Academic Commons

Articles

Colt Culture: Examining Representations of the American West in Victorian London

Randell, Jacqueline

In 1851, the Great Exhibition in London’s Hyde Park featured displays of art and technology from across the world. Compared to exhibitions from France, India, and Great Britain itself, the U.S. section seemed unimpressive with the exception of one item: the Colt revolver. Following its appearance at the Great Exhibition, the Colt revolver emerged frequently in British popular culture and culminated in the appearance of cowboys with revolvers in the late 1880s on Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. This paper explores representations of masculinity, white imperial authority, and the American West in Victorian England by tracking the appearance of the Colt revolver in exhibitions, children’s literature, and staged shows. It follows three chronological stages of the Colt revolver: in exhibition culture, in popular literature, and in the Wild West Show. Ultimately, it demonstrates that while the Colt revolver failed in the British marketplace, it thrived in British popular imagination and established figures of the American West in the minds of many Victorians prior to the famed Wild West Show.

Geographic Areas

Subjects

Files

  • thumnail for Colt-Culture-Fall-20141.pdf Colt-Culture-Fall-20141.pdf application/x-pdf 1.78 MB Download File

More Information

Published In
The Journal of Politics and Society
Volume
25
Issue
2
Pages
8 - 28
Publisher
Helvidius Group of Columbia University
Publication Origin
New York
Academic Units
Helvidius Group
Academic Commons provides global access to research and scholarship produced at Columbia University, Barnard College, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary and Jewish Theological Seminary. Academic Commons is managed by the Columbia University Libraries.