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War of No Pity:
The Indian Mutiny and Victorian Trauma
Christopher Herbert

Paperback | 2009 | $31.95 / £21.95 | ISBN: 9780691143309
352 pp. | 6 x 9 | 8 halftones.
Hardcover | 2007 | $59.95 / £41.95 | ISBN: 9780691133324
336 pp. | 6 x 9 | 8 halftones. | SHOPPING CART

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On May 11, 1857, Hindu and Muslim sepoys massacred British residents and native Christians in Delhi, setting off both the whirlwind of similar violence that engulfed Bengal in the following months and an answering wave of rhetorical violence in Britain, where the uprising against British rule in India was often portrayed as a clash of civilization and barbarity demanding merciless retribution. Although by twentieth-century standards the number of victims was small, the Victorian public saw "the Indian Mutiny" of 1857-59 as an epochal event. In this provocative book, Christopher Herbert seeks to discover why. He offers a view of this episode--and of Victorian imperialist culture more generally--sharply at odds with the standard formulations of postcolonial scholarship. Drawing on a wealth of largely overlooked and often mesmerizing nineteenth-century texts, including memoirs, histories, letters, works of journalism, and novels, War of No Pity shows that the startling ferocity of the conflict in India provoked a crisis of national conscience and a series of searing if often painfully ambivalent condemnations of British actions in India both prior to and during the war. Bringing to light the dissident, disillusioned, antipatriotic strain of Victorian "mutiny writing," Herbert locates in it key forerunners of modern-day antiwar literature and the modern critique of racism.

Review:

"War of No Pity is a vital and vitally important work of literary, cultural, and historical criticism, one that no student of the Victorian period can afford not to know."--Stephen Arata, Victorian Studies

"Christopher Herbert has done postcolonialists, Victorianists, and indeed anyone interested in modern violence a remarkable service in reading a vast amount of Mutiny literature and returning to tell the tale of it. War of No Pity explicates the kind of violence that can ensue between any us and any them, given the recurrent conditions of empire, in all of its forms and fictions."--Elaine Freedgood, Criticism

"A most impressive study of colonial relations and India is Christopher Herbert's War of No Pity: The Indian Mutiny and Victorian Trauma that, in great and significant detail, does away with as many presuppositions as possible."--Ann C. Colley, Studies in English Literature

"[T]his is an excellent book, admirable in its scope and depth, thoroughly enjoyable, and very thought provoking."--Michael J. Turner, Journal of British Studies

"Students of Britain's nineteenth-century empire owe Herbert a considerable debt for the sheer volume of Mutiny references, both popular and highbrow, he has assembled here. . . . Herbert has given us new and compelling reasons to return to the Mutiny as a watershed, if not the watershed, moment in the making of Victorian imperial culture."--Antoinette Burton, Journal of Modern History

"It should be required reading for every scholar of Victorian culture and above all for students of imperialism and the Empire."--Thomas William Heyck, European Legacy

"[T]his is an exemplary exercise in the subtle fusing of historical and literary methods, and Herbert is to be congratulated on producing a genuinely original and thought provoking book."--Maria Misra, The Historian

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Table of Contents:

List of Illustrations xi
Acknowledgments xiii
INTRODUCTION: Jingoism, Warmongering, Racism 1
CHAPTER ONE: Diabolical Possession and the National Conscience 19
CHAPTER TWO: Three Parables of Violence 58
CHAPTER THREE: The Culture of Retribution: Capital Punishment, Maurice Dering, Flotsam 99
CHAPTER FOUR: The Mutiny in Victorian Historiography 134
CHAPTER FIVE: The Infernal Kingdom of A Tale of Two Cities 205
CHAPTER SIX: Lady Audley's Secret: The Mutiny, the Gothic, and the Feminine 239
EPILOGUE: Fiction Fair and Foul: Novels of the Mutiny 273
Notes 289
Works Cited 307
Index 317

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    File created: 11/10/2014

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