The Lost Imperialist
Lord Dufferin, Memory and Mythmaking in an Age of Celebrity
By Andrew Gailey
An eagerly anticipated biography of one of the greatest statesmen of the Victorian age.
Winner of the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography 2016
Frederick Hamiton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, enjoyed a glittering career which few could equal. As Viceroy of India and Governor-General of Canada, he held the two most exalted positions available under the Crown, but prior to this his achievements as a British ambassador included restoring order to sectarian conflict in Syria, helping to keep Canada British, paving the way for the annexation of Egypt and preventing war from breaking out on India's North-West Frontier.
Dufferin was much more than a diplomat and politician, however: he was a leading Irish landlord, an adventurer and a travel writer whose Letters from High Latitudes proved a publishing sensation. He also became a celebrity of the time, and in his attempts to sustain his reputation he became trapped by his own inventions, thereafter living his public life in fear of exposure. Ingenuity, ability and charm usually saved the day, yet in the end catastrophe struck in the form of the greatest City scandal for forty years and the death of his heir in the Boer War.
With unique access to the family archive at Clandeboye, Andrew Gailey presents a full biography of the figure once referred to as the 'most popular man in Europe'.
Andrew Gailey has taught history at Eton College since 1981 and was a housemaster from 1993 to 2006. Since then he has been elected Vice-Provost and a Fellow of the College. A graduate of St Andrews and the University of Cambridge, he is the author of numerous studies of Anglo-Irish relations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and has a particular research interest in constructive unionism.
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- Publication date:
11 Feb 2016
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The cult of political biography is gently withering with the decline in the number of its adherents. How pleasing and unexpected, then, to read about Lord Dufferin, in a scholarly, well-researched volume, elegantly written and published by John Murray, which in its ancient régime heyday issued many such tomes. Andrew Gailey is a fine historian — David Gilmour, Literary Review
A scholarly book that will leave readers wiser about Victorian England as well as one of its most distinguished characters — Country Life
A story with a terrific denouement and unexpected psychological twists, skilfully unravelled by Gailey, whose research has been prodigious — Piers Brendon, Independent
Well equipped to convey Dufferin's importance as an Ulster icon in the imperial age, [Andrew Gailey] also handles the haut ton of late-Victorian and Edwardian Britain with aplomb. He writes engagingly, a graceful turn of phrase leavened by the odd stiletto thrust, and he is an acute psychologist — Roy Foster, Carroll professor of Irish history at Hertford College, Oxford
Brilliantly places the glamorous but forgotten Irish proconsul Lord Dufferin in a world of contemporary myth-making and celebrity politics — Irish Times