The Victorians

The Victorians

Book - 2003 | First American edition
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Baker & Taylor
A revisionist panorama of the nineteenth century examines the era's material and spiritual changes in the wake of emerging British capitalism and imperialism, as told through the writings of such figures as Darwin, Marks, George Eliot, and Kipling. 40,000 first printing.

Norton Pub
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.

Book News
Wilson, a writer and biographer, turns his gift for a good story to the complex subject of the Victorians, their society, deep urban and societal ills, politics, larger-than-life personalities, and details of daily life and death. The lives of the era's best-known aristocrats, politicians, thinkers, and writers are told in tandem with stories of popular events, personalities, and scandals in a seamless and fascinating read. Annotation (c) Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

A revisionist panorama of the nineteenth century examines the era's material and spiritual changes in the wake of emerging British capitalism and imperialism.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, 2003
Edition: First American edition
ISBN: 9780393049749
Branch Call Number: 941.081 Wilson 2003
Characteristics: xii, 724 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm


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multcolib_susannel Jun 30, 2014

I enjoyed this detailed overview of the Victorian Era. It is liberally illustrated with photos and paintings. The text is well documented with footnotes and a bibliography. Especially interesting to me was the list of Periodicals and Manuscripts consulted.

The writing style in this book is disorganized and poorly edited. If you do not already have some familiarity with the characters in the Victorian era you will find this difficult to follow as notables are mentioned 'en passant' often without context. It is interesting to see the span of the Victorian era in one volume with reference to main artists, authors, politicians and social issues [from work houses to sweat shops and typhoid epidemics] but it is a shame that such an expensive printing is written in such a disjunctive style. It is a frustrating read, even for one who has a modicum of background in European history.


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