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The Victorian Geopolitical AestheticRealism, Sovereignty, and Transnational Experience$
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Lauren M. E. Goodlad

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198728276

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198728276.001.0001

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Trollopian “Foreign Policy”

Trollopian “Foreign Policy”

Rootedness and Cosmopolitanism in the Mid-Victorian Global Imaginary

(p.65) 3 Trollopian “Foreign Policy”
The Victorian Geopolitical Aesthetic

Lauren M. E. Goodlad

Oxford University Press

An avid travel writer, who was also an astute ethnographer of provincial and metropolitan lifeworlds, Anthony Trollope’s richly sociological variations on the geopolitical aesthetic included multiple genre experiments. Although he embraced the “Greater British” vision of trade and settlement, Trollope was at best ambivalent about territorial empire and stridently critical of Disraeli’s Tory imperialism. Chapter 3 elucidates the centripetal and centrifugal cross-currents in his oeuvre. Trollope’s Barsetshire fiction eulogized England’s rootedness while his travel narratives affirmed far-flung global expansion—thus creating a two-part “foreign policy” that played “heirloom” sovereignty off against “cosmopolitan” expansion. In the 1870s, this tense dialectic collapsed, ushering in the “naturalistic narrative of capitalist globalization.” In vividly dramatizing the experience of breached sovereignty and the trope of the alien insider, novels such as The Prime Minister instanced a naturalistic variation on sociological realism, which arose prior to the influence of Zola.

Keywords:   Anthony Trollope, naturalism, heirloom sovereignty, rooted cosmopolitanism, Greater Britain, Barsetshire novels, Palliser novels, realism, geopolitical aesthetic

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