From the mid 18th century up till after memories of the Napoleonic wars and the glories of 'Nelson's navy' had faded, the Royal Navy was the bulwark of Britain's defence and the safeguard of trade and imperial expansion. While there have been political and military histories of the Navy in this period, looking at battles and personalities, and studies of its administration and the life below decks, this book is the first study of the Navy in a cultural context, exploring contemporary attitudes to war and peace and to ideologies of race and gender. As well as literary sources, Dr Lincoln draws on the vast collections of the National Maritime Museum, in paintings, cartoons, and ceramics, amongst others, to focus attention on material that has hitherto been little used - even research into the general culture of the late-Georgian age has, curiously, neglected perceptions of the Navy, which was one of its major institutions. Individual chapters discuss the attitudes of particular groups towards the Navy - merchants, politicians, churchmen, women, scientists, and the seamen themselves - and how these attitudes changed over the course of the period.
'… a fascinating study… a delightfully easy read… this excellent work possesses the potential to sharpen the nous with which we stare out upon today's institutions.' NUMAST Telegraph '… new and refreshing…' Contemporary Review '… offer[s] new approaches to the history of the sea… richly illustrated with contemporary images of its thematically organized chapters.' Times Literary Supplement 'The author has opened up an important but largely unexplored subject… this is a very worthwhile book, handsomely produced and illustrated, based on a great volume of evidence, visual and material as well as literary, which will be welcomed by social, cultural, and naval historians of the period.' The Historical Journal 'The book is a worthy addition to naval and maritime studies… Lincoln impressively demonstrates that the British navy was at the centre of the nation's attention.' The International History Review 'In its elegant design and lustrous illustration, this volume is an aesthetic gem typical of the care Ashgate lavishes on all its publications.' International Journal of Maritime History '… offers a creative and refreshing approach to British naval history… This is a creative and much needed work, for it identifies and explains the cultural and social context for one of England's oldest national institutions.' Itinerario '… an ambitious and impressive work, which combines original archival research with a useful synthesis of other scholars' findings… a wonderful addition to naval scholarship. Lincoln's writing style is fluent and her observations shrewd. Her book provides and important contribution to our understanding of the contemporary significance of one of Britain's most venerable, as well as sizeable (particularly in wartime) institutions… Lincoln's work should inspire much further work on this topic.' www.history.ac.uk
Contents: Preface; Introduction; The Navy's self -image; The Navy and politics; The Navy and trade; The Navy and religious opinion; Waiting on the shore; The Navy and its doctors; Post-war blues; Bibliography; Index.