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The imperial idea in some modern fiction: aspects of the treatment of imperialism in selected literature between 1888 and 1939.

Moore-Gilbert, B. J. (1979) The imperial idea in some modern fiction: aspects of the treatment of imperialism in selected literature between 1888 and 1939. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The purpose of this thesis is to examine certain aspects of selected authors' responses to the phenomenon of Imperialism within the period 1888 to 1939. Chapter One argues that the writers' responses should not be considered as an escape from the cultural anxieties of Britain, but rather that the exotic context they assume is used as a vehicle through which to discuss many of those anxieties. It suggests, therefore, that there exists in their writing a self-conscious reference to the larger literary culture of the day, even when the focus is apparently wholly upon the practical manifestations of the Imperial ideology. Chapter Two analyses the attitudes of the selected writers towards Christianity in the Empire, arguing that the skepticism over the role of the missionary is symptomatic of a wider doubt concerning the authenticity of the traditional faith, which is increasingly operative from the l850's onwards. The next chapter proceeds to examine these authors' responses towards the presence of commercial interests in the Empire, suggesting, in a similar way to Chapter Two, that the mistrust with which they view such interests may be related to the larger ambivalence towards industrialism and material progress which is expressed in the literary culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Chapter Three concentrates in depth upon Kipling, a writer who, despite the findings of a considerable degree of recent scholarship, continues to be seen, even, or perhaps especially, by the educated mind, as an vulgarly jingoistic propagandist. The interpretation concentrates upon the element of deep disillusion and defensiveness in his Indian stories and upon the metaphorical nature of his general construct. The conclusion discusses the work of Joyce Cary, in whom may be seen the final demise of the Imperial ideology.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1979
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:41

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