The British Empire drew on the talents of many remarkable figures, whose lives reveal a wonderfully rich involvement with the crucial issues of the period. In many cases they left a legacy of travel writing, novels, biography and ethnography which made important contributions to our knowledge of other cultures."Writing, Travel and Empire" explores the lives and writings of eight such figures, including Sir George Grey, Gertrude Bell, Sir Hugh Clifford, and Roger Casement. All travelled the Empire - from Grey, the renowned colonial governor who undertook dangerous journeys to the interior of Australia, to Tom Harrisson, the emaciated polymath, war hero and Arctic explorer, whose time in the New Hebrides embraced both cannibalistic rituals and a meeting with film legend Douglas Fairbanks Sr, who sought Harrisson out for a Hollywood feature about savage life.All saw themselves as writers, despite their very different approaches and interests, and each was writing against a backdrop of the impending disappearance of indigenous cultures around the world.
Writing from the margins of what was shortly to become the more formalised discipline of anthropology, their work yields interesting insights into both the issues of empire and the ways in which academic disciplines define the boundaries of their subject. Embracing themes such as gender and travel, racial science, the globalisation of 'native management' and the internal colonies, and with a geographical coverage that extends from South America to Russia via Africa and the South Seas, "Writing Travel and Empire" will engage all those with an interest in cultural geography, anthropology, history, postcolonial studies, biography and travel writing.