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Adventure, Empire and Representation in the Writings of British Professional Adventurers, c. 1880-1914

Dattan, Devin Lorraine (2018) Adventure, Empire and Representation in the Writings of British Professional Adventurers, c. 1880-1914. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis is an examination of the representation of people and landscapes in the adventure accounts of British professional adventurers between 1880 and 1914. It begins with the premise that adventure and accounts of it, both factual and fictional, occupied an important position in British society during this period and that adventure accounts have the potential to develop current understanding of this period of imperial history. It is divided into three sections. The first is a biographical case study of two professional adventurers, E. F. Knight and A. H. Savage Landor. It examines their lives and careers to develop an understanding of adventure account and of the active role these individuals took in fashioning their identities. The works of these two individuals – both overlooked in the existing literature despite their contemporary prominence – provide the core source base for the thesis. The second section examines representations of people in the adventure accounts. The first chapter looks at representations of the adventurous male. It argues that the masculine ideal conveyed by the professional adventurers was one that combined elements of martial and domestic masculinities. Indigenous servants are the focus of the following chapter. It argues that the circumstances under which the professional adventurers operated had an impact on how they depicted their relationships with their primary indigenous servants. The final section looks at representations of landscape. The first chapter in this section examines the effect of using aesthetic language, notably concepts of the picturesque and the sublime, to describe imperial landscapes. It argues in part that employing aesthetic language allowed the professional adventurer to assert his authority as an eyewitness. The final chapter moves from the aesthetic to the economic. It explores how economic language was used to familiarise audiences with imperial landscapes, making them more accessible and inviting.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Depositing User: Devin Lorraine Dattan
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2019 13:27
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2019 13:27
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23846

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