The Wake of Wellington
Englishness in 1852
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: Ohio University Press
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The idea for this book originated in 1995 when I took up a postdoctoral fellowship at Birkbeck College, University of London, with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; the council has been generous with subsequent support in the form of a standard research grant with attached...
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This is a book about the First Duke of Wellington’s posthumous symbolization as a rallying sign for the English nation. It examines the duke’s legacy as it was constructed, amplified, defended, and contested in Britain in and after 1852, the year of his death and his extraordinary state funeral. I am not interested in writing...
A Chronology of the Duke of Wellington
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Chapter One. Aftereffects: Wellington and Englishness
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WELLINGTON'S death diversified considerably the field of possibilities for imaginative investments in him. As Graham Dawson has observed, the death of military heroes in the nineteenth century inevitably resulted in a proliferation of ennobling narratives in which their deeds “were invested with the new significance...
Chapter Two. First Rehearsal: Exhibition
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THE STORY of the Crystal Palace and its assembly of manufactured articles in Hyde Park has been so frequently rehearsed that the 1851 exhibition’s status as one of “the most influential representative bod[ies] of the nineteenth century” is now widely accepted,¹ even if its capacity to successfully advertise and champion...
Chapter Three. Second Rehearsal: Simplicity
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BEARING in mind that both exhibition and funeral were caught up in the same enterprise—the enhancement of national prestige via the pomp and circumstance of public display, as well as the marketing of English goods and of Englishness itself—the actual staging of the funeral can be viewed as an impressive exercise in deft planning and organization. Wellington’s death came quickly, and even...
Chapter Four. The Waiting Game: Selling Wellington and Crowd Anxiety
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A MERE two weeks after Wellington’s death, the Age, a London weekly, noted with some disdain that “every shop window from Hammersmith to Bow [was] filled with scores on scores of pictures of the late Duke—pictures of him at every age, in every dress, in every attitude, and in every circumstance...
Chapter Five. Obsequies and Sanctification
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WELLINGTON'S common sense and supposed love for the simple life were not, in the end, to result in a funeral that reflected the continence of his habits. Once the duke’s body was formally taken into the possession of the Crown, a guard of honor was placed around the coffin as it lay at Walmer, where more than ten thousand people viewed the casket as it awaited conveyance to London...
Chapter Six. Irish Opposition
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THE WAR of words that took place between the English and Irish presses during the sixty-five days that Wellington’s body awaited burial was not so much an anomalous contest engendered by the unique circumstance of the duke’s death as it was a subplot in a continuing struggle between margin and center that received a pronounced charge from this circumstance and long outlived it. In this sense...
Chapter Seven. Epilogue: The Hyde Park Corner Controversy
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IN 1881, the London Board of Works arranged to dismantle and move the triumphal arch at Hyde Park Corner 105 yards southeast along Constitution Hill in order to smooth the flow of congested traffic.When it learned of the plan, the Royal Academy of Arts was quick to suggest that the colossal memorial perched on top of Decimus Burton’s 1828 landmark be permanently removed. The sixty-ton...
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Publication Year: 2006