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 first collection of its kind, Chartist Drama makes available four plays written or performed by members of the Chartist movement of the 1840s. Emerging from the lively counter-culture of this protest campaign for democratic rights, these plays challenged cultural as well as political hierarchies by adapting such recognisable genres as melodrama, history plays, and tragedy for performance in radically new settings. A communal, public, and embodied art form, drama was linked for the Chartists with other kinds of political performance: the oratory of the mass platform, festival-like outdoor meetings, and the elaborate street theatre of protest marches. Plays that Chartists wrote or staged advanced new interpretations of British history and criticised aspects of the contemporary world. And Chartist drama intervened in fierce strategic arguments within the movement. Most notably, poet-activist John Watkins’s John Frost, which dramatises the gripping events of the Newport rising of 1839, in which twenty-two Chartists lost their lives, defends the rebellion and the Chartist recourse to violence as a means for the movement to achieve its aims. The volume’s appendices document over one hundred Chartist dramatic performances, staged by activists in local Chartist associations or at professional benefits at some of London’s largest working-class theatres. Gregory Vargo’s introduction and notes elucidate the previously unexplored world of Chartist dramatic culture, a context that promises to reshape what we know about early Victorian popular politics and theatre.
conservative industry, made nervous by the uncertainties of the years of
the Napoleonic wars, and haunted by the bankruptcy in 1826 of Constable
& Ballantyne, an innovative firm with an early vision of a massreadingpublic, which collapsed despite owning valuable copyrights to Walter
Scott’s works, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and the Edinburgh Review.11
Notwithstanding the Constable failure, publishers persisted with efforts
to expand their market by means of six-shilling novels in library series.
Richard Altick summarises their intentions: ‘Between 1827 and 1832
These, then, are the views of those working in the publishing trade regarding
public taste. To further understand the trade’s attitudes towards working-class
taste we shall turn to that most popular of locations from which the massreadingpublic chose to borrow fiction – the twopenny library – and examine
The Publishers’ Circular’s stance towards it. What did the paper have to say
about the working classes’ favourite book-borrowing haunts?
As can be expected, The Publishers’ Circular’s opinion of twopenny libraries
was far from favourable. In fact, time and again
the context of a heroic and romantic vision
of Empire which helped to widen the appeal of British imperialism and
which newspaper and magazine editors, often contrary to the wishes of
the artists themselves, insisted on communicating to the new massreadingpublic. 2
‘You’re sent out when a war begins, to minister
to the blind, brutal, British public’s bestial thirst for
into entertaining fiction, so Marsh is at the same time invested in seducing and
alluring his reader with a sensational, suspenseful, episodic narrative in
which the truth is repeatedly deferred. We can identify certain traits in
Marsh’s writing, by which Marsh attempted to distinguish his work from
others who merely sought to sensationalise and intoxicate the massreadingpublic. Indeed we might emphasise Marsh’s attempts to produce his
own ingenious aesthetic in competition with the ‘ingenious contrivance’,
which merely resembled a modern, mass-produced pen. Marsh
’, Modern Language Quarterly, 60:2 (1999),
162. See also Margarette Lincoln, Representing the Royal Navy: British Sea
Power, 1750–1815 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002), especially p. 6.
7 Richard Altick, The English Common Reader: A Social History of the MassReadingPublic, 1800–1900 (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press,
1998), p. 318.
v 188 v
Naval heroism in the mid-Victorian family magazine
8 ‘Popular Literature – the Periodical Press’, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine,
January 1859, pp. 100–1.
9 ‘Some Account of the Royal Navy of Great Britain’, Saturday
.H. Shorter, Paper Making in the British Isles (Newton Abbot: David and
Charles, 1971), pp. 113–16, 139–46; R.D. Altick, The English Common Reader: A
Social History of the MassReadingPublic, 1800–1900 (2nd edn, Columbus, OH:
Ohio State University Press, 1998), pp. 354–6; L. Brown, Victorian News and
Newspapers (Oxford: Clarendon, 1985), pp. 4–24; A. Lee, The Origins of the Popular
Press in England, 1855–1914 (London: Croom Helm, 1976), pp. 46–9, 67–72, 85–91.
43 G. Beegan, The Mass Image: A Social History of Photomechanical Reproduction in
Victorian London (Basingstoke
.), Newspaper History ; From the
Seventeenth Century to the Present Day , London, 1978, pp
41–50; Francis Williams, Dangerous Estate: The Anatomy of
Newspapers , London, 1957; H. J. Perkin, ‘The origins
of the popular press’, History Today , VII, 1957, pp.
425–35: Richard D. Altick, The English Common Reader: A
Social History of the MassReadingPublic 1800
Empire and the Italian state’s pursuit of legitimacy, 1871–1945
See the pioneering R. Altick, The Common
Reader: A Social History of the MassReadingPublic,
1800–1900 (Chicago 1957).
L’Ultima battaglia d’Africa
(Fiorenzuola d’Arda 1901).
All these titles are