Lesser Breeds: Racial Attitudes in Popular British Fiction, 1890-1940
If, drunk with sight of power, we loose Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe-- Such boasting as the Gentiles use Or lesser breeds without the law-- (Rudyard Kipling, from Recessional) 'Lesser Breeds' focuses on racism as manifested in the popular culture of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Britain, exemplified by attitudes to the Chinese, Arabs, Blacks and Jews. This compelling book investigates the manifold expressions of prejudice in the popular arts of the period. Like Diamond's successful Victorian Sensation, this is a comparative exploration of how popular racism was naturalised, what issues it raised and fed off, and what this said about British people at the time. One of the author's key concerns is the way in which the popular media feeds on stereotypes, which go on to reinforce relatively uninformed cultural and social assumptions. The parallel to our own cultural and political climate is compelling. This fascinating title will be of interest given the current trend of tabloid racism; it will also appeal to a general and unfailing interest in the intriguingly vulgar British Empire.
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