Popular imperialism and the textual cultures of Empire

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This chapter revisits John M. MacKenzie’s scholarship from the perspective of a literary critic in order to assess his contribution to the study of popular imperial literature. It addresses MacKenzie’s research on adventure fiction and the representation of the natural world; his studies of heroic biography and the construction of imperial reputations; and his work on the geographical imaginations of British guidebooks and the Protestant missionary record. The chapter also sketches possibilities for future research emerging from a closer convergence of imperial history and literary studies. It argues that there is scope to extend the ‘four nations’ approach and comparative perspectives on European empires to the study of imperial literary production, and to investigate the ways in which some neglected late-imperial forms responded to decolonisation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe MacKenzie Moment and Imperial History
Subtitle of host publicationEssays in Honour of John M. MacKenzie
EditorsStephanie Barczewski, Martin Farr
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783030244590
ISBN (Print)9783030244583
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2019

Publication series

NameBritain and the World
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan


  • imperial history
  • postcolonialism
  • adventure fiction
  • biography
  • missionaries
  • travel guides
  • four nations
  • decolonisation


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