Britain's Imperial Muse The Classics, Imperialism, and the Indian Empire, 1784-1914

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-04-16
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

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Located at the intersection of British imperial and cultural history, and classical reception studies, Britain's Imperial Muse explores the classics' contribution to Britain's culture of imperialism and to the experience of empire in India through the long nineteenth century. Dismissing grammar-grind stereotypes, this study argues that classical education left powerful images of empire in many students destined to play a part in Britain's imperial drama; and that these classically founded images constituted a key pillar of British imperial identity. But it simultaneously acknowledges the classics' role as a rhetorical arsenal used and abused by commentators to justify imperial domination, particularly of India. In its final act, the book follows the classics to India, where they provided knowledge of Indian civilization, defined and maintained the cultural solidarity of the imperial elite, entrenched the 'difference' of Indians, and helped Britons cope with the social, physical, and cultural alienations of life in India.

Author Biography

C.A. Hagerman is Associate Professor of European History at Albion College, Michigan, USA. He earned his Ph.D. in History from the University of Toronto after completing a MA in Classical Archaeology from the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Classical Education and Britain's Imperial Elite
3. Empires and Imperialism in British Classical Discourse
4. Classical Discourse and British Imperial Identity: the Nature of Empire
5. Classical Discourse and British Imperial Identity: the Civilizing Mission
6. Classical Discourse and British Imperial Identity: the Imperial Character
7. Classical Discourse and the Decline and Fall of Empires
8. Classical Discourse and British Conceptions of India
9. Classical Discourse in British India I: Coping with Life in India
10. Classical Discourse in British India II: Secret Knowledge
11. Conclusion

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