All of London exploded on the night of May 18, 1900, in the biggest West End party ever seen. The mix of media manipulation, patriotism, and class, race, and gender politics that produced the 'spontaneous' festivities of Mafeking Night begins this analysis of the cultural politics of late-Victorian imperialism. Paula M. Krebs examines 'the last of the gentlemen's wars' - the Boer War of 1899–1902 - and the struggles to maintain an imperialist hegemony in a twentieth-century world, through the war writings of Arthur Conan Doyle, Olive Schreiner, H. Rider Haggard, and Rudyard Kipling, as well as contemporary journalism, propaganda, and other forms of public discourse. Her feminist analysis of such matters as the sexual honor of the British soldier at war, the deaths of thousands of women and children in 'concentration camps', and new concepts of race in South Africa marks this book as a significant contribution to British imperial studies.
• New, authoritative study of late Victorian imperialism, showing how it was buttressed by ideas about gender and race • Innovative and provocative study of the Boer War timed • Particular emphasis on the African experience, including the literary work of Olive Schreiner and the historical fact of e.g. British-established 'concentration camps'
1. The war at home; 2. The concentration camps controversy and the press; 3. Gender ideology as military policy - the camps, continued; 4. Cannibals or knights: sexual honor in the propaganda of Arthur Conan Doyle and W. T. Stead; 5. Interpreting South Africa to Britain: Olive Schreiner, Boers, and Africans; 6. The imperial imaginary: the press, empire, and the literary figure; Notes; Works cited.