected by the new visual culture, by advertising, the
theatre, the cinema, broadcasting, the Churches, youth organisations,
ritual and ceremonial, the educational system, and juvenileliterature