Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Lineages of EmpireThe Historical Roots of British Imperial Thought$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Duncan Kelly

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264393

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264393.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Virgil and the British Empire, 1760–1880

Virgil and the British Empire, 1760–1880

Chapter:
(p.82) (p.83) 4 Virgil and the British Empire, 1760–1880
Source:
Lineages of Empire
Author(s):

Phiroze Vasunia

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197264393.003.0004

This chapter reflects on the readings and uses of Virgil in British imperial contexts during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The British interest in Virgil heightened during the middle of the eighteenth century, when Britain was establishing its Second Empire. In the age of Elizabeth I and Shakespeare, Virgil was often deployed by writers in different imperial situations. Writers such as Edward Gibbon turned to Virgil not because of a desire to promote monarchical imperialism but with the aim of evaluating the mechanism of the empire, to explore its limits and contradictions, and to question its durability. In Victoria’s reign, when the empire in India seemed to several Britons to be long lasting, many prominent figures highlighted the providential and prophetic interpretations of Virgil, and speculated about an empire that was divinely ordained and infinite. Among these prominent personages were Tennyson, Auden, Bryce, and so on. These themes of British Empire within the context of Virgil’s writings are examined from the time of Gibbon to the Victorians, in order to describe the interweaving relationships and patterns that link Virgil and the history of the empire.

Keywords:   Virgil, British imperial context, Second Empire, Gibbon, Tennyson, Auden, Bryce, interpretations of Virgil, Elizabeth I, Victorians

British Academy Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.