In the following passage from her book on William Morris Hanson summarizes the public reaction to Grodon's death. — George P. Landow.

The death of General Charles Gordon in Sudan caused a ripple of public debate about imperialism and heroism that would spread out over the rest of the century. He came to exemplify, in different ways for his admirers and his detractors, the spirit of imperial heroic soldiery, a complicated blend of masculinity and civilization, barbarism and chivalry. Against a background of the popular colonial adventure stories of Rider Haggard or G. A. Henty, the 1884 deployment of Gordon, already famous for his exploits in China, occupied a prominent place in the pages of newspapers and journals such as the Pall Mall Gazette and became the focus of political debate and manoeuvring. After his death he was immortalized in newspaper articles and cartoons, in George Joy's famous painting, General Gordon's Last Stand (1885), in boys' magazines and hastily written hagiographies."' Tennyson produced an epitaph hailing him as a 'warrior of God, man's friend' and claiming that 'this earth hath borne no simpler, nobler man." Blackwood's lauded the 'knightly name' of this 'hero', and described his firm but fair dealings with the 'half-savage' soldiers he had previously commanded in China, as well as with the 'savages' he encountered in Egypt; the article affirms that 'he was all that the popular imagination desires as a hero. And the requirements of the popular imagination, when truly inspired, are great'. He was 'a Bohemian, yet a fervent Christian', a model of selfless devotion to his country and his God to the end. [105]

Related Material


Hanson, Ingrid. William Morris and the Uses of Violence, 1856-1890. London: Anthem Press, 2013. [Review in the Victorian Web]

Last modified 26 May 2013