We’re delighted to welcome Mr Phillip Mallett (Honorary Senior Lecturer in the School of English at St Andrews and Honorary Researcher at the University of Lancaster) to present our next Inventions of the Text seminar on 8th June at 17.30. This will look at how fiction depicted anxieties about heroism and manliness, disguise, and the role of women in the British Empire.
In 1897 Hilda Gregg reflected: ‘Of all the great events of this century, as they are reflected in fiction, the Indian Mutiny has taken the firmest hold on the popular imagination.’ Much of this fiction—at least thirty novels—was written between 1890 and 1910. In part, it reflects the anxieties of the age, as the rapid expansion of the British Empire was matched by increasing threats to its security, from Russia on India’s northern borders, from the Boers in South Africa, and from German militarization in Europe. In part, too, those who had lived through these ‘Terrible Times’ (to borrow the title of one Mutiny novel) were growing old; the time had come to firm up the cultural memory of what had become known as ‘the epic of the race’, and to take control of how it was to be told. This paper looks in particular at one of the more rewarding of these novels, On the Face of the Waters by Flora Annie Steel (sometimes known, to her annoyance and probably to his, as ‘the female Kipling’), and at some of the recurring motifs in ‘Mutiny’ fiction, including ideas of heroism and manliness, disguise, and the role of women in the Empire.
The seminar takes place in the Department of English Studies on 8th June at 17.30. We welcome postgraduates and staff from all relevant humanities departments across the UK. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to check availability.
The following Inventions of the Text seminar on 16th June will look at Shelley’s poetry, and video games and modernism.