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Abstract

The form of popular literature known as the ‘Boys Own’ genre, developed in the latter decades of the 19th century and relates directly to certain concerns around the contemporary viability and perceived future of the Empire. The Boys Own genre was conceived as a response to the corrupting influence of the Penny Dreadful, with the first edition of the Boy’s Own Paper issued in 1879. Boy’s Own was soon followed by such papers as Gem, Magnet, Boys of the Empire and British Bulldog (Turner, 1948). These magazines were intended to supply the newly evolving middle-class of suburban England with suitable reading material for the next generation of young men, imbuing them with the qualities necessary for leadership in the fields of the business world, the church, the army and the navy. They were thus placed to join what the historian Martin Green (1980: 336) describes as ‘the Aristo-Military Elite’ who took their place as governors of Britain and the empire.

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