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Liberalism, Imperialism, and the Historical Imagination: Nineteenth-Century Visions of a Greater Britain (Paperback)
  • Liberalism, Imperialism, and the Historical Imagination: Nineteenth-Century Visions of a Greater Britain (Paperback)
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Liberalism, Imperialism, and the Historical Imagination: Nineteenth-Century Visions of a Greater Britain (Paperback)

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£36.99
Paperback 366 Pages / Published: 14/11/2013
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This book examines the ways in which imperial agendas informed the writing of history in nineteenth-century Britain and how historical writing transformed imperial agendas. Using the published writings and personal papers of Walter Scott, J. A. Froude, James Mill, Rammohun Roy, T. B. Macaulay, E. A. Freeman, W. E. Gladstone, and J. R. Seeley among others, Theodore Koditschek sheds light on the role of the historical imagination in the establishment and legitimation of liberal imperialism. He shows how both imperialists and the imperialized were drawn to reflect back on the Empire's past as a result of the need to construct a modern, multi-national British imperial identity for a more economically expansive and enlightened present. By tracing the imperial lives and historical works of these pivotal figures, Theodore Koditschek illuminates the ways in which discourse altered practice, and vice versa, as well as how the history of Empire was continuously written and re-written.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107638273
Number of pages: 366
Weight: 490 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'Exploring the troubled, sometimes paradoxical but persistent relationship between British liberalism and the empire has become a major scholarly preoccupation. In this arresting, highly intelligent work, Koditschek brings valuable new specificity and depth to this enquiry through a close reading of both familiar and unfamiliar writers. He examines the contributions of imperial officials and novelists, but especially leading Victorian historians. Most movingly, he traces the agonies of some late nineteenth-century Indian commentators, torn between incipient anti-imperial disquiet and deep attachment to perceived British liberal values.' Linda Colley, Shelby M. C. Davis 1958 Professor of History, Princeton University
'This book compellingly demonstrates the contradictions in the great narratives of nineteenth-century liberal imperialist history. Koditschek demonstrates how the Irish and Indians disrupted the smooth progress of Whiggish history by their own actions and by creating their own national stories. Historians become tragic heroes in Koditschek's sparkling drama, caught in the contradictions of their own narratives. Written in a dynamic, vigorous style, this is a brilliant accomplishment that deserves to be widely read.' Anna Clark, University of Minnesota
'Liberalism, Imperialism and the Historical Imagination represents an important contribution to a variety of scholarly fields. Subtly mixing social, political, and intellectual history, Theodore Koditschek elucidates some of the core paradoxes at the heart of nineteenth-century liberal imperialism, while simultaneously elucidating the way in which liberals turned to history in order to legitimate their arguments for global expansion and rule.' Duncan Bell, University of Cambridge
'... outstanding: diligently researched, dispassionately considered, without any of the preconceptions that often bedevil this field, well written, and - for those of us who are as interested in the history of ideas as Koditschek is - fascinating and frequently suggestive ... A fine and important work.' H-Empire
'Theodore Koditschek has written an important book that goes a long way toward answering one of the most urgent and troubling questions about the nineteenth-century British Empire, namely, how such an avowedly and demonstrably liberal state could have maintained and justified such a patently illiberal empire for so long ... It impressively explores and explains the contradictions of nineteenth-century liberal imperialism with subtlety, sophistication, and sensitivity, adding considerably to our understanding of the Victorian Empire.' Journal of British Studies
'This incisive study combines vivid biographical sketches with acute readings of texts to offer a nuanced and revealing portrait of liberalism's troubled marriage to the nineteenth-century British Empire.' Jennifer Pitts, American Historical Review
'Theodore Koditschek's Liberalism, Imperialism and the Historical Imagination is an ambitious contribution to the debate over the ways in which liberal concepts of progress influenced the intellectual and political life of modern Britain and empire. Its achievements suggest we are, indeed, getting somewhere.' History Workshop Journal
'This is a profoundly important piece of scholarship, one that - to use a hackneyed but, in this case, absolutely accurate phrase - no one in the field can afford to ignore.' Richard Price, Journal of Modern History
'Koditschek, in scope and depth, achieves a masterful synthesis that should make this book the standard work for understanding liberal imperial thinking in the nineteenth century.' Karuna Mantena, Victorian Studies

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