Further Reading (fiction) - British Empire 1815-1914

British Empire
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Further Reading (fiction)

At the time of Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1897 fiction played an important role in developing and strengthening people's support for the Empire. Writers such as Henty produced stories in which the British adventurer was superior to the native and was portrayed  as strong, courageous, imbued with a sense of duty and a strong Christian faith. Writers like Henty, Rudyard Kipling, Rider Haggard and the mass circulation newspapers like the Daily Mail all helped to develop a strong sense of patriotism which occasionally produced outbursts of patriotic fervour as was seen following the relief of Mafeking. As the Empire declined in the second part of the 20th century the writing associated with empire was seen as racist in content  and increasingly difficult to read. The literature became unfashionable and even Kipling, who was regarded as the Imperial Laureate, was read less and less.

If we are to understand the feelings and attitudes of the British at the height of the British Empire then we should read what they read. Good historical fiction can teach what a standard work of history cannot. It can introduce us to the sights, sounds and smells of the Empire and can give some of the characters a voice. I have included below contemporary historical fiction and also historical fiction that has been written in more recent times. Some might regard contemporary fiction as just propaganda. In some cases the author might have set out to persuade the reader of the justness of empire or have just written what is thought to have appealed to the reader and therefore reflected the times.

Much of the contemporary fiction that I have listed is adventure stories. They introduced a newly educated audience to far away exotic places and were a type of fantasy. As well as contemporary novels I have also included more recent fiction which has been written in a more enlightened time when racism is unacceptable and the author may be highlighting the exploitative and racist nature of Imperialism.

The list below is by no means complete and I would welcome suggestions of further reading that you can recommend.
C.S.Forester, Mr Midshipman Hornblower
B. Cornwall, Sharpe series
P. O’Brian, Master and Commander, 1969
J Gardam, Old Filth, 2004: The Man with the Wooden Hat, 2009: Last Friends, 2013
Achebe, C, Things Fall Apart, 1958
Schreiner, O, An African Farm
Foden G, Ladysmith
Conrad, C,  Heart of Darkness
Greene G, Heart of the Matter, 1948
Harries A, No Place like a Lady 2005; Manly Pursuits 1999,
Louis Leipoldt, The Valley, 2001
Haggard R, King Soloman's Mines,
Saul David, Zulu Hart,2009
J.M.Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians,
Jennifer McVeigh, The Fever Tree, 2012

Manu Herbstein, Ama, a Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 2016

Manu Herbstein, The Boy who Spat in Sargrenti's Eye, 2016  -see review here
Forster EM, Passage to India, 1924
Scott P, Raj Quartet, 1971
Ghosh A, The Glass Palace, 2001, The Hungry Tide, 2004, River of Smoke, 2011; Sea of Poppies, 2008
Farrell, JG, Seige of Krishnapur; The Troubles; The Hill Station, 1981
John Masters, Nightrunners of Bengal, 1951; Bhowani Junction,1954, The Deceivers, 1952, The Lotus and the Wind, 1953;
M.M.Kaye, The Far Pavilions,1978: The Shadow of the Moon,
Saul David, Hart of Empire, 2010
Kipling R, Kim; The Man who would be King
Orwell, Burmese Days, 1934
R.P. Jhabvala, Heat and Dust, 1975
RK Narayan, The Painter of Signs, 1976
MJ Carter, The Strangler Vine, 2014

M Boyd, The Cardboard Crown, 1952; A Difficult Young Man, 1955; Outbreak of Love, 1957; When Blackbirds Sing, 1962
M Kneale, English Passengers, 2000
K Grenville, The Secret River, Sarah Thornhill
T Keneally, Bring Larks and Heroes, 1988
M Kneale, English Passengers, 2000
New Zealand
M Shadbolt, Season of the Jew, 1986; Monday’s Warriors, 1990; The House of Strife, 1993
E Braithwaite, The Flying Fish, 1964; The Needle's Eye, 1965; The Evil Day, 1967
Fiona Kidman, The Book of Secrets, 1987
Deborah Challinor, Isle of Tears, 2009
Barbara Ewing, The Trespass, 2002
Jenny Howarth, Lost Souls, 2005
CK Stead, The Singing Whakapapa, 1994
Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, 1966
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