All Red Routes: Blood Brotherhood and the Post in Doyle, Kipling, and Stoker

Kate Thomas

in Postal Pleasures

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199730919
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918461 | DOI:
All Red Routes: Blood Brotherhood and the Post in Doyle, Kipling, and Stoker

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The British empire was made of colonies marked red on the map; an infamously disparate geography that was governed at a distance. These colonies were linked by a vast web of telegraph and postal routes known as the "all red routes." This trope turned the language of blood ties into a prosthetic kinship relation, appropriate given that the bureaucracy of empire was held together by mobile homosocial bonds. This chapter focuses on America as the "lost boy" of the British empire, playing a defining role in the way that Victorians thought about the consequences of expansion. Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling and Bram Stoker were all invested in the late-century Anglo-American Reunion movement that ran a prominent campaign for an Imperial Penny Post under a rhetoric of brotherhood fuelled by fantasies of homosocial alliance and racial continence. The chapter concludes by pointing out that post-colonial theory’s structuring metaphor of "the empire writes back" is a postal metaphor, one that reverses fantasies of white brotherhood.

Keywords: post office; queer; race; arthur conan doyle; rudyard kipling; bram stoker; british empire; literature; victorian; imperialism

Chapter.  30649 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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