Montreal ; Buffalo : McGill-Queen's University Press, 1997.
Book — xiii, 306 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
General James Wolfe's death on 13 September 1759 at the moment of British victory over the French on the Plains of Abraham in New France instantly elevated him to the pantheon of British heroes. His courage, his glorious death, and his ability to lead the English and their American colonial brethren in their pursuit of liberty was celebrated in sermons, poetry, drama, music, sculpture, prints, paintings, and decorative arts. Exploring the reasons behind Wolfe's posthumous popularity, this work examines depictions of Wolfe in literature and visual arts in England and North America and their aesthetic and political meaning. Representations of Wolfe in both popular culture and high art are analyzed, from mass-produced ceramics to Benjamin West's famous painting of the death of Wolfe, from popular songs to the writings of Oliver Goldsmith, Horace Walpole, Tobias Smollett, Thomas Godfrey, Benjamin Franklin, and William Cowper. The author argues that Wolfe became the embodiment of British patriotism and the superiority of the English way of life, and that the multitude of literary and visual works about Wolfe, which focus primarily on his death, were created in an environment in which legends of inspiring, politically persuasive heroics were much in demand. This study should be of interest to historians of 18th-century England and America, art historians, material historians, and students of 18th-century English literature and drama. (source: Nielsen Book Data)