“In Far Cathay”: Representations of China in The Boy’s Own Paper, 1879–1914
- Shih-Wen Chen
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This paper considers how “knowledge” of China was presented for Victorian and Edwardian children in The Boy’s Own Paper (BOP) between 1879 and 1914. It considers how genre affects the representation of China in the BOP by comparing travel narratives and adventure stories. First, it focuses on non-fiction about China, examining the rhetorical strategies employed by the authors of travel narratives. The travellers express confidence in their ability to survey the land and present readers with the idea that China is abundant in resources awaiting British discovery. Second, the article discusses adventure stories about opium and piracy written during a period when the tension between the British and the Chinese was particularly fraught over these issues. While the authors of the adventure stories created a strong contrast between the Chinese as villains and the British as heroes, the BOP travel writers provide contradictory statements within their narratives, reflecting an ambivalence about China and the Chinese. However, because the BOP contributors sought to instil a sense of patriotism, to inspire their readers to serve the British Empire, both the non-fiction travel narratives and the fictional adventure stories related to China were published not only to entertain readers with exotic facts and thrilling stories, but more importantly, to persuade them of the necessity of British intervention.
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- “In Far Cathay”: Representations of China in The Boy’s Own Paper, 1879–1914
Children's Literature in Education
Volume 44, Issue 2 , pp 156-173
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- Print ISSN
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- Springer Netherlands
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- The Boy’s Own Paper
- Travel narratives
- Adventure stories
- Shih-Wen Chen (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Australian Centre on China in the World, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University, H.C. Coombs Building #9, Canberra, ACT, 0200, Australia