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The soldier in late Victorian society : images and ambiguities

By Steve Attridge


This thesis examines effects of the Boer War (1899-\ud 1902) on images of the soldier. The thesis argues that the\ud trauma of the Boer War for British political culture be may explored in changes in representations of the soldier\ud to be found in the production and reception of\ud contemporary literary genres and popular forms. This\ud change cannot be theorized adequately in terms of an\ud intensification of patriotism, the development of\ud nationalism or a crisis of imperialism. A pervasive\ud approach, often drawing on the work of Edward Said, has as\ud its central premise that imperial polity imposes a\ud discourse of domination on its relacitrant Other. This\ud approach will be found to lack the conceptual nuances\ud needed to address the different forms of representation\ud examined in the thesis. These different forms of\ud representation articulate a range of responses to the\ud repercussion of the war on the relation between the\ud shifting external boundaries of Empire and the internal\ud boundaries of civil society between state and civil\ud society, civilian and military identities, class\ud antagonisms and national projections. Changes in the image\ud of the soldier bear the irresistable politicization as\ud well as the contrary paradoxical burdens of the attempted\ud pacification of those related external and internal\ud boundaries. The thesis includes a study of a range of\ud sources, including as yet undiscussed texts, which verify\ud and explore further the argument that literary and popular\ud forms and representations display the changing fault lines\ud of political culture rather than simply present or act as\ud vehicles for a truiumphalist and unequivocal discursive\ud domination

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