Kipling and John Bull, Westminster Gazette, 30 July 1900
17-18 April 2020
City, University of London
Supported by the Kipling Society
Returning to the imperial metropolis as a young writer recently graduated from his apprenticeship on Indian newspapers, Rudyard Kipling began to consolidate his literary career in London as a late Victorian man of letters. As he wrote his verses and stories, he did so ‘with a daily paper under my right elbow’, wielding this symbol of journalism as a talisman of his writerly authority. And understandably so; Kipling owed much to his years on the Lahore Civil and Military Gazette and the Allahabad Pioneer, where he had documented the daily routines, social stratifications, and political tensions of colonial India under the rule of the Raj. His experience as a journalist and colonial correspondent honed his distinctive, concise prose style, and it is this pithiness that accounts for his enduring legacy in the twenty-first century as a writer often in support of – but also sometimes critical of – first British and then US Empires. Continue reading
Sprays of laurel and oak leaves surround the head of Edward VII, king and emperor, looking so wise and benign in this finely sculptured likeness created, not as one might expect by an artist from the British Empire, but by an Austrian, Emil Fuchs. Here at the highest level, and yet at the most mundane, is an emblem of nationhood, proclaiming a country that – superficially at least – sees itself as cultured, unshakably monarchist, and ultimately pacific. Continue reading
Described as a ‘powerful and interactive collection of primary source documents, sourced from leading archives around the world’, Empire Online is certainly one of the leading online resources for anyone studying the British Empire from 1492 to the present day. Though the site covers a vast period, there are a host of documents relating to the Edwardian era, including images of the Boer War, articles on immigration, an Indian woman’s impressions of England in 1900, issues of ‘Girl’s Empire’, and Tales of Adventures from the Heart of Australia. The website also contains essays by leading scholars, an interactive map, and a detailed chronology. Well worth investigating!
‘Other people may see this country in other terms; this is how I have seen it. In some early chapter in this heap I compared all our present colour and abundance to October foliage before the frosts nip down the leaves. That I still feel was a good image. Perhaps I see wrongly. It may be I see decay all about me because I am, in a sense, decay. To others it may be a scene of achievement and construction radiant with hope. I too have a sort of hope, but it is a remote hope, a hope that finds no promise in this Empire or in any of the great things of our time. How they will look in history I do not know, how time and chance will prove them I cannot guess; that is how they have mirrored themselves on one contemporary mind’ (H.G.Wells, Tono-Bungay, 1909)
Ashgate Publishing have just released their Literary Studies catalogue for 2012. This contains various books which may be of interest to Edwardian scholars, including Sally Dugan’s Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel: A Publishing History, Kristine Moruzi’s Constructing Girlhood through the Periodical Press, 1850-1915, Churnjeet Mahn’s British Women’s Travel to Greece, 1840-1914 , and Jane Bownas’s Thomas Hardy and Empire. Follow the links for more information on these titles.