Includes chapters on subjects ranging from the representation of property and ethics in 19th century novels, captivity narratives, romantic narratives, the occult, crime fiction and empire, and the representation of the 'Asiatic' in The Lone Hand.
Includes discussion of the influence of British writers H. Rider Haggard, Sir Walter Scott, Rudyard Kipling and Robert Louis Stevenson.
The British romantic novel became a distinct and bestselling genre during the mid-nineteenth century, when Charlotte M. Yonge’s The Heir of Redclyffe (1853) inspired other authors to write thrilling love stories published in triple-decker volumes that were sold at W.H. Smith railway bookstalls or circulated through 'Charles Mudie’s Select Library (Anderson 1974, p. 25). Women writers during this time, such as Yonge, Rhoda Broughton and Mary Elizabeth Braddon, popularised stories that featured the trials and tribulations of British heroes and heroines who fall in love, overcome various obstacles to their relationship, marry or are tragically parted by death (Anderson 1974). Most of their novels are set in Britain or, for more exotic fare, the Continent. However, from the 1890s onwards, they were joined by women writers from Britain’s colonies and dominions. This period was the zenith of British imperial power and, unsurprisingly, women writers used the colonies as exotic backdrops for their love stories. Romantic novels from the 1890s to the Second World War spread imperial fantasies of women who travelled to the colonies, hunted, worked as governesses, nurses and secretaries, managed households, ran viable plantations, fended off attacks by ‘the natives’, fell in love, married and made a place for themselves in the empire. Dreams of love and empire building bloomed in what I am calling women’s imperial romantic novels: love stories set in India, the white settler colonies and dominions, and Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.' (Publication summary)