Profile Books

  • Imprint: Profile Books
  • Published: 04/02/2010
  • Price: £30.00
  • Format: Hardback
  • Extent: 544p
  • Edition Illustration Details: 16 pages colour plate section
  • ISBN: 9781861978592
  • Subject: Modern History,History
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Empires of the Imagination

Politics, War, and the Arts in the British World, 1750-1850

Holger Hoock

This scholarly yet highly accessible book illuminates the manifold ways in which the culture of power and the power of culture were interwoven and shaped the character of British public life.

Between the mid-18th and mid-19th centuries, Britain evolved from a substantial international power yet relative artistic backwater into a global superpower and a leading cultural force in Europe. In this original and wide-ranging book, Hoock illuminates the manifold ways in which the culture of power and the power of culture were interwoven in this period of dramatic change.

Britons invested artistic and imaginative effort to come to terms with the loss of the American colonies; to sustain the generation-long fight against Revolutionary and Napoleonic France; and to assert and legitimate their growing empire in India. Demonstrating how Britain fought international culture wars over prize antiquities from the Mediterranean and Near East, the book explores how Britons appropriated ancient cultures from the Mediterranean, the Near East, and India, and casts a fresh eye on iconic objects such as the Rosetta Stone and the Parthenon Marbles.

About the Author

Holger Hoock (b. 1972) is the Carroll J. Amundson Professor of British History at the University of Pittsburgh. His first book, The King's Artists: The Royal Academy of Arts and the Politics of British Culture (OUP, 2003), was runner-up for the 2004 Whitfield Prize in British History.


'A bold, provocative and ambitious book ... it presents a wide perspective on an exceptionally significant era for the British world', Ludmilla Jordanova, Professor of Modern History, King?s College London

'An excellent book, brimming with insights and splendid illustrations ... a sumptuous treat indeed', Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Telegraph

'Terrific', Simon Schama, Financial Times

'Chock full of vivid case studies ... beautifully done', Dan Jones, Spectator

'Beautifully produced, closely argued and deeply researched ... an important, weighty book. It deserves close scrutiny and a warm reception.', Professor Denis Judd, BBC History Magazine

'An ambitious, authoritative survey of British visual culture in an age of imperial ascent', Maya Jasanoff, Guardian

'Hoock's analysis is of an astonishing breadth. His narrative architecture renders his book pleasurable to the academic and the amateur historian alike. It proves equally entertaining and encyclopaedic by virtue of good story-telling ... by his deft discernment of pattern in detail, he proves himself master of his subject in this empire of political and artistic tales', Deborah Rosario, Oxonian Review

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