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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Event Archive

This is an archive of past events within the Department of English Studies. Please see our current events for forthcoming activities.

Some of our public events are recorded and are available as podcasts via our Research English At Durham blog.

Flora Annie Steel and the Indian 'Mutiny' Novel

8th June 2016, 17:30 to 18:45, Seminar Room, Hallgarth House, Phillip Mallett

An Inventions of the Text seminar.

In 1897 Hilda Gregg reflected: ‘Of all the great events of this century, as they are reflected in fiction, the Indian Mutiny has taken the firmest hold on the popular imagination.’ Much of this fiction—at least thirty novels—was written between 1890 and 1910. In part, it reflects the anxieties of the age, as the rapid expansion of the British Empire was matched by increasing threats to its security, from Russia on India’s northern borders, from the Boers in South Africa, and from German militarization in Europe. In part, too, those who had lived through these ‘Terrible Times’ (to borrow the title of one Mutiny novel) were growing old; the time had come to firm up the cultural memory of what had become known as ‘the epic of the race’, and to take control of how it was to be told. This paper looks in particular at one of the more rewarding of these novels, On the Face of the Waters by Flora Annie Steel (sometimes known, to her annoyance and probably to his, as ‘the female Kipling’), and at some of the recurring motifs in ‘Mutiny’ fiction, including ideas of heroism and manliness, disguise, and the role of women in the Empire.

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Research in English At Durham (READ) blog showcasing the the literary research emerging from the Department of English Studies


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