Travels in Fiction: Baker, Stanley, Cameron and the Adventure of African Exploration

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Samuel White Baker, Henry Morton Stanley, and Verney Lovett Cameron are some of the most familiar names on the roster of African exploration. Together, they are associated with central and east Africa’s most important geographical questions as well as political developments in the run up to partition. While these figures are well known for their substantial expeditionary narratives, the fact that they also published works of fiction has been almost entirely overlooked. This article investigates the phenomenon, identifying the turn to fiction as an important feature of the Victorian culture of exploration. The ‘fiction of exploration’ was part of the period’s cult of celebrity, a means of reaching new audiences, and an important contribution to the adventure genre. These novels are read here as a means of reimagining the expeditionary experience, and as literary cartographies in which place and politics intersect on behalf of an imperial vision.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-85
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Victorian Culture
Issue number1
Early online date31 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2018


  • Verney Lovett Cameron
  • Samuel White Baker
  • Henry Morton Stanley
  • colonial fiction
  • African exploration
  • British imperialism


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