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Look Inside Colonial Lives Across the British Empire

Colonial Lives Across the British Empire
Imperial Careering in the Long Nineteenth Century


David Lambert, Alan Lester, Matthew Brown, Anna Johnston, Zoë Laidlaw, Leigh Dale, Anita Rupprecht, Laurence Brown, Philip Howell, Val McLeish, Nicola J. Thomas, Jonathan Hyslop, Catherine Hall
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  • Date Published: November 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521847704

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About the Authors
  • This volume uses a series of portraits of 'imperial lives' in order to rethink the history of the British Empire in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It tells the stories of men and women who dwelt for extended periods in one colonial space before moving on to dwell in others, developing 'imperial careers'. These men and women consist of four colonial governors, two governors' wives, two missionaries, a nurse/entrepreneur, a poet/civil servant and a mercenary. Leading scholars of colonialism guide the reader through the ways that these individuals made the British Empire, and the ways that the empire made them. Their life histories constituted meaningful connections across the empire that facilitated the continual reformulation of imperial discourses, practices and cultures. Together, their stories help us to re-imagine the geographies of the British Empire and to destabilize the categories of metropole and colony.

    • Features an introduction that provides the first comprehensive treatment of the connections between imperial biography and geography
    • Written by a team of leading imperial historians
    • Will appeal to scholars in imperial history, colonialism, postcolonial studies, British history and historical geography
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: '[Colonial Lives] brings together recent work on biography and subjectivity on the one hand and the literature on space and place that has done much to shape contemporary apprehensions of empire, and it does so with fresh insight and a lot of intellectual energy as well.' Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History

    Review of the hardback: '… this is a fine collection of scholarly essays that shed important light on the complex spatialities of the British Empire. As such it deserves a wide readership. One hopes it will inspire further scholarship to elucidate those new networks that were forged by colonised subjects and that similarly spanned imperial space and shaped subjectivities.' Journal of Historical Geography

    Review of the hardback: 'Colonial Lives amply demonstrates what biography at its best can do: provide a window into larger subjects and themes, readable and compelling human sized history.' Journal of Historical Biography

    Review of the hardback: 'This book offers more than simply a new spatial framework for understanding empire; it is a series of biographical sketches of life histories that explore the complexity and ambiguity of trans imperial identity through the tracing and mapping of careers across multiple sites of empire.' Journal of Southern African Studies

    Review of the hardback: 'Colonial Lives across the British Empire: Imperial Careering in the Long Nineteenth Century, gives readers a solid and more complex sense of the individuals, many of them not well known, who travelled to or worked in the remoter parts of the British empire. Through these individual lives, and as a result of the editors' fine introduction, the reader better understands the idiosyncratic, varied, and complicated nature of being a colonial during that period.' Studies in English Literature 1500–1900

    'The volume as a whole works very well as a way of questioning the conventions of writing about the imperial past … Taken as a whole the collection offers a series of intriguing paths that begin to trace out what mightbe a new historical geography of the circuits of empire.' Cultural Geographies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2006
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521847704
    • length: 396 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.75kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: Imperial spaces, imperial subjects David Lambert and Alan Lester
    1. Gregor MacGregor: clansman, conquistador and colonizer on the fringes of the British Empire Matthew Brown
    2. A blister on the imperial Antipodes: Lancelot Edward Threlkeld in Polynesia and Australia Anna Johnston
    3. Missionary politics and the captive audience: William Shrewsbury in the Caribbean and the Cape Colony Alan Lester and David Lambert
    4. Richard Bourke: Irish liberalism tempered by empire Zoë Laidlaw
    5. George Grey in Ireland: narrative and network Leigh Dale
    6. 'Wonderful adventures of Mrs. Seacole in many lands' (1857): colonial identity and the geographical imagination Anita Rupprecht
    7. Inter-colonial migration and the refashioning of indentured labour: Arthur Gordon in Trinidad, Mauritius and Fiji Laurence Brown
    8. Sir John Pope Hennessy and colonial government: humanitarianism and the translation of slavery in the imperial network Philip Howell and David Lambert
    9. Sunshine and sorrows: Canada, Ireland and Lady Aberdeen Val McLeish
    10. Mary Curzon: 'American Queen of India' Nicola J. Thomas
    11. Making Scotland in South Africa: Charles Murray, the Transvaal's Aberdeenshire poet Jonathan Hyslop
    Epilogue: Imperial careering at home: Harriet Martineau on empire Catherine Hall

  • Editors

    David Lambert, Royal Holloway, University of London

    Alan Lester, University of Sussex


    David Lambert, Alan Lester, Matthew Brown, Anna Johnston, Zoë Laidlaw, Leigh Dale, Anita Rupprecht, Laurence Brown, Philip Howell, Val McLeish, Nicola J. Thomas, Jonathan Hyslop, Catherine Hall

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