The Indian Mutiny and the Victorian Soul


ACLS Fellowship Program




Victorian writers long described the Indian Mutiny of 1857 as a "terrible break" in history and a national trauma never to be healed. This project explores the profound impact of the Mutiny on the Victorian psyche by studying representations of it across a broad array of Victorian writing. I focus on evidence of lacerating contradictions in Victorian Mutiny narratives, particularly with regard to brutalities committed by the "Army of Retribution" in putting down the rebellion. Mutiny literature, I argue, dramatized a pathological instability at the heart of British national character and helped originate the unraveling of the Victorian fabric of values that took place in the second half of the nineteenth century.