Empire of Diamonds

Victorian Gems in Imperial Settings
University of Virginia Press
  • erschienen am 19. Mai 2020
  • |
  • 296 Seiten
E-Book | ePUB mit Adobe-DRM | Systemvoraussetzungen
978-0-8139-4401-2 (ISBN)

In 1850, the legendary Koh-i-noor diamond, gem of Eastern potentates, was transferred from the Punjab in India and, in an elaborate ceremony, placed into Queen Victoria's outstretched hands. This act inaugurated what author Adrienne Munich recognizes in her engaging new book as the empire of diamonds.

Diamonds were a symbol of political power-only for the very rich and influential. But, in a development that also reflected the British Empire's prosperity, the idea of owning a diamond came to be marketed to the middle class. In all kinds of writings, diamonds began to take on an affordable romance. Considering many of the era's most iconic voices-from Dickens and Tennyson to Kipling and Stevenson-as well as grand entertainments such as The Moonstone, King Solomon's Mines, and the tales of Sherlock Holmes, Munich explores diamonds as fetishes that seem to contain a living spirit exerting powerful effects, and shows how they scintillated the literary and cultural imagination.

Based on close textual attention and rare archival material, and drawing on ideas from material culture, fashion theory, economic criticism, and fetishism, Empire of Diamonds interprets the various meanings of diamonds, revealing a trajectory including Indian celebrity-named diamonds reserved for Asian princes, such as the Great Mogul and the Hope Diamond, their adoption by British royal and aristocratic families, and their discovery in South Africa, the mining of which devastated the area even as it opened the gem up to the middle classes. The story Munich tells eventually finds its way to America, as power and influence cross the Atlantic, bringing diamonds to a wide consumer culture.

  • Englisch
  • Charlottesville
  • |
  • USA
10 color illus., 13 b&w illus.
  • 2,14 MB
978-0-8139-4401-2 (9780813944012)
weitere Ausgaben werden ermittelt
Adrienne Munich
  • Intro
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Diamond Stories, Diamond Settings
  • Part I-India: Gems from the Gods
  • 1: Conversions of the Last Maharajah of the Punjab and His Koh-i-noor Diamond
  • 2: The Moonstone's Sacred Masculinity
  • 3: Imitation India in Robert Louis Stevenson and Arthur Conan Doyle
  • 4: Kim as Jewel and Crown
  • Part II-England: Diamond Metropole
  • 5: Diamond Games for a Dead Man
  • 6: Ivanhoe's Racialized Legacy to English Diamond Novels
  • Color Illustration Gallery
  • Part III-South Africa: The Karoo Setting
  • 7: True Stories on the Diamond Fields
  • 8: The Scramble and the Scramblers
  • 9: Domestic Romance Adventures on the Diamond Fields
  • 10: Disavowed, Dispossessed Boers in Charlotte Mansfield and Olive Schreiner
  • Epilogue: America-A Diamond Is for Everyone
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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