Accessibility statement

Devin Dattan



Representations of Empire in the Works of the Professional Adventurer, 1880-1914

Supervisor: Dr Geoffrey Cubitt



My thesis is an examination of the ways in which professional adventurers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century represented both themselves and the people and landscapes of the peripheries of the British Empire through their published accounts. I am primarily interested in how texts, both personal accounts and literature, contributed to how the British Empire was envisioned and understood by British audiences.

My research interests include: 19th century imperialism, adventure, exploration, journalism, war correspondents, representations of empire in the press and literature, masculinity, imperial warfare, boy’s literature, landscape aesthetics, self-representation; Regions of interest include: Egypt and the Sudan, colonial India, the tropical world, China.

Papers and publications

Conference papers

  • “Picturing Conflict: The Late Victorian Response to A. H. Savage Landor’s China and the Allies.” British Association for Victorian Studies Annual Conference, August 2017.
  • “Setting the Sudan: The Role of the War Correspondent in the Creation of Victorian Conceptions of the Sudan, 1880-1900.” Social History Society Conference, April 2017.
  • “Bazaar Tales: Victorian Special Correspondents and Indigenous Knowledge Networks.” Centre for Imperial and Postcolonial Studies Postgraduate Conference, University of Southampton, July 2016.
  • “The Adventure Account and the Victorian Special Correspondent.” PhD Conference in History: Lund/York/Bielefeld, Universität Bielefeld, May 2016.


  • “‘Why weren’t you in the fight? The next time I will see you go in!’: The Journalistic Culture and Self-Image of Victorian War Correspondents,” in Reporting from the Wars 1850-2015: The origins and evolution of the war correspondent, edited volume from Vernon Press.


Contact details

Ms Devin Dattan
PhD student
Department of History
University of York
YO10 5DD