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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Empire, Imagined Nature, and the Great White Horizon: Polar Discourse, Transition, and the Sublime in Mid-Victorian and Modern Imperial British Culture
by Fontenot, M. Christian-Gahn, M.A., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2015, 134; 1592997
Abstract (Summary)

This project seeks to understand the relationship between discursive practices and the conceptions of nature, heroism, and masculinity found in Victorian and modern Imperial British culture. It does this by tracing two interwoven stories that materialized in the North and South Poles. The first being concerned with how polar landscape was perceived and created as Sublime by the discursive practices of explorers, authors, artists, and the press. The second being concerned with how polar discourse was used and influenced by British imperial rhetoric. In such a context, there was an opportunity for the British Empire to create a space that reclaimed and “proved” the unchanging presence of mid-Victorian Britishness. Even in its decline, the Empire was able to push forth the idea that modernism, war, and flux would not hold sway over the British spirit itself. Relying on expedition narratives, literary publications, paintings, and press coverage, this work highlights the importance (and fluidity) of intellectual concepts and their influence over the way that space was imagined by the British. Ultimately, the project seeks to lend insight into the significant connection between polar discourse and World War I discourse, showing how the mythological way of imagining the poles became a catalyst for imagining indescribable spaces of horror during the most destructive war in European history.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hermann, Robin
Commitee: Cauvin, Thomas, Ritchey, Sara, Todt, Kim
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: History
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: MAI 54/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Epistemology, Literature, History
Keywords: Cultural history, Ecocriticism, Empire, Intellectual history, Literary studies
Publication Number: 1592997
ISBN: 978-1-321-89048-8
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