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Colonial Lives across the British Empire: Imperial Careering in the Long Nineteenth Century (co-edited with Alan Lester), Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2006

Colonial LivesSummary of the book

This volume uses a series of portraits of ‘imperial lives’ in order to rethink the history of the British Empire in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It tells the stories of men and women who dwelt for extended periods in one colonial space before moving on to dwell in others, developing ‘imperial careers’. These men and women consist of four colonial governors, two governors’ wives, two missionaries, a nurse/entrepreneur, a poet/civil servant and a mercenary. Leading scholars of colonialism guide the reader through the ways that these individuals made the British Empire, and the ways that the empire made them. Their life histories constituted meaningful connections across the empire that facilitated the continual reformulation of imperial discourses, practices and cultures. Together, their stories help us to re-imagine the geographies of the British Empire and to destabilize the categories of metropole and colony.


Contents of the book

‘Introduction: Imperial Spaces, Imperial Subjects’ – David Lambert and Alan Lester

‘Gregor MacGregor: Clansman, Conquistador and Coloniser on the Fringes of the British Empire’ – Matthew Brown

‘A blister on the Imperial Antipodes: Lancelot Edward Threlkeld in Polynesia and Australia’ – Anna Johnston

‘Missionary Politics and the Captive Audience: William Shrewsbury in the Caribbean and the Cape Colony’ – Alan Lester and David Lambert

‘Richard Bourke: Irish Liberalism Tempered by Empire’ – Zoë Laidlaw

‘George Grey in Ireland: Narrative and Network’ – Leigh Dale

Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (1857): Colonial Identity and the Geographical Imagination’ – Anita Rupprecht

‘Inter-colonial Migration and the Refashioning of Indentured Labour: Arthur Gordon in Trinidad, Mauritius and Fiji’ – Laurence Brown

‘Sir John Pope Hennessy and Colonial Governance: Humanitarianism and the Translation of Slavery in the Imperial Network’ – Philip Howell and David Lambert

‘Sunshine and Sorrows: Canada, Ireland and Lady Aberdeen’ – Val McLeish

‘Mary Curzon: “American Queen of India”’ – Nicola Thomas

‘Making Scotland in South Africa: Charles Murray, the Transvaal’s Aberdeenshire Poet’ – Jonathan Hyslop

‘Epilogue: Imperial Careering at Home; Harriet Martineau on Empire’ – Catherine Hall