Corporate Character: Representing Imperial Power in British India, 1786-1901

By Eddy Kent

© 2014

The vastness of Britain’s nineteenth-century empire and the gap between imperial policy and colonial practice demanded an institutional culture that encouraged British administrators to identify the interests of imperial service as their own. In Corporate Character, Eddy Kent examines novels, short stories, poems, essays, memoirs, private correspondence, and parliamentary speeches related to the East India Company and its effective successor, the Indian Civil Service, to explain the origins of this imperial ethos of “virtuous service.”

Exploring the appointment, training, and management of Britain’s overseas agents alongside the writing of public intellectuals such as Edmund Burke, Thomas Malthus, Thomas Babington Macaulay, and J.S. Mill, Kent explains the origins of the discourse of “virtuous empire” as an example of corporate culture and explores its culmination in Anglo-Indian literature like Rudyard Kipling’s Kim. Challenging narratives of British imperialism that focus exclusively on race or nation, Kent’s book is the first to study how corporate ways of thinking and feeling influenced British imperial life.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 240 pages
  • Illustrations: 1
  • Dimensions: 6.5in x 0.9in x 9.3in
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  • PUBLISHED OCT 2014

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Quick Overview

Eddy Kent examines novels, short stories, poems, essays, memoirs, private correspondence, and parliamentary speeches related to the East India Company and the Indian Civil Service to explain the origins of the imperial ethos of “virtuous service.”

Corporate Character: Representing Imperial Power in British India, 1786-1901

By Eddy Kent

© 2014

The vastness of Britain’s nineteenth-century empire and the gap between imperial policy and colonial practice demanded an institutional culture that encouraged British administrators to identify the interests of imperial service as their own. In Corporate Character, Eddy Kent examines novels, short stories, poems, essays, memoirs, private correspondence, and parliamentary speeches related to the East India Company and its effective successor, the Indian Civil Service, to explain the origins of this imperial ethos of “virtuous service.”

Exploring the appointment, training, and management of Britain’s overseas agents alongside the writing of public intellectuals such as Edmund Burke, Thomas Malthus, Thomas Babington Macaulay, and J.S. Mill, Kent explains the origins of the discourse of “virtuous empire” as an example of corporate culture and explores its culmination in Anglo-Indian literature like Rudyard Kipling’s Kim. Challenging narratives of British imperialism that focus exclusively on race or nation, Kent’s book is the first to study how corporate ways of thinking and feeling influenced British imperial life.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 240 pages
  • Illustrations: 1
  • Dimensions: 6.5in x 0.9in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘A thought-provoking and well-researched study… This is an important and innovative revisionist contribution to the scholarship on British imperial rule in India.’


    David A. Campion
    Canadian Journal of History vol 51:03:2016

    ‘The range of material that Kent unpacks to show how corporate culture solidified imperial power through practices, policies, and administrative structures makes Corporate Character an invaluable addition to the corpus of critical work on the British Empire.’


    Nandi Bhatia
    English Studies in Canada vol 41:03:2015

    ‘Kent’s work raises intriguing questions about the motives and personalities that shaped British imperialism… It offers a fresh perspective on imperial history.’


    Greg Mole
    H-Net/H-War September 2016

    ‘This book’s most significant contribution is its blurring of often-strict lines drawn between approaches of Company and Crown; the relatively smooth shift from the ideal of corporation as a body sharing fellowship, custom, and interest to the institutions, formal laws, and contracts of the mid-to-late nineteenth century.’


    Dorothy F. Lane
    Canadian Literature 223 / winter 2014

    Corporate Character persuasively argues that the trial of Warren Hastings produced the beginnings of a new imperial culture within the British East India Company. Among the book’s many strengths are its lucid, incisive prose and its adroit handling of the scholarship on which it builds.”
    Suzanne Daly, Department of English, University of Massachusetts Amherst

    Corporate Character is a timely and valuable contribution to studies of empire and the exercise of imperial authority. Kent explores how imperial ideology reproduced itself, not only through discourse but through the agents of empire. It is time for literary studies to engage more systematically with the corporate aspect of empire and Corporate Character is an excellent start.”


    Laura Peters, Department of English and Creative Writing, University of Roehampton
  • Author Information

    Eddy Kent is an assistant professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta.
  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgements

    Preface: The 8,000 Mile Screwdriver

    Introduction: Empire’s Corporate Culture

    1. Corruption and the Corporation: The Impeachment of Warren Hastings

    2. How the Civil Service Got its Name: India as a Noble Profession

    3. Representing Working Conditions in Company India

    4. Corporate Culture in Post-Company India

    5. Unmaking a Company Man: Rudyard Kipling’s Kim

    Conclusion: Out of India

    Works Cited

    Index

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