The “Stanley Craze”

Edward Berenson

in Heroes of Empire

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780520234277
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947191 | DOI:
The “Stanley Craze”

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Henry Morton Stanley became as affluent as the aristocrats, bankers, and businessmen who extolled his heroism and manly strength. His mission was an abject failure, a bitter and grueling wild goose chase that needlessly cost hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lives. The success of Stanley's expedition depended on the Arab leader's ability to procure porters to transport the mission's huge stock of supplies. Having reassembled his Advance and Rear columns, Stanley set out yet again to cross the Ituri rain forest. The “Stanley craze,” expressed itself not only in the crowds assembled at his public events but also in the thousands of unsolicited letters he received. The “Stanley craze” was so all-embracing, so widespread, and so rare for someone of his humble background that it seemed to say something important about modern life—or at least about what is now called the mass media. The “Stanley craze” turned into the “Stanley Scandal”.

Keywords: Henry Morton Stanley; Stanley craze; Stanley Scandal; Ituri rain forest; mass media

Chapter.  17204 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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