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Title: The symbolic power of youth as represented in The Naval Chronicle (1799-1818)
Author: Ronald, Douglas Arthur Bruce
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2011
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This dissertation investigates the gradual emergence of the 'young hero' as a new figure in maritime literature beginning in the aftermath of the 1745 Rebellion and culminating as the centrepiece in a campaign of concerted war-propaganda in the years immediately preceding and succeeding the Battle of Trafalgar (1805). The campaign was intended to redefine Britain as no longer a martial 'Old School' warrior-nation but instead a heroic 'Temple of Honour' occupied by naval 'Worthies'. Thereby, 'national characteristic spirit' would be imbued with maritime ardour, the swashbuckling, adventurous, courageous integrity long associated with 'our naval heroes' and 'modem patriotism' made energetic, vibrant and vigorous as the nation confronted existential dangers from without and within. By its further, express assimilation to the young naval hero - the boy from the lower deck and young gentleman from the quarter-deck - who 'with an ardour natural to youth ... panted after a life of adventure' , the campaign's objective was that emergent 'Britishness' would be simultaneously rejuvenated and depolicitized by the deeper truths which enlightenment society had begun attaching to youth, all while romanticising the Navy by its association with the dark blue ocean based on the conventional perception that youth was the in extremis veritas of the human condition and that naval youth, faced with the twin jeopardy of the sea and war, represented the quintessential British hero. This campaign was pioneered by The Naval Chronicle, a monthly periodical which ran from January 1799 to December 1818 and was the brainchild of Admiral John Willett Payne, 'Private Secretary and keeper of the Privy Seal to the PRINCE' of Wales prior to the French Wars and the Reverend James Stanier Clarke, appointed chaplain to the Prince of Wales in 1798. As the naval wars subsided and Joyce Gold, The Naval Chronicle's publisher, took increasing control of editorial policy, the figure of the young hero took on an overtly political hue, spawning the ' unfortunate youth' attached as a central figure of polemical discourse in the movement for naval reform gaining momentum in the later years of the French Wars. These two stages brought heroic youth, in the symbolic power that it thereby evoked, from the outreaches of the maritime world to its heart, the high profile accorded to these successive images as centrepiece of this propaganda campaign marking a turning-point in the history of young persons at sea.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available