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Queen Boudica and Historical Culture in BritainAn Image of Truth$
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Martha Vandrei

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198816720

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198816720.001.0001

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‘Too strange to be popular’

‘Too strange to be popular’

Negotiating Past and Present in Early Nineteenth-century Historical Culture

(p.115) 4 ‘Too strange to be popular’
Queen Boudica and Historical Culture in Britain

Martha Vandrei

Oxford University Press

Chapter 4 brings the discussion into the nineteenth century, the period most often associated with the development of both popular history and modern historical scholarship. It focuses on new audiences for history—particularly women and girls—while also noting the crossovers that existed between this period and earlier ones. However, this wider audience for Boudica—and indeed for history in general—is itself a product of a much longer process of development. This chapter investigates lesser-known works of the early nineteenth century to show how the act of creating the past can also be viewed as a form of reception, drawing on existing notions of enduring historical ideas. This chapter also seeks to question the conventional scholarly notion that present concerns hold precedence in reconstructions of the past. In particular, it examines Boudica’s mid-Victorian reputation and the expansion of Britain’s empire.

Keywords:   mid-Victorian, women’s literature, didacticism, poetry, empire, uses of the past, popular history, literary history

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