Study Resources for Invasion Literature

library_imageThere are more resources available than initially apparent. When I started researching this subject I started from The Riddle of the Sands and from the Wikipedia entry discovered the world of Invasion Literature. Searching on this term had limited success but once I started following up links, and especially after discovering I.F. Clarke’s books, I was able to expand upon the resources. JSTOR searches for articles were initially unfruitful as there is no single accepted term for the genre. Searching by book names – especially ‘The Battle of Dorking’ – and individual authors – e.g. ‘Le Queux’ – yielded more results from which references could then be followed.

An introductory presentation on Invasion Literature can be found here.

The most complete and comprehensive commentaries on Invasion Literature are by I.F. Clarke

Secondary sources

Secondary Sources can be found in:

See also the various bibliographies including my own compiled bibliography of Invasion / Future War / Spy Literature

A good introduction to Invasion and Future War literature can be found on Wikipedia:

The SFE – the online Encyclopedia of Science Fiction – also has a good summary of the genre:

Harry Wood, a PhD student at University of Liverpool, is researching and has recently written a number of articles on Edwardian Invasion-Scare Literature – Further material from him is provided is at: . He draws an interesting comparison between Invasion Literature and Alternate Histories at: . The archive entries on his blog cover many of the books in the Invasion Literature genre. Further information is at Harry Wood – Papers.

Dr. Ailise Bulfin, of Trinity College Dublin, and a founder member with Harry Wood of the Invasion Network ( ), the has published:

‘“To Arms!”: Invasion Narratives and Late-Victorian Literature’, Literature Compass, 12:9 (Sep 2015): 482-96.
‘“To Arms!”: Colonial Authors and the Fiction of Invasion 1890-1914.’ PhD thesis. University of Dublin, Trinity College, 2014.

Some musings on Invasion Literature can be found on the following blog sites:

Andrew Francis (2007) provides a somewhat different perspective by looking at literature aimed at a juvenile audience through ‘Boy’s story papers’. Written from a New Zealand perspective it nonetheless includes both local and British based publications.  ‘Willingly to War’: British and imperial boys’ story papers, 1905-1914

Michael Moorcock published two anthologies (1975 & 1977) of Invasion Literature – see Moorcock Books.

Michael Paris (1992) covers aerial warfare in literature: Winged Warfare: Literature and Theory of Aerial Warfare in Britain, 1859-1917. Also of significance for aerial warfare are R.P Hearne’s books Aerial Warfare (1908) and Airships in peace and war (1910)

Niall Ferguson’s The Pity of War discusses the role of invasion literature in shaping (or not) attitudes to Germany during the period 1899-1914 and provides a good overview of the key writing of this time.

Anthony Morris’s The scaremongers : the advocacy of war and rearmament 1896-1914 provides a different aspect of the influence on public opinion by newspapers and advocates of war preparation.

Paul Kennedy’s The Rise of Anglo-German Antagonism charts the growing discord between Britain and Germany

There is background information in Samuel Hynes’s Edwardian Turn of Mind: First World War and English Culture (1969)

An article by William Shepherd (2013) linking Invasion Literature of the Edwardian era to the ‘Ruling Elite’ [the ‘Secret Elite’ of Gerry Docherty & Jim Macgregor’s conspiracy-theory laden Hidden History: the secret origins of the First World War]  and their agenda to ‘poison the minds of a whole nation’ is at:

Brett Holman writes about Airpower and British Society, 1908-1941 on his blogsite Airminded.

Christian Melby, writing in History Today, compares Sir Richard Shirreff’s 2016 book 2017: War With Russia: An Urgent Warning from Senior Military Command with invasion literature of the Victorian and Edwardian era written by military men to highlight the dangers of unpreparedness for conflict.

Spy Literature

See the dedicated post on Spy Fiction

Primary Sources – Literary Works

A list of all works described on the site can be found in the Bibliography of Posts and also chronologically in Chronological Bibliography

Primary Sources,

Primary Sources other than literature itself, including contemporary newspaper reports can be found here.

Primary Source – Novels & Stories

All Literary Sources

or may be accessed via the subject area:

Copies of text of many of the original books (which are all or nearly all out of copyright) can be found online. For example at: Project Gutenberg ( or Internet Archive at

Primary Sources – Films

Early invasion-scare and spy films films are discussed in Early Spy & Invasion-scare Films