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  • Metadata

    • Document type
      Review (monograph)
      Reviews in History
      Author (Review)
      • Hillier, Andrew
      Language (Review)
      Language (Monograph)
      Author (Monograph)
      • Auerbach, Jeffrey
      Imperial Boredom
      Monotony and the British Empire
      Year of publication
      Place of publication
      Oxford University Press
      Number of pages
      Subject classification
      Social and Cultural History
      Time classification
      Modern age until 1900 → 19th century
      Regional classification
      Europe → Western Europe → Great Britain
      Subject headings
      Sozialgeschichte 1800-1900
      Original source URL
      Publication date
      Sep 02, 2019 01:05 PM
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Jeffrey Auerbach: Imperial Boredom. Monotony and the British Empire (reviewed by Andrew Hillier)

‘This book’, writes Jeffrey A. Auerbach in his Introduction to Imperial Boredom, ‘is very much about how people felt’ [his italics]. As such, it takes its place in a growing body of scholarship that explores through individual lives the mind-set that under-pinned the empire project, both individually and on a collective level. Whilst there has long been an ample literature on the ‘Victorian frame of mind’ – the title of Walter E. Houghton’s seminal examination of the topic, first published in 1957 – it has only featured recently in post-colonial studies. Catherine Hall has argued, for example, that understanding the mind of Thomas Babington Macaulay is fundamental to an understanding of imperialism and its development.[1] Closely connected to the history of emotions, the subject presents particular methodological challenges: how should the feelings of individuals be assessed and measured; how much weight should be placed on what they wrote in their diaries and journals, given the different ways in which people perceived and used language to record their feelings; how can the results be brought together within a framework that yields meaningful conclusions as opposed to simply a collection of interesting anecdotes?