Abstract

Abstract

The Australian gold rushes of the 1850s provide an exemplary test case for exploring the impact of Greater Britain—the settler colonial empire—on the Victorian novel and political economy. British gold diggers’ nomadism operated in seeming antithesis to the colonies’ explosive growth, which posed a conceptual challenge both to political economy’s stadial model of societal development and to liberal narratives of labor and land—narratives that underpinned concepts of individual character and civil society. Informed by colonial writing and the experience of gold fields, W. S. Jevons’s Theory of Political Economy (1871) and Anthony Trollope’s John Caldigate (1879) reimagine metropolitan space and subjectivity in settler-colonial terms, helping lay the ground for a deterritorialized, global British identity.

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