This article considers the life of a British would-be adventurer and clerk in the Imperial Maritime Service, Charles Mason, who became embroiled in an uprising against the Chinese government in 1891. By exploring Mason's life, his writings and the diplomatic dialogue sparked by his actions, the article highlights the growing disjuncture between imperial fantasy and the reality of imperial administration. It considers how the actions of errant individuals could be used as a pretext to renegotiate the limits of British and Chinese power. As Mason's actions and his literary career demonstrate, China and other imperial sites beyond the formal control of colonial authorities acted as ideal places for adventuring in the British imagination.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Cultural Studies
- Sociology and Political Science