The Impact of Fiction on Public Debate in Late Victorian Britain: The Battle of Dorking and the “Lost Career” of Sir George Tomkyns Chesney

Patrick M. Kirkwood


This article re-examines the impact of The Battle of Dorking (1871)—a seminal work of British “speculative fiction”—on print and political debates throughout the 1870s and beyond. In doing so, it also re-examines the military, educational and political career of Dorking’s author, Sir George Tomkyns Chesney, and finds him to be a more substantial figure than most previous scholarship suggests.


Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine; The Times; R.U.S.I.; Invasion Literature; Dorking; Gladstone; Liberalism; military reform;

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