‘Like a cinema when the last of the audience has gone and only the staff remain’: Biggles and (post )imperial heroism

Goodrum, M. (2019) ‘Like a cinema when the last of the audience has gone and only the staff remain’: Biggles and (post )imperial heroism. In: Korte, B., Wendt, S. and Falkenhayner, N., eds. Heroism As A Global Phenomenon in Contemporary Culture. Routledge Studies in Cultural History. Routledge. ISBN 9780367206659

Full text not available from this repository.

Abstract

This chapter explores the heroization of a fictional British pilot and adventurer between the 1930s and the 1980s. Created in 1932 as a more realistic representation of British experience of the First World War, Biggles soon became a conduit for attitudes about imperialism and its impact. Novels and stories about ‘Biggles’ came to be read and revered around the globe. The fictional hero’s global reach testifies to the ability of imperialist heroic figures to linger in European and non-European cultural imaginations long after decolonization.

The chapter argues that although the ideology of empire disseminated by these narratives was at times ambivalent and subject to change, Biggles’s adventures tended to affirm the legitimacy of white supremacy and the British Empire’s continuing political, economic, and cultural influence in its former colonies. By the 1970s, however, British authorities grew hesitant to uphold Biggles as an admirable imperialist hero. Today, the global appeal of his heroism has waned, suggesting that the imperialist heroic qualities he embodied are no longer compatible with postcolonial hero systems.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D0025 Military and naval history
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D0031 Political and diplomatic history
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain > DA0010 British Empire. Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Michael Goodrum
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2019 10:32
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2019 13:18
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/17988

Actions (login required)

Update Item (CReaTE staff only) Update Item (CReaTE staff only)

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Share

Connect with us

Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00