in Englishness and Empire 1939-1965

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780199226641
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191718069 | DOI:

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This chapter shows that stories of colonial wars and immigration set ‘little England’ in opposition to a multiracial Commonwealth. Stories about ‘the colour problem’ invoked national identity as quiet, private, intimate, domestic, and white — Englishness, not Britishness. As the Commonwealth acquired its new meaning of domestic problem, its promise of maintaining and modernizing a globalized British identity and its claim to demonstrate Britain as a tolerant and decent nation clashed with a very different story: Englishness was threatened by empire, by Commonwealth, and by their legacies — not only in empire, but at home.

Keywords: British culture; immigration; narratives; empire; Commonwealth

Chapter.  14958 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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