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Englishness and Empire 1939-1965

Wendy Webster

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780199226641
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191718069 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226641.001.0001
Englishness and Empire 1939-1965

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Did loss of imperial power and the end of empire have any significant impact on British culture and identity after 1945? Within a burgeoning literature on national identity and what it means to be British this is a question that has received surprisingly little attention. This book is about the recent debates about the domestic consequences of the end of empire. This book explores popular narratives of nation in the mainstream media archive — newspapers, newsreels, radio, film, and television. The contours of the study generally follow stories told through prolific filmic and television imagery: the Second World War, the Coronation and Everest, colonial wars of the 1950s, and Winston Churchill's funeral. The book analyses three main narratives that conflicted and collided in the period — a Commonwealth that promised to maintain Britishness as a global identity; siege narratives of colonial wars and immigration that showed a ‘little England’ threatened by empire and its legacies; and a story of national greatness, celebrating the martial masculinity of British officers and leaders, through which imperial identity leaked into narratives of the Second World War developed after 1945. The book also explores the significance of America to post-imperial Britain. This book considers how far, and in what contexts and unexpected places, imperial identity and loss of imperial power resonated in popular narratives of nation.

Keywords: imperial power; end of empire; British culture; British identity; Commonwealth; Britishness; little England; post-imperial Britain

Book.  272 pages. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Englishness and Empire 1939-1965

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The People’s Empire and the People’s War in Englishness and Empire 1939-1965

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<b>The Post-War People’s Empire</b> in Englishness and Empire 1939-1965

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Coronation Britain in Englishness and Empire 1939-1965

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Colonial Wars in Englishness and Empire 1939-1965

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<b>Immigration</b> in Englishness and Empire 1939-1965

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Elegies for Empire: The Romance of Manliness in Englishness and Empire 1939-1965

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Epilogue in Englishness and Empire 1939-1965

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