Radical Reactionary

The Politics of William Le Queux

in Critical Survey
Author: Harry Wood 1
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  • 1 Independent historian, UK
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Abstract

This article provides a detailed examination of the politics of William Le Queux. It argues that he is best understood as a product of the Edwardian radical right. Firstly, through exploring the politics of pre-1914 invasion anxieties and invasion-scare fiction, the article will question the idea that such literature was fundamentally Tory in quality. Instead, this emerging genre of popular fiction will be placed to the right of Edwardian Conservatism. Approaching Le Queux through his position as the most prominent author of British invasion literature at this time, the article will re-examine the available biographical evidence, highlighting the challenges scholars face in pinpointing his political leanings. Le Queux's numerous invasion-scare novels will be interpreted through the disparate ideas of the radical right. Although Le Queux's writing had little intellectual influence on radical right thinking in Britain, his novels provided this developing ideology with a prominent popular platform.

Contributor Notes

Harry Wood is an independent historian who has worked at the University of Liverpool and King's College London. His research focuses on the cultural history of British invasion anxieties, with a particular interest in the Edwardian period. Harry is the editor of the H. G. Wells Society Newsletter.

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