Flora Annie Steel and the Indian “Mutiny” Novel (Seminar, 8th June)


Map of the World Showing the Extent of the British Empire in 1886, by Walter Crane [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Map of the World Showing the Extent of the British Empire in 1886, by Walter Crane [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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 inventionsofthetext@gmail.com to check availability.

The following Inventions of the Text seminar on 16th June will look at Shelley’s poetry, and video games and modernism.

Advertisements

What do you think? Share your thoughts below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s