The term, 'chivalry' chronologically goes back to the Middle Ages where it was used as the code of conduct evolved for knights, or for an elite and increasingly hereditary class of warriors. Based on an amalgamation of Christianity (28) with the pre-Christian tradition of the warriors of Northern Europe (29), it gradually became an element of the accepted code of conduct for gentlemen. Much later, in the early nineteenth century, it was one of the great achievements of writers such as Sir Walter Scott to reconsider chivalry, and popularise a type of character that could reasonably be called the chivalrous gentleman as a model to emulate (The Return to Camelot, 34). Fuelling a new romantic explosion in literature through idealising the Middle Ages, Scott contributed to 'the reformulation of the gentleman as an idealised medieval knight, the embodiment of the virtues of bravery, loyalty, courtesy, generosity, modesty, purity and compassion' (Juvenile Literature, 6).
Introducing the 'English gentleman' as the Victorian model of medieval chivalry or knighthood, Jeffrey Richards criticises the phrase for its negative connotations concerning class, race and gender as he argues:
The phrase 'English gentleman' contains three crucial elements - the Englishness, the gentlemanliness and the manliness, focusing attention on class, race and gender...Manliness is equated with gentlemanliness. Gentlemanliness is what distinguishes the Anglo-Saxon race from the other races. But among Anglo-Saxons it is not given to all, only to the elite. Native races can be brave and their bravery acknowledged, but they are not gentlemen (Juvenile Literature, 76).
Furthermore, setting out from the conviction that 'Gentlemen were to run the country because they were morally superior' (The Return to Camelot, 261), many individuals throughout the nineteenth and even the twentieth centuries were proud to call themselves gentlemen with chivalrous enthusiasm and aspirations (30).
Along with the revival of chivalry in the early decades of the nineteenth century various works appeared concerning the history and nature of chivalry such as The History of the Crusades (1820) and The History of Chivalry (1825) by Charles Mills. Later in the 1850s these images of chivalry were absorbed into the pattern of everyday life , and 'chivalric metaphors came naturally to the lips of any educated man or woman' (The Return to Camelot, 146). Eventually the Victorian sense of the term came to represent 'a name for that general spirit or state of mind which disposes men to heroic and generous actions and keeps them conservant with all that is beautiful and sublime in the intellectual and moral world' (The Return to Camelot, 62)
. Throughout the colonial period of the British Empire Victorian ideals of chivalry developed through public school education and an increasing number of juvenile publications. Students at public schools were trained to respond to the heroic ethos and imperial rhetoric and knightly ideals, for 'the public schools in particular were seen as the schools for producing the new knights' (Juvenile Literature, 7). When J.H. Skrine, warden of Trinity College, Glenalmond, described public school life he also declared that: 'Yes it is the knightly life once more, with its virtues and its perversions...But with all its glory and its faults, chivalry it is again' (The Return to Camelot, 170).
In the nineteenth century a new industry emerged with the publication
of juvenile literature; individual publishers such as James Nisbet and
Thomas Nelson published for children, trying to instil obedience, duty,
piety and hard-work. The main objective of these books was both to entertain
and to instruct, to inculcate an approved value system, to spread useful
knowledge, to provide acceptable role models (31). For
instance, W.H.G. Kingston (1814-80) wrote more than 170 books, and R.M.
Ballantyne (1825-94) produced more than 100 so as to channel the energies
of boys into approved directions mainly based on Christian teachings and
Anglo-saxonism (32). In addition, the number of boys'
magazines and authors also increased and various writers such as Ballantyne
and Kingston started writing regularly for this market.
In Dreams of Adventure, Deeds of Empire (1980) Martin Green examines the robust, and masculine literary tradition of adventure. In contrast to F.R. Leavis's great tradition (33), Green chooses Daniel Defoe, Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad. Moreover, he remarks that this great tradition is concerned with action which is usually empire-oriented, rather than specifically English-based feelings, because 'it exalts the warrior-explorer-engineer-administrator-imperial paladin, at the expense of the writing provincial spinster' (Juvenile Literature, 2).
In order to reflect statistically the popularity of such authors it is useful to refer to survey results in the late nineteenth century; a survey (1888) of 790 boys in different schools indicated their favourite authors as follows; Charles Dickens (228), W.H.G. Kingston (176), Walter Scott (128), Jules Verne (114), Captain Marryat (102), R.M. Ballantyne (67) and Harrison Ainsworth (61), with the favourite individual titles of Robinson Crusoe (43), Swiss Family Robinson (24), The Pickwick Papers (22) and Ivanhoe (20) (34).
The new interest in chivalry linked to the publication of juvenile literature and public school education in the nineteenth century may have affected domestic and imperial policies and the administration of Great Britain. Richards suggests that 'by the middle of the 19th century chivalry was promoted by key figures of the age in order to produce a ruling elite both for the nation and expanding empire' (Juvenile Literature, 6). On the domestic level, the revival of chivalry was enthusiastically embraced by political movements such as 'Christian Socialism' and 'Young England' endorsed by youth organisations, public and private schools (The Return to Camelot).
The idea of chivalry or manliness in the colonisation period seems to have also been employed in the shaping and survival of British imperialism in different parts of the world. Setting out from the chivalrous conviction that 'gentlemen dominated diplomacy, the colonial service, the Treasury, the Church of England, the Army and navy, Oxford and Cambridge' (The Return to Camelot, 262), Victorian England tended to make use of chivalry in establishing and strengthening its imperial ideology in the colonies. For example, while Ballantyne and his successor in popular affection, G.A. Henty, as Tories, shared a commitment to empire, their heroes are usually chosen from public school boys at a time when the public schools were consciously turning out boys to be officers and administrators of the empire (The Return to Camelot, 78). I now propose to survey the origins of popular fiction and travelogues, both of which have an important bearing upon the development of the twentieth century views on Turkey.
26-Jeffrey Richards, Imperialism and Juvenile Literature (Manchester: Manchester Univ. Press, 1989). Further reference to this work will be given after quotations in the texts or footnotes, by mentioning its shortened title, 'Juvenile Literature'.
27-John MacKenzie, ed. Propaganda and Empire (Manchester: Manchester Univ. Press, 1984), reprint. Imperialism and Popular Culture (Manchester: Manchester Univ. Press, 1986), p. 7. Further reference to this work will be given after quotations in the texts, by mentioning its title, 'Propaganda and Empire'.
28-On the notion of 'chivalry', there seems to be a religious justification as Thomas Hughes remarks: ‘The least of the muscular Christian has hold of the chivalrous and Christian belief that a man's body is given to him to be trained and brought into subjection, and then used for the protection of the weak, the advancement of all righteous causes and the subduing of the earth which God has given to the children of men’. See: Thomas Hughes, Tom Brown at Oxford (London: 1889), p. 99; Norman Vance, Sinews of the Spirit (Cambridge, 1985).
Moreover, in a sermon preached before the Queen at Windsor in 1865, Charles Kingsley expressed the sentiments that 'the age of chivalry never past’ and was warmly endorsed by Victoria. See: Charles Kingsley, Sermon on 'Faith' preached on December 1865, in The Water of Life and Other Sermons (1867).
29-Mark Girouard, The Return to Camelot: Chivalry and English Gentlemen (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1981), p. 16. Further reference to this work will be given after quotations in the texts or footnotes, by mentioning its shortened title, 'The Return to Camelot'.
30-’Chivalry is not the same as feudalism although
the two concepts are clearly related. The chivalric ideal concerned itself
with one particular class, not the structure of society. It accepted fighting
as a necessary and indeed glorious activity, but set out to soften its
potential barbarity by putting it into the hands of men committed to high
standards of behaviour.
But the blanket term of chivalry has always been applied both to the code and to its medieval trappings. In the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries one can watch the code gradually developing until it becomes one element of the accepted code of conduct for gentlemen, and the trappings gradually losing their practical function, but sometimes surviving because they were put to new uses or used for symbolic purposes...
It was easy enough for Digby, Walter Scott and others to conjure up modern knights; it was less easy to control the direction in which they charged. Throughout the nineteenth century (and indeed in the twentieth century as well) individuals or groups who were proud to call themselves gentlemen set out, with what may reasonably be described as chivalrous enthusiasm, not to support the existing order, but to make radical changes in it’. See: The Return to Camelot, p. 68.
31-J.S. Batton, The Impact of Victorian Children's Fiction (London: [n.p.], 1981).
32-’Christianity and Anglo-Saxonism went hand-in-hand
in the thinking of such men, as it did in the works of writers like Charles
Kingsley and Thomas Hughes, who although not primarily writers for boys,
wrote influential and much-loved children's stories. The 1860s saw an increase
in the number of boys' magazines and authors like Kingston and Ballantyne
regularly wrote for this market as well as the novel market. They became
the approved authors of those pundits and authorities who saw adventure
as a genre which satisfied the robust instincts of boys while at the same
time teaching them. Charlotte Yonge, writing in 1887 about what books to
lend or to give to children, urged the building-up of libraries of acceptable
boys' stories at school and at home.
The 1870 Forster Education Act is a milestone in the history of juvenile publishing, for it convinced publishers that with the expansion of schools there would emerge a large, new and untapped source of readers. Mainstream publishers like Blackie and Macmillan therefore launched a wide range of juvenile fiction to tap the new market. School and Sunday school prizes were a particular area of growth, their content and approach carefully supervised to appeal to parents, school and church authorities’. Noted in Juvenile Literature, p.4. Also see: Charlotte M. Yonge, What Books to Lend and What to Give (London: [n.p.], 1887), p. 6. and Sheila Egoff, 'Children's Periodicals of the 19th Century' in Library Association Pamphlet 8, 1951 pp. 16-21.
33-Martin Green, Dreams of Adventure, Deeds of Empire (London: [n.p.], 1980).
34-Another survey of 800 readers of The Captain in April 1908, asking for the twelve best boys' books ever published, elicited a list comprising Tom Brown's Schooldays, Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, Westward Ho!, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Ivanhoe, King Solomon's Mines, Coral Island, Fifth Form at St. Dominic's, Last of the Mohicans, Mr. Midshipman Easy, and J.O. Jones. See: The Captain, 19, 1908, p.90.
A survey in 1940 of 304 secondary school boys aged twelve, and
211 aged thirteen revealed their most popular titles to be (for the twelve-year-olds)
Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, David Copperfield,
and Tom Brown's Schooldays and (for thirteen-year-olds) Treasure
Island, Tom Brown's Schooldays, Westward Ho!, and The
Invisible Man. See: A.J. Jenkinson, What Do Boys and Girls Read?
(London, 1940), pp. 36-9.