Synopses & Reviews
A dramatic, revisionist panorama of an age whose material triumphs and spiritual crises prefigure our own.
The nineteenth century saw greater changes than any previous era: in the ways nations and societies were organized; in scientific knowledge; in nonreligious intellectual development; and in capital and its consequences. The crucial players in this drama were the British, who invented both capitalism and imperialism and were incomparably the richest, hence the most important, investors in the developing world. In this sense, England's position has strong resemblances to America's in the late twentieth century.
As one of our most accomplished biographers and novelists, A. N. Wilson has a keen eye for a good story, and in these pages he singles out those writers, statesmen, scientists, philosophers, and soldiers whose lives illuminate so grand and revolutionary a history: Darwin, Marx, Gladstone, Christina Rossetti, Gordon, Cardinal Newman, George Eliot, Kipling. Wilson's accomplishment in this book is to explain through these signature lives how Victorian England started a revolution that still hasn't ended.
32 pages of b/w illustrations.
"The Victorians are an enormously stimulating and talented crew who have been miraculously ferried by their author into modern times. Scholarly and eclectic, liberated from present-day vexations and nicely balanced between the spirit of past revolution and contemporary nostalgia, this extraordinary book shows A.N. Wilson at his invigorating best." Michael Holroyd
"Wilson's background as a biographer and a novelist enables him to vividly capture and communicate the texture and the flavor of Victorian Britain." Booklist
"The many anecdotes about Victorians famous and obscure will delight many readers, but Wilson's book is long on stories and short on explanation. Those with little background in British history will be confused by the parade of people who come and go, and by events that are mentioned but not described." Publishers Weekly
Wilson singles out those whose lives illuminate the 19th century--Darwin, Marx, Gladstone, Kipling, and others--and explains through these signature lives how Victorian England started a revolution that still hasn't ended. of illustrations.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 659-687) and index.
About the Author
A. N. Wilson lives in London.