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Titanic: The Sceptre of Power

By: John Wilson Foster (Author)

Titanic: The Sceptre of Power

Buy on Amazon UK

Year: 2002
Format: eBook
Category: Titanic
Tags: History of Ireland, UK History, European History, Titanic, Belfast


RMS Titanic sank on her maiden voyage from the Old World to the New. The ship, her sinking, and the intense contemporary reaction to the disaster were all the products of a complex and fascinating Anglo-American culture that dominated the world. To that extent, the ship and her loss were waiting to happen, and had been anticipated in a host of cultural respects. But the sceptre of power was passing from the Old World to the New. Titanic was the most glamorous and famous vehicle for that passage from east to west.

The shock waves in American and British culture in the wake of April 15, 1912 brought to the surface vexed issues of race, class and gender, as well as the broken promises of the Machine Age. The book begins with the optimism and arrogance of European machine-worship and ends with the sardonic laments of black American blues and ballad singers. The effect on writers, in particular, was extraordinary. George Bernard Shaw, Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes), H.G. Wells, Virginia Woolf, Bram Stoker (author of Dracula), Thomas Hardy, Joseph Conrad, T.S. Eliot – these and other major figures were fascinated by the sinking of Titanic that became a defining event in the twentieth century.

Of Titanic: The Sceptre of Power, Frances Wilson, author of Literary Seductions, The Courtesan’s Revenge, and How to Survive the Titanic, or the Sinking of J. Bruce Ismay (2012), said: “There is nothing that John Wilson Foster does not know about the Titanic. He writes about her context, her cargo, her culture and her aftermath with urgency, elegance and originality … this book is a masterpiece”.

Gerald Dawe, Irish poet and critic, wrote in the Irish Times: “In this brilliant and extensive study of the cultural vortex which surrounded, and surrounds to this day, the making of the Titanic and its terrible fate … John Wilson Foster has produced a classic. The book universalises the disaster of the Titanic sinking and portrays the cast of builders, designers, crew and passengers with a commanding intimacy that is quite breath-taking. We are all in John Wilson Foster’s debt for restoring to the Age of Titanic its living complexity”.

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