Engines of Empire: Steamships and the Victorian Imagination by Douglas R. Burgess PDF

By Douglas R. Burgess

In 1859, the S.S. nice Eastern departed from England on her maiden voyage. She used to be a awesome ask yourself of the 19th century: an iron urban longer than Trafalgar sq., taller than significant Ben's tower, heavier than Westminster Cathedral. Her paddles have been the dimensions of Ferris wheels; her decks may carry 4 thousand passengers certain for the US, or 10000 troops sure for the Raj. but she ended her days as a floating carnival sooner than being unceremoniously dismantled in 1889.

Steamships just like the Great Eastern occupied a novel position within the Victorian brain. Crossing oceans, ferrying travelers and troops alike, they grew to become trademarks of nationalism, modernity, and humankind's overcome the tough components. through the 19th century, the spectacle of a ship's release used to be probably the most recognizable symbols of British social and technological development. but this social gathering of the ability of the empire masked overconfidence and a nearly non secular veneration of expertise. Equating steam with civilization had catastrophic effects for subjugated peoples worldwide.

Engines of Empire tells the tale of the advanced courting among Victorians and their wondrous steamships, following well-known tourists like Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Jules Verne in addition to usual spectators, travelers, and imperial directors as they crossed oceans sure for the colonies. wealthy with anecdotes and wry humor, it's a attention-grabbing glimpse right into a international the place an empire felt robust and something appeared possible—if there has been an engine at the back of it.

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Engines of Empire: Steamships and the Victorian Imagination by Douglas R. Burgess


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