Today, the “rise” of China is omnipresent: whether articulated as opportunity or threat, expected or surprising, China's global prominence is consistently proclaimed as new and noteworthy. Yet the Victorians held similar beliefs that China was rising in importance, and that its rise was integrally tied to the success of the West. This book traces the development of this perception of China and the Chinese from the Opium Wars to the 1911 demise of the Qing dynasty. It surveys an array of literary and cultural materials, from short stories produced by British expatriates in China and distributed locally to representations of the Chinese on the British stage, from the sensational fiction surrounding the Chinese community in London's East End to turn-of-the-century invasion novels with their “Yellow Peril” villains. Ross Forman demonstrates that China, as much as India, occupied the Victorian imagination; in so doing, he reassesses British imperialism in Asia.
Available through Cambridge University Press