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The Crimean War in the British Imagination


  • Page extent: 304 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.62 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521112376)

The Crimean War (1854–6) was the first to be fought in the era of modern communications, and it had a profound influence on British literary culture, bringing about significant shifts in perceptions of heroism and national identity. In this book, Stefanie Markovits explores how mid-Victorian writers and artists reacted to an unpopular war: one in which home-front reaction was conditioned by an unprecedented barrage of information arriving from the front. This history had formal consequences. How does patriotic poetry translate the blunders of the Crimea into verse? How does the shape of literary heroism adjust to a war that produced not only heroes but a heroine, Florence Nightingale? How does the predominant mode of journalism affect artistic representations of 'the real'? By looking at the journalism, novels, poetry, and visual art produced in response to the war, Stefanie Markovits demonstrates the tremendous cultural force of this relatively short conflict.

• First book-length study of the influence of the Crimean War (1854–6) on British literary culture • Shows how graphic written and visual accounts inflamed public opinion, in ways that have parallels with today • Addresses visual and written responses to the war, of interest to historians and art historians as well as literary scholars


Preface: the blossom of war; A brief history of the war: Part I. Rushing into Print: Journalism and the Crimean War: 1. 'The Times war'; 2. 'Mr. Russell's 'war''; 3. 'The people's war'; Part II. From Amyas Leigh to Aurora Leigh: Gender and Heroism in the Novels of the Crimean War: 1. Eastward ho?: the Kingsleys, the Crimean War, and the novel; 2. From East and West to North and South; 3. 'Heroic womanhood'; Part III. 'The Song that Nerves a Nation's Heart': The Poetry of The Crimean War: 1. The poetic (battle-) field; 2. Giving voice to the war: Tennyson's Charge and Maud's battle-song; Part IV. Painters of Modern Life: (Re)mediating the Crimean War in the Art of John Leech and John Everett Millais: 1. 'Nothing like knowing the country'; 2. Playing at war; 3. Peace concluded?; Afterword: Elizabeth Thompson, Lady Butler, the roll call, and the afterlife of the Crimean War.


'… [an] imaginative and thought-provoking study …' Contemporary Review

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