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Globalization and the Great Exhibition: the Victorian new world order

Globalization and the Great Exhibition: the Victorian new world order

Young, Paul, 1973-

This title foregrounds a capitalists vision of peace and progress which took hold of British society in 1851, emphasizing that this Victorian understanding of global order legitimized imperial ambition

eBook, Electronic resource, Book. English. Electronic books.
Published Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009

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Statement of responsibility: Paul Young
ISBN: 023059431X, 9780230594319
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Physical Description: x, 249 p.
Series: Palgrave studies in nineteenth-century writing and culture
Subject: Fiction & related items; Great Exhibition (1851 : London, England); Crystal Palace (London, England); Great Britain Economic conditions 19th century.; Society & culture: general; United Kingdom, Great Britain; Fiction: general & literary; Great Britain Intellectual life 19th century.; Literature; Ireland; Cultural studies; European history; Literature: history & criticism; Exhibitions Great Britain History 19th century.; Globalization.; Literary theory; History; Globalization; Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900
Reproduction: Electronic reproduction. Askews and Holts. Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Series Title: Palgrave studies in nineteenth-century writing and culture.
Other formats: Also available in printed form ISBN 9780230520752


  1. Contents
  2. Introduction: The Millennial Dream
  3. The Great Family of Man
  4. Geography Made Easy
  5. Reorienting the World
  6. Pax Britannica
  7. Postscript: America, Anglobalization and the Great Exhibition
  8. Works cited
  9. Index

Author note

PAUL YOUNG is Lecturer in Victorian Literature and Culture at the University of Exeter, UK.


Gathering together industrial products from around the world, and placing them on view in Joseph Paxton's astonishing Crystal Palace, the Great Exhibition of 1851 was seen by many Victorian observers to have mapped out a new world order, one which would bring about universal freedom, peace and progress. By critically evaluating the Exhibition and the commentary it inspired, Globalization and the Great Exhibition argues that the display was a decisive moment in the formation of a capitalist world picture which became durably embedded in Victorian society, which was transmitted throughout the nineteenth-century world, and which continues to exert a strong hold over global politics and culture today. Central to the book is the contention that the display allowed commentators to position Britain as a world leader - in terms of liberal, cosmopolitan ideas, as well as industrial strength. Equally important, however, is the focus upon the way in which as it plotted globalization, theexhibition was also seen to legitimize British imperialism - and the coercion and violence this entailed.