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'AN EDUCATION TO GREECE': THE ROUND TABLE, IMPERIAL THEORY AND THE USES OF HISTORY

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Abstract:

This article examines the relationship between the pro-imperial Round Table Society's political vision and the omnipresent historical narrative of commonwealth that characterized the group's major publications during the First World War. It pays particular attention to the way the primary author of these publications, Lionel Curtis, interpolated Alfred Zimmern's 1911 book, The Greek Commonwealth, into this historical narrative in an attempt to reconcile the contradictions inherent in the Round Table's political project. These contradictions centred on the group's desire to democratize imperial politics while excluding non-European subjects from this democracy and their belief in an imperial state that demanded the ultimate loyalty of its citizens but was not 'Prussianist'. Examining the way Curtis used the Athenian polis to address this fraught political puzzle offers us insight into both the ideological power wielded by the Round Table during this transitional era and the power of historical narrative in imperial justification more generally.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Politics Department, Whitman College, 345 Boyer Ave., Walla Walla, WA 99362, USA., Email: morefijm@whitman.edu

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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