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Abstract

This study’s examination of popular Dutch and British juvenile literature in a comparative context from 1814-1879 has a threefold purpose: to understand how nineteenth-century European imperialist ideology was instilled and perpetuated in popular texts for youth before the peak of modern imperialism from 1880-1914; to address overlooked Dutch juvenile literature and the broader Dutch Empire outside of the Dutch East Indies in the nineteenth century; and to demonstrate how these texts at once promote paternalistic imperialism and contain contradictions and gaps that work against their superficial imperialist ideologies. ,Each chapter contrasts two popular novels, one British and one Dutch, representative of a typical juvenile genre from the time: domestic moral tales from the late 1810s by Barbara Hofland and Petronella Moens; early adventure novels from the 1840s by Frederick Marryat and A.E. van Noothoorn; and later adventure tales from the 1870s by R.M. Ballantyne and J.H. van Balen. To best identify imperialist ideologies, the focus is on examples of prescribed appropriate conduct with colonial or foreign others, especially in encounters with (former) slaves. ,Despite the historical and political decline of the Dutch Empire at the time in contrast to the dominant British Empire, these novels show a similar cultural idea of national, paternalistic imperialism written for juvenile consumption. Though these texts appear straightforward, formulaic, and patronizing, they demonstrate continued merit due to the significant role popular juvenile literature played in substantiating imperialist ideologies. They merit even closer examination to witness how the process of materializing ideology within a textual format causes fissures in the very ideology they are striving to uphold.,With this study finding Dutch novels employing similar strategies as British ones to further imperialism in popular culture, it confirms the Netherlands warrants inclusion in dialogues on the long-lasting significance of nineteenth-century European paternalistic imperialism. It also contends that popular juvenile literature from 1814-1879 was instrumental in disseminating imperialist outlooks while also arguing for its significant, if subtle, part in weakening nineteenth-century imperialism as it moved toward its peak at the end of the century.

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