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Title: H.M. Stanley and the literature of exploration : empire, media, modernity
Author: Murray, Brian
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis constitutes the first sustained single-author study of the writings of the Welsh-American explorer Henry Morton Stanley (1840-1904). Stanley’s works have generally been treated as generic examples of ’colonial discourse’ or simply as a historical footnote to the canon of colonial adventure fiction. Little attention has been paid to the possible reasons for the phenomenal popularity and enduring appeal of these texts. I will expand upon previous readings of Stanley not by ignoring the imperial context but by acknowledging that ’imperial discourse’ was itself in dialogue with various other social and cultural trends. My concern throughout is with the exploratory encounter as modernising event - not simply in the sense of the ’civilised’ explorer shedding light on the ’dark continent’ — but in the sense that the retransmission of these frontier narratives in the centre of empire had a transformative affect on how Britons conceived of themselves as modern subjects. -- By emphasising the imperial ’margin’ as a space in which modernity happens and the exploration narrative as the means by which this process is documented, represented and enacted, I challenge conventional notions of modernity as an urban phenomenon diffused from imperial metropolis to colonial periphery. Focusing on the (largely ignored) Welsh and American aspects of Stanley’s identity, allows us to decentre the notion of a fixed imperial metropolis and forces us to acknowledge the complexity, ambivalence and richness of the literature of the exploratory contact zone.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available