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People, not abstract ideas, make history, and nowhere is this more revealed than in A. N. Wilson's superb portrait of the Victorians, in which hundreds of different lives have been pieced together to tell a story - one which is still unfinished in our own day. The 'global village' is a Victorian village and many of the ideas we take for granted, for good or ill, originated with these extraordinary, self-confident people. What really animated their spirit, and how did they remake the world in their view? In an entertaining and often dramatic narrative, A. N. Wilson shows us remarkable people in the very act of creating the Victorian age.
The Victorian family album is one of the few surviving records of everyday life in the second half of the 19th century. This book is a comprehensive study of portrait photography in Victorian times. Portrait photography began with the introduction of the daguerrotype process in 1839. This established photography as an alternative to painting but, at first, photographers continued to be strongly influenced by painting traditions. Early photographers, therefore, imitated art, rather than exploiting the realism of this important new genre. It was not long, however, before photographic studios were travelling the country in caravans, and itinerant photographers could be found the length and breadth of the country - on street corners, at fairgrounds and at the seaside. By establishing photography as a form of cheap, popular entertainment in this way, these early photographers eventually paved the way for the more relaxed conventions of modern family photographs. This book is an entertaining history of this fascinating subject. Illustrated with a great variety of portraits, together with biographies of characters featured, this book offers readers a rare glimpse of these real-life characters who gaze at us from another era.
Written by a team of eminent historians, these essays explore how ten twentieth-century intellectuals and social reformers sought to adapt such familiar Victorian values as `civilisation', `domesticity', `conscience' and `improvement' to modern conditions of democracy, feminism and mass culture. Covering such figures as J.M. Keynes, E.M. Forster and Lord Reith of the BBC, these interdisciplinary studies scrutinize the children of the Victorians at a time when their private assumptions and public positions were under increasing strain in a rapidly changing world. After the Victorians is written in honour of the late Professor John Clive of Harvard, and uses, as he did, the method of biography to connnect the public and private lives of the generations who came after the Victorians.
A major study of changing attitudes to the Victorians, from Lytton Strachey to the present day. >
"Suppose that everything we think we know about the Victorians is wrong." So begins Inventing the Victorians by Matthew Sweet, a compact and mind-bending whirlwind tour through the soul of the nineteenth century, and a round debunking of our assumptions about it. The Victorians have been victims of the "the enormous condescension of posterity," in the historian E. P. Thompson's phrase. Locked in the drawing room, theirs was an age when, supposedly, existence was stultifying, dank, and over-furnished, and when behavior conformed so rigorously to proprieties that the repressed results put Freud into business. We think we have the Victorians pegged--as self-righteous, imperialist, racist, materialist, hypocritical and, worst of all, earnest. Oh how wrong we are, argues Matthew Sweet in this highly entertaining, provocative, and illuminating look at our great, and great-great, grandparents. One hundred years after Queen Victoria's death, Sweet forces us to think again about her century, entombed in our minds by Dickens, the Elephant Man, Sweeney Todd, and by images of unfettered capitalism and grinding poverty. Sweet believes not only that we're wrong about the Victorians but profoundly indebted to them. In ways we have been slow to acknowledge, their age and our own remain closely intertwined. The Victorians invented the theme park, the shopping mall, the movies, the penny arcade, the roller coaster, the crime novel, and the sensational newspaper story. Sweet also argues that our twenty-first century smugness about how far we have evolved is misplaced. The Victorians were less racist than we are, less religious, less violent, and less intolerant. Far from being an outcast, Oscar Wilde was a fairly typical Victorian man; the love that dared not speak its name was declared itself fairly openly. In 1868 the first international cricket match was played between an English team and an Australian team composed entirely of aborigines. The Victorians loved sensation, novelty, scandal, weekend getaways, and the latest conveniences (by 1869, there were image-capable telegraphs; in 1873 a store had a machine that dispensed milk to after-hours' shoppers). Does all this sound familiar? As Sweet proves in this fascinating, eye-opening book, the reflection we find in the mirror of the nineteenth century is our own. We inhabit buildings built by the Victorians; some of us use their sewer system and ride on the railways they built. We dismiss them because they are the age against whom we have defined our own. In brilliant style, Inventing the Victorians shows how much we have been missing.
"Understanding the Victorians paints a vivid portrait of the era, combining broad surveys with close analysis, and introduces students to the critical debates taking place among historians today. Focusing not just on England but on the whole of Great Britain and Ireland it emphasises class, gender, and racial and imperial positioning as constitutive of human relations. This book encompasses the whole of the Victorian period giving equal prominence to social and cultural topics alongside the politics and economics. Starting with the Queen Caroline Affair in 1820 and coming right up to the start of World War I in 1914, Susie L. Steinbach uses thematic chapters to discuss and evaluate, the economy, gender, religion, the history of science and ideas, material culture and sexuality. Steinbach also provides much-needed chapters on consumption, which links consumption with production, on law, which explains the legal culture and trials of criminal and scandalous cases and on space which draws to together the most current research in Victorian studies"--
A discussion of the Victorians and their literature. It sets out the political, social and economic framework of the period, and then goes on to study the various influences on the novel, addresses the forms and styles of poetry and, finally, provides an overview of Victorian drama. Each chapter features a further reading list and there is a comparative time-line, a biographical glossary and a list of websites. The volume is part of a series which sets writers and literary works of different types and periods in their historical, social and cultural context and provides an introduction to various genres.

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