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Literature, immigration and diaspora in fin-de-siecle England: a cultural history of the 1905 Aliens Act

Literature, immigration and diaspora in fin-de-siecle England: a cultural history of the 1905 Aliens Act

Glover, David, 1946-

The 1905 Aliens Act was the first modern law to restrict immigration to British shores. In this book, David Glover asks how it was possible for Britain, a nation that had prided itself on offering asylum to refugees, to pass such legislation. Tracing the ways that the legal notion of the 'alien' became a national-racist epithet indistinguishable from the figure of 'the Jew', Glover argues that the literary and popular entertainments of fin de siècle Britain perpetuated a culture of xenophobia. Reconstructing the complex socio-political field known as 'the alien question', Glover examines the work of George Eliot, Israel Zangwill, Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad, together with forgotten writers like Margaret Harkness, Edgar Wallace and James Blyth. By linking them to the beliefs and ideologies that circulated via newspapers, periodicals, political meetings, Royal Commissions, patriotic melodramas and social surveys, Glover sheds new light on dilemmas about nationality, borders and citizenship

eBook, Electronic resource, Book. English. Electronic books.
Published Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012
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Statement of responsibility: David Glove
ISBN: 1139532081, 9781107022812, 9781139532082
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Physical Description: x, 229 p. : ill.
Subject: Immigration; Literature; Immigrants in literature.; Immigrants Great Britain Public opinion History 19th century.; Immigrants Great Britain.; Literature and society Great Britain History 20th century.; Emigration and immigration law Great Britain History 20th century.; National characteristics, British.; Great Britain Emigration and immigration History 20th century.
Reproduction: Electronic reproduction. Dawson Books. Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Other formats: Also available in printed form.


  1. List of illustrations
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. Introduction
  4. 1. Messianic neutrality: George Eliot and the politics of national identity
  5. 2. Palaces and sweatshops: East End fictions and East End politics
  6. 3. Counterpublics of anti-Semitism
  7. 4. Writing the 1905 Aliens Act
  8. 5. Restriction and its discontents
  9. Afterword
  10. Notes
  11. Index.


'A painstakingly researched study.' The Times Literary Supplement