Empire of Sentiment: The Death of Livingstone and the Myth of Victorian Imperialism

Empire of Sentiment: The Death of Livingstone and the Myth of Victorian Imperialism

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Joanna Lewis
Cambridge University Press, 1/18/2018
EAN 9781107198517, ISBN10: 1107198518

Hardcover, 302 pages, 23.5 x 15.7 x 2 cm
Language: English

This is the first emotional history of the British Empire. Joanna Lewis explores how David Livingstone's death tied together British imperialism and Victorian humanitarianism and inserted it into popular culture. Sacrifice and death; Superman like heroism; the devotion of Africans; the cruelty of Arab slavery; and the sufferings of the 'ordinary man', generated waves of sentimental feeling. These powerful myths, images and feelings incubated down the generations - through grand ceremonies, further exploration, humanitarianism, Christian teaching, narratives of masculine endeavour and heroic biography - inspiring colonial rule in Africa, white settler pioneers, missionaries and Africans. Empire of Sentiment demonstrates how this central African story shaped Britain's romantic perception of itself as a humane power overseas when the colonial reality fell far short. Through sentimental humanitarianism, Livingstone helped sustain a British Empire in Africa that remained profoundly Victorian, polyphonic and ideological; whilst always understood at home as proudly liberal on race.

1. 'A Parliament of philanthropy'
the fight to bury Livingstone
2. Laying to rest a Victorian myth
The 'lost heart of the nation', Victorian sentimentality and the rebirth of moral imperialism
3. A perfect savagery
the Livingstone martyrs and the tree of death on Africa's 'highway to hell'
4. The graveyard of ambition
missionary wars, bachelor colonialism and white memorials, Chitambo, 1900–1913
5. White settlers, frontier-chic and colonial racism
how Livingstone's three Cs fell apart
6. 'The hearts of good men'
1973, the one party state and the struggle against apartheid
7. 'Chains of remembrance'
Livingstone, sentimental imperialism and Britain's Africa conversation, 1913–2013