Eminent Georgians: The Lives of King George V, Elizabeth Bowen, St. John Philby, and Nancy Astor

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John Halperin illuminates the connection between four fascinating people and the intersecting era in which they lived -the second "Georgian" age, the period in England between the two world wars.

The author of the bestselling The Life of Jane Austen illuminates the connections among four fascinating people and the age in which they lived--the second "Georgian" age, the period in England between the two world wars. Halperin considers the impact that these leading ...

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Overview

John Halperin illuminates the connection between four fascinating people and the intersecting era in which they lived -the second "Georgian" age, the period in England between the two world wars.

The author of the bestselling The Life of Jane Austen illuminates the connections among four fascinating people and the age in which they lived--the second "Georgian" age, the period in England between the two world wars. Halperin considers the impact that these leading figures had on their era, as well as the extent to which they themselves were shaped by the age in which they lived.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The Georgian age to which Halperin (Life of Jane Austen, LJ 9/15/84) refers is that of King George V-primarily the Britain of the 1920s and 1930s. His format, a bow to Lytton Strachey's 1918 Eminent Victorians, is a quartet of life stories of significant figures-a king (George V); a novelist (Bowen); a "tycoon" and civil servant, father to a famous spy (Philby); and the first woman member of Parliament (Astor). His theme is the interplay of Victorian tradition and developing modernism, the way an age shapes its actors and the actors shape the age. His style is engaging, chatty, and vigorously opinionated, particularly about Lady Astor. An entertaining book and a good choice for most biography collections.-Nancy C. Cridland, Indiana Univ. Libs., Bloomington
Booknews
Halperin considers how their world shaped these four personalities, and the impact they had on their era. Halperin writes that all four--a king; an author exposed as a World War II spy; the father of the notorious Kim Philby; and the American divorcee who became the first female member of Parliament--embody the simultaneous allegiance of many Georgians both to tradition and to change, to the status quo and to the future. "Their spiritual and historical ambivalence defines the age they lived in," he writes, "and the age they lived in, it may be, was defined in some small way by the lives they led." Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Brad Hooper
In the vein of Lytton Strachey's classic collective biography, "Eminent Victorians", Halperin profiles four figures exemplary of a later age in Britain. Halperin sees past reputation as the way to take the real measure of two men and two women, each in their own way representing the "simultaneity of traditionalism and experimentation" that characterized British society between the two world wars. Emphasizing their "allegiance . . . to tradition and to change, to the status quo and to the future," Halperin reenvisions in these cogent portraits the lives of the sovereign himself, George V; Anglo-Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen; St. John Philby, oddball figure in the foreign service; and Lady Astor, who, although American born, was the first woman to sit in the House of Commons. Halperin's talent is to recognize the four as individuals while also seeing their commonality.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312126612
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 9/1/1995
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.49 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
List of Illustrations
Introduction 1
1 The First Windsor: George V 7
2 The Good Tiger: Elizabeth Bowen 73
3 The Last Tycoon: St. John Philby 129
4 Lady of the House: Nancy Astor 173
Works Consulted 231
Index 236
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