Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History


This work began as an investigation of the role that literature played in conveying imperialistic values to children during the Victorian period. Over the course of my research into the fiction of H. Rider Haggard and Rudyard Kipling, I began to question the role of masculinity in the imperial project. This work has developed out of that line of thought. Maintaining and defending the British Empire was a man’s business, and as such the British required a generation of men that held the masculine ideals and values required to undertake such an endeavor. This need manifested itself in many ways, such as in the fictional stories that boys read. Having lived abroad in the colonial possessions of the British Empire, Haggard and Kipling both understood and lived this ideal, and this presented itself in their respective writings. Masculinity plays a major role in each of these two author’s writings. Both authors make use of characters and themes that push the Victorian ideas of manliness onto the young male readers that so readily devoured their works. This thesis examines the role of masculinity in Victorian society and in the lives and works of both Haggard and Kipling. Furthermore, this same examination of the role of masculinity in juvenile literature could easily be undertaken for several other authors of the period.

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