Case Studies

Wakefield’s Systematic Colonisation and Cultural Improvement in the ‘New World’

Wakefield’s Systematic Colonisation and Cultural Improvement in the ‘New World’

In 1829, while still incarcerated in Newgate Goal for abducting an underage heiress, the political economist and social reformer Edward Gibbon Wakefield anonymously published his speculative Letter from Sydney, The Principal Town of Australasia, a compilation of eleven anonymous letters previously published in the Morning Chronicle. Wakefield was, of course, nowhere…

Mining Fiction in the Colonial Southern Hemisphere, 1820-1870

Mining Fiction in the Colonial Southern Hemisphere, 1820-1870

Mining Fiction in the Colonial Southern Hemisphere, 1820-1870 Dr. Susan Leavy Library catalogues contain a wealth of cultural information, particularly in the nineteenth century when circulating libraries were an important source of popular literature for middle and working-class readers. This case study aims to critically analyse the popular…

Indigenous Encounters in Colonial Periodical Fiction, 1840-1890

Indigenous Encounters in Colonial Periodical Fiction, 1840-1890

Indigenous Encounters in Colonial Periodical Fiction, 1840s-1890s Dr. Sarah Galletly (UCD) This case study challenges the critical assumption that Indigenous cultures are rarely represented in the popular fiction of colonial Australia. This assumption largely derives from the study of novels, but it does not hold true of periodical…

Malay and Chinese Readers in Nineteenth-Century Singapore

Malay and Chinese Readers in Nineteenth-Century Singapore

In 1878, the President of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Archdeacon Hose, noted ‘a not too keen appetite for reading’ among the Malay population in Singapore, concluding that with the advent of printed books ‘manuscripts (never very numerous) are likely to be less prized, and…

De-territorializing Britishness In Colonial South Africa

De-territorializing Britishness In Colonial South Africa

  In his landmark study of the idea of ‘Greater Britain’ in imperial discourse, Duncan Bell identified three different meanings ascribed to the term by nineteenth century political thinkers after 1870. In some conceptions, it included the ‘totality of the British empire’, including Britain’s expanding African empire and,…

A report from the Victorian gold fields

A report from the Victorian gold fields

How do you establish the existence of a literary institution’s collection when none of the early records have survived? How can you trace the circulation of books without a catalogue or accession records? How do you determine the way an institution was managed if the committee minutes have…

Newspaper poetry and Anglophone Print Culture in the Cape colony

Newspaper poetry and Anglophone Print Culture in the Cape colony

This case study focuses on the literary culture of the Cape Colony during the 1820s. Cape Town in the 1820s was establishing an Anglophone ‘bourgeois public sphere’ that accompanied the socio-economic transformation that followed the departure of the Dutch in 1806. (Mackenzie 1998:90) Industrialisation and the removal of government…