Clarke, I. F. – Papers

Clarke, I. F. (1965). “THE BATTLE OF DORKING, 1871-1914.” Victorian Studies 8(4): 309-327.

The Battle of Dorking,” a short story by Sir George Tomkyns Chesney published in ‘Blackwood’s Magazine’ in 1871, depicted an imaginary German invasion of England. Chesney, a lieutenant colonel of engineers, sought to arouse public awareness of England’s military unpreparedness. He was following in a tradition of alarmist writing since 1844, when it was first realized that the steamship made England vulnerable to invasion; his originality lay in his use of realistic fiction. The story was widely read; it provoked a series of replies in England and was translated into several foreign languages. Chesney did not achieve his object of strengthening the British Army, but his work set a precedent for other writers. The genre of the fictional future war was established as a means of presenting arguments for stronger armies and navies, and predictive war epics appeared in several countries in the years before 1914.

Clarke, I. F. (1965). “The Shape of Wars to Come”, History Today, Vol. 15, Issue 2 108-116

A unique study of the short stories and novels written during 1871-1914 by British, French, and German writers on future wars. Special attention is given to works written in the period 1900-10.

Clarke, I. F. (1967). “FORECASTS OF WARFARE IN FICTION, 1803-1914.” Comparative Studies in Society & History 10(1): 1-27.

Analyzes warfare in 19th century European fiction and suggests that this fiction “provides a remarkable means of estimating the rate of change in European attitudes to war.” Fiction writers, particularly after the publication of George T. Chesney’s ‘Battle of Dorking’ (1871), presented the position that “war would continue to be a series of brief but spectacular events in which the individual could expect to play a conspicuous part.” Few writers thought the new military technology would change the nature of warfare.

Clarke, I. F. (1997). “Before and After The Battle of Dorking.” Science Fiction Studies 24(1 [71]): 33-46.

Clarke, I. F. (1997). “Future-war fiction: The first main phase, 1871-1900.” Science Fiction Studies 24(3): 387-412.

Presents information on various science fiction novels which deals with wars and destruction between 1871 and 1900. Reference to futuristic fiction books by Francis Cheynell; Information on books written by other authors.

The Tale of the War-to-come-from Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove to The Invasion of England in 1803-is immediately recognizable as the most self-contained area of future fiction, since the basic propositions of these projected accounts of wars still-to-come derive from the political or technological possibilities of their day. They first began to affect the thinking of nations after the extraordinary success of Chesney’s Battle of Dorking in 1871. That warning to the British people was an immediate reaction to the new kind of warfare revealed in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870; and it proved to be an ideal model for the many tales of “the next great war” that became a familiar means of anticipating technological advances in warfare and of presenting arguments for bigger fleets and greater armies. From 1871 to 1914, as the major European powers advanced towards a conflict all expected, a continuous stream of these anticipations gave their readers highly selective accounts of salutary defeats or well-deserved victories in “the next great war” that would be fought between one or another of the international groupings of that time. With the emergence of the mass press in the 1890s, this future-war fiction became a favored means of warning a nation of the urgent need for more troops or more ships. In a most ironic way, however, these anticipations of wars-to-come were grounded in the assumption that, when the Great War began in earnest, it would be an old-style affair of decisive fleet actions and one-day infantry engagements.

Clarke, I. F. (1997). “Trigger-happy: An evolutionary study of the origins and.” Journal of Social & Evolutionary Systems 20(2): 117.

Explores the tale of future war in modern fiction. First major example of tales of the war of the future; Monodic nature of the future war story; Initial formulation of the evolutionary process of the advent of future war fiction; Author’s view about the reality of war-to-come fiction and the reality of history.

Clarke, I. F. (1999). “The Battle of Dorking: Second Thoughts.”  Extrapolation (Kent State University Press) 40: 277-283.

Focuses on the success of the publication of the science fiction `The Battle of Dorking, 1871,’ by George Tomkyns Chesney. Publication of `The Battle of Dorking’ in `Blackwood’s Magazine’; Factors influencing the success of Chesney’s stories; Characterization of the implications of criminal carelessness in the story; Translations of the story into several languages.

Details of I. F. Clarke’s books can be found here.