It is recognized, this text puts forward, that Western imperialism, of which the British Empire was a major part, played a crucial role in forming the modern world. The best-known literary works on the subject are the novels such as Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe", Rider Haggard's "She" and "King Solomon's Mines", Kipling's "Kim", Forster's "A Passage to India" and Orwell's "Burmese Days". This anthology offers the contribution of poetry in the formation of attitudes to the Empire from 1598 to the late 20th century. The poems themselves reveal how ideas about Empire came to be developed from Elizabethan adventurism, through the 17th and 18th centuries' cult of commerce (in which the slave trade played a part) to High Victorian Imperialism, and beyond into our own period of the end of the Empire. This anthology offers a range of poetry published in Britain from 1598 onwards which has dealt with the British Empire. The poems are drawn from a cultural range, over a period of more than 350 years and include conventional poetry, popular poetry, hymns and ballads.
Peter Faulkner is Reader in Modern English Literature, University of Exeter. He is currently editor of the Journal of the William Morris Society. The late Chris Brooks was Senior Lecturer in Victorian Studies, University of Exeter. He was also national Chair of the Victorian Society and a Trustee of the Albert Memorial.