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Heroes and Villains of the British Empire By Stephen Basdeo

Heroes and Villains of the British Empire

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A cultural history of heroes, adventurers, and explorers from the age when Britannia ruled the waves. A history of Victorian literature and the nineteenth-century publishing industry.

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Heroes and Villains of the British Empire Summary

Heroes and Villains of the British Empire: Their Lives and Legends by Stephen Basdeo

From the sixteenth until the twentieth century, British power and influence gradually expanded to cover one quarter of the world's surface. The common saying was that the sun never sets on the British Empire . What began as a largely entrepreneurial enterprise in the early modern period, with privately run joint stock trading companies such as the East India Company driving British commercial expansion, by the nineteenth century had become, especially after 1857, a state-run endeavour, supported by a powerful military and navy. By the Victorian era, Britannia really did rule the waves. _Heroes of the British Empire_ is the story of how British Empire builders such as Robert Clive, General Gordon, and Lord Roberts of Kandahar were represented and idealised in popular culture. The men who built the empire were often portrayed as possessing certain unique abilities which enabled them to serve their country in often inhospitable territories, and spread what imperial ideologues saw as the benefits of the British Empire to supposedly uncivilised peoples in far flung corners of the world. These qualities and abilities were athleticism, a sense of fair play, devotion to God, and a fervent sense of duty and loyalty to the nation and the empire. Through the example of these heroes, people in Britain, and children in particular, were encouraged to sign up and serve the empire or, in the words of Henry Newbolt, Play up! Play up! And Play the Game! Yet this was not the whole story: while some writers were paid up imperial propagandists, other writers in England detested the very idea of the British Empire. And in the twentieth century, those who were once considered as heroic military men were condemned as racist rulers and exploitative empire builders.

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About Stephen Basdeo

Dr Stephen Basdeo is a cultural historian who has written several books for Pen and Sword on the mythology surrounding various heroes from the medieval period to the nineteenth century. He is currently a lecturer at the Leeds campus of Richmond: The American International University.

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Heroes and Villains of the British Empire: Their Lives and Legends by Stephen Basdeo
Stephen Basdeo
Used - Very Good
Pen & Sword Books Ltd
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.