Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire

Paperback | November 15, 2002

byDavid Cannadine

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With the return of Hong Kong to the Chinese government in 1997, the empire that had lasted three hundred years and "upon which the sun never set" finally lost its hold on the world and slipped into history. But the question of how we understand the British Empire--its origins, nature, purpose,and effect on the world it ruled--is far from settled. In this incisive work, David Cannadine looks at the British Empire from a new perspective--through the eyes of those who created and ruled it--and offers fresh insight into the driving forces behind the Empire. Arguing against the views ofEdward Said and others, Cannadine suggests that the British were motivated not only by race, but also by class. The British wanted to domesticate the exotic world of their colonies and to reorder the societies they ruled according to an idealized image of their own class hierarchies.

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With the return of Hong Kong to the Chinese government in 1997, the empire that had lasted three hundred years and "upon which the sun never set" finally lost its hold on the world and slipped into history. But the question of how we understand the British Empire--its origins, nature, purpose,and effect on the world it ruled--is far fr...

David Cannadine is Professor of History and Director of the Institute of Historical Research at London University. He is the author of many acclaimed books including The Rise and Fall of Class in Britain, and G.M. Trevelyan: A Life in History.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 5.39 × 8.07 × 0.55 inPublished:November 15, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019515794X

ISBN - 13:9780195157949

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"A lively account...The basic, and quite intriguing, argument is that the British designed their empire not on the basis of racial subjugation, but of class privilege - the same hierarchy of class privilege that guided and ruled British society itself...Ornamentalism is as entertaining in itsanecdotes as it is thought- provoking."--Boston Globe