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Title: Rush : South African diamonds and new imperialism in late victorian literature
Author: Compton, Kate
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 5568
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis explores the relationship between imperial rhetoric and metaphors of literary production. It focuses on British literature from the late nineteenth century, a period that was crucial to the development of 'New Imperialism'. Beginning in the 1870s, when the South African diamond rush radically altered Britain's colonial policy, this thesis offers a reevaluation of the relationship between literature and empire as it is expressed by colonial discourse about South Africa. It examines what is at stake when the same language and imagery used to express the value of literary labour is also drawn upon to popularise colonial expansion. Chapter One investigates the textual practice of 'jewel- setting', the reuse of extracts to create new texts. It juxtaposes the creative ideology that one novelist, Charles Reade, attached to this method with the political symbolism that imbues the recutting and resetting of the famous Koh-i-noor diamond. Chapter Two places Anthony Trollope's relentless literary labour in the context of South African diamond fever and the political rhetoric of rush. It analyses how his 1878 travelogue, South Africa, conveyed the experience of 'rush' to its British readers. Chapter Three offers a counterpoint to the implicitly masculinist energy of rush with an assessment of Lady Barker's maternal perspective on South Africa. Barker, who travelled to Natal as the spouse of a colonial official, represents a revealing confluence of domestic duty and professional authorship in her maternal literary persona. This chapter places that persona in the context of cultural attitudes to home and the mother country. Chapter Four brings together a collection of adventure writers whose boy heroes travelled to South Africa in the 1880s. This chapter explores the relationship between journalism and the evolution of this brand of boys' own fiction and the longing it conveys for an empire innocent of the business of diamonds.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available