Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Summer 2011

Publication Title

Victorian Studies

Abstract

Representations of perpetual boyhood came to fascinate the late Victorians, partly because such images could naturalize a new spirit of imperial aggression and new policies of preserving power. This article traces the emergence of this fantasy through a series of stories about the relationship of the boy and the pirate, figures whose opposition in mid-Victorian literature was used to articulate the moral legitimacy of colonialism, but who became doubles rather than antitheses in later novels, such as R. L. Stevenson's Treasure Island and Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim. Masculine worth needed no longer to be measured by reference to transcendent, universal laws, but by a morally flexible ethic of competitive play, one that bound together boyishness and piracy in a satisfying game of international adventure.

Volume

53

Issue

4

First Page

689

Last Page

714

DOI

10.2979/victorianstudies.53.4.689

ISSN

0042-5222

Rights

Victorian Studies © 2011 Indiana University Press.

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