Meanings of Modernity: Britain from the Late-Victorian Era to World War II

Overview

While conceptions of the 'modern' have been intensively and fruitfully studied from a variety of perspectives in the context of continental European history, scholars of Britain have hardly addressed the history of the first industrial nation and the world's leading colonial power in this register, despite its enormous cultural influence.

In examining British conceptions and expressions of modernity —from Victorian debates about 'national character' to breathtaking exhibitions ...

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Overview

While conceptions of the 'modern' have been intensively and fruitfully studied from a variety of perspectives in the context of continental European history, scholars of Britain have hardly addressed the history of the first industrial nation and the world's leading colonial power in this register, despite its enormous cultural influence.

In examining British conceptions and expressions of modernity —from Victorian debates about 'national character' to breathtaking exhibitions of artefacts such as the 'moving pavement' that would revolutionize the future appearance of cities, to debates about the impact of new forms of production and consumption, mass communication and travel — this book fills the gap.

Is it true, as Virginia Woolf observed upon seeing the first London exhibition of work by Manet and the Post-Impressionists that 'On or about December 1910 human character changed'? Do men and women experience modernity in the same way? How did contemporaries make sense of the changing social worlds they inhabited? How were conflicting visions of modernity, technology and social change expressed in: advertisements and branding; art, architecture and design; business and commerce; mysticism and mountaineering; new approaches to psychology and the self; and colonial discourse?

These wide-ranging issues are addressed by internationally acclaimed experts in the history of science, intellectual history, gender studies, consumption and empire studies. The result is a multifaceted and innovative foray into British cultural history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is most useful as a work of reference." —English Historical Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859734964
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 1/1/2001
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 1
  • Lexile: 1740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Daunton is a Professor of Economic History, at University of Cambridge.

Bernhard Rieger is an Assistant Professor of History at Iowa State University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Notes on Contributors
1 Introduction 1
Pt. I Popular Culture, Selfhood and Modernity
2 Travelling in the Lady Guides' London: Consumption, Modernity, and the Fin-de-siecle Metropolis 25
3 Advertising the Modernist Aesthetic of the Marketplace? The Cultural Relationship Between the Tobacco Manufacturer and the 'Mass' of Consumers in Britain, 1870-1940 45
4 Occultism and the 'Modern' Self in Fin-de-siecle Britain 71
5 Psychology and the 'Consciousness of Modernity' in Early Twentieth-Century Britain 97
Pt. II The Historical Dimensions of British Modernity
6 The Consciousness of Modernity? Liberalism and the English 'National Character', 1870-1940 119
7 Envisioning the Future: British and German Reactions to the Paris World Fair in 1900 145
8 Modernity, Community and History: Narratives of Innovation in the British Coal Industry 165
Pt. III Empire and British Notions of Modernity
9 Modern Mountains: The Performative Consciousness of Modernity in Britain, 1870-1940 185
10 Modernity and Trusteeship: Tensions of Empire in Britain Between the Wars 203
11 From Somebodies to Nobodies: Britons Returning Home from India 221
Index 241
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