Literature, Immigration, and Diaspora in Fin-de-Siecle England: A Cultural History of the 1905 Aliens Act

Overview

The 1905 Aliens Act was the first modern law to restrict immigration to British shores. In this book, David Glover asks how it was possible for Britain, a nation that had prided itself on offering asylum to refugees, to pass such legislation. Tracing the ways that the legal notion of the "alien" became a national-racist epithet indistinguishable from the figure of "the Jew," Glover argues that the literary and popular entertainments of fin de siècle Britain perpetuated a culture of xenophobia. Reconstructing the ...
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Literature, Immigration, and Diaspora in Fin-de-Siecle England

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Overview

The 1905 Aliens Act was the first modern law to restrict immigration to British shores. In this book, David Glover asks how it was possible for Britain, a nation that had prided itself on offering asylum to refugees, to pass such legislation. Tracing the ways that the legal notion of the "alien" became a national-racist epithet indistinguishable from the figure of "the Jew," Glover argues that the literary and popular entertainments of fin de siècle Britain perpetuated a culture of xenophobia. Reconstructing the complex socio-political field known as "the alien question," Glover examines the work of George Eliot, Israel Zangwill, Rudyard Kipling, and Joseph Conrad, together with forgotten writers like Margaret Harkness, Edgar Wallace, and James Blyth. By linking them to the beliefs and ideologies that circulated via newspapers, periodicals, political meetings, Royal Commissions, patriotic melodramas, and social surveys, Glover sheds new light on dilemmas about nationality, borders, and citizenship that remain vital today.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'A painstakingly researched study.' The Times Literary Supplement
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781107022812
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/24/2012
  • Pages: 260
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

David Glover is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Southampton, where he teaches courses on cultural theory, Irish literature, and Victorian and Edwardian literature and culture. He is the author of Vampires, Mummies, and Liberals: Bram Stoker and the Politics of Popular Fiction (1996) and Genders (2000 and 2009) and has recently co-edited The Cambridge Companion to Popular Fiction.
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Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Acknowledgments; Introduction; 1. Messianic neutrality: George Eliot and the politics of national identity; 2. Palaces and sweatshops: East End fictions and East End politics; 3. Counterpublics of anti-Semitism; 4. Writing the 1905 Aliens Act; 5. Restriction and its discontents; Afterword; Notes; Index.
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