Catalogue


The Victorians /
A.N. Wilson.
edition
[Illustrated ed.]
imprint
London : Hutchinson, 2007.
description
352 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm.
ISBN
0091796229 (hbk.), 9780091796228 (hbk.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
London : Hutchinson, 2007.
isbn
0091796229 (hbk.)
9780091796228 (hbk.)
general note
Previous ed.: London: Hutchinson, 2002.
catalogue key
6255395
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
The Victorians has been widely acclaimed as the classic single-volume history of the Victorian era. Now, in this illustrated edition, A.N. Wilson presents his magnificent portrait of the age alongside many enthralling images of the 19th-century lives that he pieced together - telling a story that is still unfinished in our own day. 'A bold, spectacular and highly intelligent panorama of the 19th century... Wilson has produced a judicious, knowledgeable and very full portrait of the epoch' David Gilmour, 'Books of the Year', Daily Mail 'A.N. Wilson's The Victorians was the book he was born to write; it was evidently the product of decades of love for and familiarity with the period' Philip Hensher, 'Books of the Year', Spectator 'A brilliant evocation of an age' Ian McIntyre, 'Books of the Year', The Times 'Whether he is dealing with war or famine, science, politics, religious beliefs or literature, Wilson is incapable of writing a dull sentence... This is the history of a vanished world brought to vibrant life' Beryl Bainbridge, 'Books of the Year', Observer 'A. N. Wilson's The Victorians widens the focus of God's Funeral which was one of the best books of its year. This one, too, is to be devoured' Tom Stoppard, 'Books of the Year', Sunday Telegraph 'Breathtaking... Wilson portrays this world with rich energy' Daily Telegraph 'Reading A.N. Wilson's The Victorians provides ongoing pleasure in handsomely researched, beautifully written prose about an age which we have come to think disparagingly. We thought wrong' Clement Freud, 'Books of the Year', Mail on Sunday
Excerpt from Book
Part I Early Victorian 1 The Little Old Woman Britannia On 16 October 1834, two visitors arrived at the Palace of Westminster and asked to be shown the chamber of the House of Lords. Parliament was in recess: sessions were much shorter in those days than now. The Speaker of the Lords, the Clerk of the Parliament, the Gentleman Usher of Black Rod, the Sergeant-at-Arms - all those charged with the responsibility for the safety and upkeep of the Houses of Parliament - were away, in the country. The place was in the charge of a housekeeper called Mrs Wright. When, at four o'clock that afternoon, Mrs Wright showed the visitors into the chamber of the Lords, they could scarcely make out the magnificent tapestries on the walls. There was smoke everywhere. The visitors complained that the stone floor was so hot that they could feel it through the soles of their feet. The throne, the grand centrepiece of the chamber, where sat the constitutional monarch when opening and proroguing their Lordships' assemblies, was invisible because of smoke. The house was, Mrs Wright agreed, in 'a complete smother'. The workmen in the crypt who had started the blaze had been charged, in the absence of the parliamentarians, with the task of burning the wooden tallies used by the Exchequer for centuries as a means of computing tax. These were modern times and these wooden tabs were to be replaced by figures written down in paper ledgers. It had been suggested to the Clerk of Works at Westminster, Richard Whibley, that this abundance of little sticks would make useful kindling for the fireplaces of the poor. (Then, as now, there were many poor people living within a short walk of the Houses of Parliament.) The sticks were housed at Westminster, and it would naturally occur to any intelligent person that nothing could be easier than to allow them to be carried away for firewood, by some of the many miserable creatures in that neighbourhood. However, they never had been useful, and official routine could not endure that they ever should be useful, and so the order went forth that they were to be privately and confidentially burnt. It came to pass that they were burnt in a stove in the House of Lords. The stove over-gorged with these preposterous sticks, set fire to the panelling; the panelling set fire to the House of Lords; the House of Lords set fire to the House of Commons; the two houses were reduced to ashes; architects were called in to build two more; and we are now in the second million of the cost thereof; the national pig is not nearly over the style yet; and the little old woman, Britannia, hasn't got home tonight. The voice, unmistakably, is that of Charles Dickens (1812-70), speaking years after the fire. There was, as he half implied, a fittingness about the fire. The Reform Bill of 1832 had selfconsciously ushered in a new era; when the emperor of Russia heard of the Westminster fire he thought it was heavenly punishment for the Whiggish abolition of rotten boroughs - boroughs which, with only a handful of voters, could nevertheless return a member of Parliament. That was perhaps because he saw the passing of the Reform Bill as the first stage of the modernizing of the British political system, the first unpicking of an old-fashioned system of hierarchy, and deference, the first stage in a hand-over of political power from the aristocracy to the bourgeoisie. This, however, was hardly how it appeared at the time. Few, if any, of the Whig aristocrats who had reformed the parliamentary system were believers in democracy. All deplored the notion of universal suffrage. The extension of the suffrage, which diehards so regretted, was limited wholly to persons of property. The great Reform Act 'had defined more clearly than at any time before or since in British history, and more clearly than had been done in any other country, a qualification for the inclusion in the
Reviews
Review Quotes
"The best single-volume of the Victorian age yet written." Evening Standard "It's hugely enjoyable, and you will undoubtedly learn something interesting about your own relationship to the past while reading it." Independent on Sunday
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
We live in the world which the Victorians created. The 'global village' is a Victorian village. Their two great inventions go hand in hand: industrial capitalism, and imperialism. Historians in the past have tended to describe these two great facts in ideological, rather than in personal terms. A. N. Wilson illuminates them through the people who built them. In a panoramic survey of the Victorian Age he describes the men and women who brought the modern age into being. The capitalist world came into being because of actual businessmen, actual journalists, actual politicians. We meet them in the pages of this book. It was challenged by the ideas of such men as Karl Marx, William Morris and George Bernard Shaw - here they are. Here are the lofty and famous - Prince Albert, Lord Palmerston, Charles Dickens, Gladstone and Disraeli - and here too are the poor and the obscure - doctors ministering to cholera victims in the big cities, young women working as models for the famous painters, the man who got the British hooked on cigarettes, the butchers and victims of conflict in Ireland, India and Africa. A. N. Wilson's book is a mosaic, in which hundreds of different lives have been pieced together to tell a story - one which is still unfinished in our own day.
Main Description
We live in a world the Victorians created. Their two great inventions go hand-in-hand: industrial capitalism and imperialism. A.N. Wilson illuminates these two great facts, not in ideological terms but in personal terms, through the people who built them. In a panoramic survey of the Victorian Age, he describes the men and women who brought the modern age into being. The capitalist world came about because of actual businessmen, actual journalists, and actual politicians. It was challenged by the ideas of such men as Karl Marx, William Morris and George Bernard Shaw here they are. Here are the lofty and famous Lord Palmerston, Charles Dickens, Gladstone and Disraeli. And here too are the poor and the obscure doctors ministering to cholera victims in the big cities, young women working as models for the famous painters, the man who got the British hooked on cigarettes, the butchers and victims of conflict in Ireland, India and Africa. A.N. Wilson's book is a mosaic in which hundreds of different lives have been pieced together to tell a story a story still unfinished to this day.
Back Cover Copy
'A masterpiece of popular history, comprehensive and sound but with the author's trademark wit and iconoclasm' Frank McLynn, 'Books of the Year', Independent 'Rarely have author and subject been found in such deep and contented harmony... Wilson's tour de force' Robert McCrum, Observer
Bowker Data Service Summary
People, not abstract ideas, make history and in this volume A.N. Wilson has pieced together hundreds of different lives to tell a story - one that is still unfinished in our own day. Here are the poor and obscure as well as the lofty and famous - each in the very act of creating the Victorian age.
Table of Contents
Early Victorian
The Little Old Woman Britanniap. 11
Victoria's Inheritancep. 17
The Charterp. 21
Typhoon Coming Onp. 29
The Age of Peelp. 35
Famine in Irelandp. 43
Doubtp. 49
The Failed Revolutionp. 55
The Eighteen-Fifties
The Great Exhibitionp. 63
Marx - Ruskin - Pre-Raphaelitesp. 73
The Crimean Warp. 85
India 1857-9p. 101
Clinging to Lifep. 114
The Eighteen-Sixties
The Beloved - Uncle Tom - and Governor Eyrep. 125
The World of Schoolp. 137
Goblin Market and the Causep. 145
Wonderlandp. 153
Some Deathsp. 161
The Eighteen-Seventies
Gladstone's First Premiershipp. 169
The Side of the Angelsp. 181
The End of Lord Beaconsfieldp. 191
Wagner - Gilbert and Sullivanp. 205
Country Parishes - Hardyp. 213
The Eighteen-Eighties
A Crazy Decadep. 221
The Plight of the Poorp. 225
The Rise of Parnellp. 231
The Fourth Estate - Gordon of Khartoum - The Maiden Tribute of Babylonp. 237
Politics of the Late 1880sp. 245
Into Africap. 247
Kipling's Indiap. 251
Jubilee - and the Munship. 255
The Dock Strikep. 261
The Scarlet Thread of Murderp. 267
The Fall of Parnellp. 273
The Eighteen-Nineties
The Victorian Way of Deathp. 279
Appearance and Realityp. 285
Utopia: The Decline of the Aristocracyp. 299
The Boer Warp. 311
Valep. 321
Notesp. 327
Bibliographyp. 333
Illustrationsp. 343
Indexp. 347
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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