Christopher Harvie offers a new portrait of society and identity in high industrial Britain by focusing on the sea as connector, t barrier. Atlantic and 'inland sea' together, Harvie argues, created a 'floating commonwealth' of port cities and their hinterlands whose interaction, both with one ather and with nationalist and imperial politics, created an intense political and cultural synergy. At a technical level, this produced the freight steamer and the efficient types of railways which opened up the developing world, as well as the institutions of international finance and communications in the age of 'telegrams and anger'. And ultimately, the resources of the Atlantic cities, their shipyards and works, enabled Britain to win withstand the test of the First World War. Meanwhile, as Harvie shows, the continuous attempt to make sense of an ever-changing material reality also stimulated the discourses on which social criticism and literary modernism were based, from Carlyle to James Joyce - although the ultimate outcome, of slump and emigration, would leave enduring problems in the years to come.
Christopher Harvie was born in Motherwell, Scotland. He was Senior Lecturer in History at the Open University and is currently Professor of British Studies in the English Seminar of Tubingen University, Germany. He has been several times Director of Seminar and visiting fellow or guest professor at Merton and Nuffield Colleges, Oxford, Edinburgh and Strathclyde Universities, and St David's University College, Lampeter. He is Honorary Professor of Politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and also at Strathclyde University, Glasgow. Harvie has also lectured for the British Council in France, Finland, Hungary and Germany, and for the Anglo-German Society, besides other lecture tours in Russia, Italy, the United States and Canada.