978-0-8264-6497-2 / 9780826464972

Eminent Victorians: The Definitive Edition





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About the book:

The biographer and essayist Lytton Strachey died in 1932. Here, to mark the seventieth anniversary of his death, is the first critical edition of his most famous work, Eminent Victorians. Originally published in 1918, the book was an immediate bestseller and became a pioneering work in the writing of modern biography. Eminent Victorians was an assault on the Victorian Age and its values. Choosing four key figures as pivotal representatives of their time - Cardinal Manning, Florence Nightingale, Dr Arnold of Rugby, and General Gordon - Strachey conducted a masterly hatchet job with wit, iconoclasm, and a satiric edge. The book was acclaimed as epoch-making, and was famously described by Cyril Connolly as 'a revolutionary textbook on bourgeois society written in the language though which the bourgeois ear could be lulled and beguiled, the Mandarin style'. For this new edition the text of Eminent Victorians is printed in its entirety, and there are also new critical afterwords by four experts, reassessing Strachey's judgements on his subjects and presenting each one in a fresh light. David Newsome writes on Cardinal Manning; Mark Bostridge on Florence Nightingale; Terence Copley on Dr Arnold; and John Pollock on General Gordon. Textual notes and illustrations from the original manuscript are included, together with previously unpublished photographs. Paul Levy, editor of Strachey's correspondence, writes the introduction, and the foreword is by the only remaining survivor of the Bloomsbury Group, Frances Partridge.

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