The Spirit of the Age: Victorian Essays

The Spirit of the Age: Victorian Essays

by Gertrude Himmelfarb
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0300151381

ISBN-13: 9780300151381

Pub. Date: 04/14/2009

Publisher: Yale University Press

None of the stereotypes of Victorian England—narrow-minded, inhibited, moralistic, complacent—prepares us for the vitality, variety, and above all extraordinary quality of intellectual life displayed in this volume of essays. Selected and annotated by Gertrude Himmelfarb, a distinguished historian of Victorian thought, the writings address a wide range of

Overview

None of the stereotypes of Victorian England—narrow-minded, inhibited, moralistic, complacent—prepares us for the vitality, variety, and above all extraordinary quality of intellectual life displayed in this volume of essays. Selected and annotated by Gertrude Himmelfarb, a distinguished historian of Victorian thought, the writings address a wide range of subjects—religion, politics, history, science, art, socialism, and feminism—by eminent figures of the era, including Carlyle, Mill, Macaulay, Dickens, Eliot, Thackeray, Newman, Arnold, and Wilde. The selections reflect what Himmelfarb terms “the spirit of the age”—contentious as well as earnest, given to high aspirations and convictions, and at the same time subject to deep anxieties and doubts.

The Victorians, undisputed masters of the long, serious essay, found the genre congenial to the expression of their most compelling and provocative views. This volume offers a representative sampling of essays from the early, middle, and late Victorian periods, each accompanied by an introductory note. Himmelfarb also introduces the volume with two enlightening essays, one on the evolving spirit of the age, and the other on the essay as a genre and on the important periodicals that attracted such a large and engaged audience.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300151381
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
04/14/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 2.30(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction

I The Spirit of the Age 1

II The Essay as Genre 18

Early Victorian England

"Signs of the Times" (1829) Thomas Carlyle 31

"The Spirit of the Age" (1831) John Stuart Mill 50

"Civil Disabilities of the Jews" (1831) T. B. Macaulay 80

"The Snobs of England, by One of Themselves" (1846-47) W. M. Thackeray 91

"Demoralisation and Total Abstinence" (1849) Charles Dickens 107

Mid-Victorian England

"Evangelical Teaching: Dr. Cumming" (1855) George Eliot 119

"Dull Government," "Average Government," and "Thinking Government" (1856) Walter Bagehot 145

"A Few Words on Non-Intervention" (1859) John Stuart Mill 157

"The Roots of Honour" (1860) John Ruskin 172

"General Answer to Mr. Kingsley" (1864) John Henry Newman 185

"Culture and Its Enemies" (1867) Matthew Arnold 205

Late Victorian England

"The History of Freedom in Antiquity" (1877) John E. E. D. Acton 227

"The Future of English women: A Reply" (1878) Millicent Garrett Fawcett 248

"'Robert Elsmere': The Battle of Belief" (1888) W.E. Gladstone 260

"Pages from a Work-Girl's Diary" (1888) Beatrice Webb 280

"The Soul of Man under Socialism" (1891) Oscar Wilde 294

"Evolution and Ethics" (1893) T. H. Huxley 311

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