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University of Toronto Press - Spring/Summer 2021

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Writing the Empire
The McIlwraiths, 1853-1948
By (author): Eva-Marie Kröller

ISBN:

9781487507572

Product Form:

Hardcover
Hardcover
English

Audience:

College/higher education
Apr 06, 2021
$110.00 CAD
Active

Dimensions:

9.25in x 6.25 x 1.13 in | 850 gr

Page Count:

536 pages

Illustrations:

24 b&w illustrations
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
LITERARY CRITICISM / Canadian

Crossing time and oceans, this fascinating history of the McIlwraiths tracks the family’s imperial identities across the generations to tell a story of anthropology and empire. 

Writing the Empire
is a collective biography of the McIlwraiths, a family of politicians, entrepreneurs, businesspeople, scientists, and scholars. Known for their contributions to literature, politics, and anthropology, the McIlwraiths originated in Ayrshire, Scotland and spread across the British Empire, specifically North America and Australia, from the mid-nineteenth century onwards.

Focusing on imperial networking, Writing the Empire reflects on the McIlwraiths’ life-writing through three generations, contained in correspondence, diaries, memoirs, and estate papers, along with published works by members of the family. By moving from generation to generation, but also from one stage of a person’s life to the next, the author investigates some of the ways in which various McIlwraiths, both men and women, articulated their identity as subjects of the British Empire over time. Kröller identifies parallel and competing forms of communication that involved major public figures beyond the family’s immediate circle, and explores the challenges issued by Indigenous people to imperial ideologies. Drawing from private papers and public archives, Writing the Empire is an illuminating biography that will appeal to readers interested in the links between life-writing and imperial history.


  • Tells the fascinating story the McIlwraiths and their many contributions to politics, ornithology, labour history, literature, and anthropology 
  • Reviews the  family’s imperial identities across the generations and includes a detailed discussion of both the Australian and Canadian branches
  • Includes detailed discussions, based on original sources, of Ontario’s cultural and social life during the second half of the nineteenth century and the place of this life within imperial culture


Eva-Marie Kröller is a professor emerita in the Department of English Language and Literatures at the University of British Columbia.



For more information contact
[email protected]

"Writing the Empire represents on all accounts a magnum opus. There is nothing like it. Eva-Marie Kröller has collected a wide range of archival and scholarly sources and turned them into a composite whole, an outstanding achievement. This book is a major piece of writing and offers a great diversity of insights for the scholarly community as well as for people who like to read about family genealogies in conjunction with imperial constellations."

- Alfred Hornung, Director, Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies, Johannes Gutenberg University

"With extensive archival research and an engaging writing style, Writing the Empire tells a the fascinating story of a Scottish family that, at the height of British imperialism, emigrated to Canada and Australia and employed imperial networks to succeed in these colonial locations. This book will be of interest to historians of the British Empire, imperialism, colonialism, and colonial life writing."

- Kristine Moruzi, Senior Lecturer of Writing and Literature, Deakin University

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