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Imperial Boredom: Monotony and the British Empire

Category: Book
By (author): Auerbach, Jeffrey A.
Subject:  HISTORY / General
  HISTORY / Social History
  HISTORY / World
Audience: professional and scholarly
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Published: October 2018
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 336
Size: 9.21in x 6.14in x 1.25in
Our Price:
$ 55.00
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Additional Notes

From The Publisher*Imperial Boredom offers a radical reconsideration of the British Empire during its heyday in the nineteenth century. Challenging the long-established view that that the Empire was about adventure and excitement, with heroic men and intrepid women settling new lands and spreading commerce and civilization around the globe, this thoroughly researched, engagingly written, and lavishly illustrated analysis instead argues that boredom was central to the imperial experience. This volume looks at what it was actually like to sail to Australia, to serve as a soldier in South Africa, or to accompany a colonial official to the hill stations of India. It demonstrates that for numerous men and women, from governors to convicts, explorers to tourists, the Victorian Empire was dull and disappointing. Drawing on diaries, letters, memoirs, and travelogues, it shows that all across the empire, men and women found the landscapes monotonous, the physical and psychological distance from home debilitating, the routines of everyday life wearisome, and their work unfulfilling. Ocean voyages were tedious; colonial rule was bureaucratic; warfare was infrequent; economic opportunity was limited; and indigenous people were largely invisible. The seventeenth-century Empire may have been about wonder and marvel, but the Victorian Empire was a far less exciting project.
Biographical NoteJeffrey Auerbach received his BA from Oberlin College (1987) and his PhD from Yale University (1995). The recipient of numerous fellowships, his first book The Great Exhibition of 1851, was heralded as "an exemplary piece of cultural history" (David Vincent, American Historical Review). Since then his research and writing has focused on the British Empire; he contributed an essay entitled "Art and Empire" to the Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume V. He was also the founding world history editor for History Compass, en e-journal for history, and has served as a consultant for the History Channel and the BBC.