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Eminent Victorians [Read] ➪ Eminent Victorians Author Lytton Strachey – Thomashillier.co.uk Discretion is not the better part of biography, Strachey warns us, and it is with this motto that he paints his portraits of Cardinal Manning, Dr Arnold, Florence Nightingale, and General Gordon The c Discretion is not the better part of biography, Strachey warns us, and it is with this motto that he paints his portraits of Cardinal Manning, Dr Arnold, Florence Nightingale, and General Gordon The caricatures which represent the world of religion, philanthropy, education, and politics expose the high Victorian myths, and reveal a slightly darker truth about the leading figures of the eraSome say that he led the world into the next generation, but that claim is essentially over inflated What can be said is that the line between fiction and non fiction was blurred A new genre was born literary biographyAbout the Author Giles Lytton Strachey was born ininto a well educated, upper middle class, and highly eccentric family His days at Cambridge led to his becoming a dominant member of the elite Bloomsbury group, which included such passionate thinkers as Maynard Keynes, EM Forester, and Leonard and Virginia Woolf It was in this clique that Strachey was able to voice and support behavior that had previously been condemned, such as homosexuality, feminism, and opposition to World War I Besides Eminent Victorians, his biographical works include Queen Victoria, Elizabeth and Essex, and Portraits in Miniature.

  • Paperback
  • 320 pages
  • Eminent Victorians
  • Lytton Strachey
  • 05 January 2017
  • 0760749930

About the Author: Lytton Strachey

Giles Lytton Strachey was a British writer and critic He is best known for establishing a new form of biography in which psychological insight and sympathy are combined with irreverence and wit His biography Queen Victoria was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.



10 thoughts on “Eminent Victorians

  1. Fergus Fergus says:

    A wonderfully witty book that, a century ago, forever burst the bubble of glory that had up till then so reverently encased the shimmering Victorian Empire.I read it as a young guy and laughed uproariously at its irreverence, delighting all the while in Strachey s finely pointed prose.To the bohemian denizens of London s Bloomsbury District, Strachey s oddly iconoclastic vantage point, his languid and world weary witticisms and his immense mastery of his subject matter must have elevated him to A wonderfully witty book that, a century ago, forever burst the bubble of glory that had up till then so reverently encased the shimmering Victorian Empire.I read it as a young guy and laughed uproariously at its irreverence, delighting all the while in Strachey s finely pointed prose.To the bohemian denizens of London s Bloomsbury District, Strachey s oddly iconoclastic vantage point, his languid and world weary witticisms and his immense mastery of his subject matter must have elevated him to urban myth status in their eyes.He turned Oscar Wilde s dandyism into a form of cackling self caricature in his stovepipe hat and collar length black beard, loping down London boulevards with a John Lennon grin.He was too cool for rules.And he s not widely read now Indeed, his cleverness was never an adjunct of substance.Substance was the very balloon he wished to burst But wit doesn t always pay the bills And you don t get into heaven on irreverence.There has to be a middle ground in life, because extremes have no staying power If you want to reach the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, you don t go around with a chip on your shoulder.Many of us who laughed with Strachey when young now see a far greater value in the middle way he mocked These upstanding Victorians he wrote about worked hard for their faith, and deserve our gratitude and respect, not our sneers.No, for as F.R Leavis said, we are all part of the milieu of the Great Tradition.Even if we trash it

  2. Jasmine Jasmine says:

    One should rather read Lytton Strachey s Eminent Victorians if one is interested to gain an insight into how Strachey dismounts with relish Victorian heroes and values My motivation to read this book has been generated from my interest in the Bloomsbury Group, which the eccentric Lytton Strachey 1880 1933 was a prominent member of The Bloomsbury Group with its writers, artists, philosophers and intellectuals challenged Victorian and Edwardian values and Strachey s witty and ironic reckon One should rather read Lytton Strachey s Eminent Victorians if one is interested to gain an insight into how Strachey dismounts with relish Victorian heroes and values My motivation to read this book has been generated from my interest in the Bloomsbury Group, which the eccentric Lytton Strachey 1880 1933 was a prominent member of The Bloomsbury Group with its writers, artists, philosophers and intellectuals challenged Victorian and Edwardian values and Strachey s witty and ironic reckoning with prominent characters such as Cardinal Manning, Florence Nightingale, Thomas Arnold and General Gordon was certainly shocking for the reader of the early 20th century However, if one is interested in gaining a thorough knowledge of the life of these Victorians, I would rather not recommend Strachey s book This is first and foremost a literary work Lytton s historical approach is neither careful nor sound John Sutherland writes in his introductionEminent Victorians is not, we deduce, the work of a stickler for historical fact, documentary trustworthiness, or modern standards of scholarly citation Art yes Any amount of effort was lavished in that department But accuracy was something elsep.xiii Thus, as so often with history books, Eminent Victorians revealsabout the time it is actually written in it was published in 1918 than the period it deals with And it says something about Lytton himself too Therefore, within the scope of my purpose of learningabout the Bloomsbury Group, this was a satisfying read, albeit a bit tedious at times This has to do rather with me than with Lytton, though I admit I was not that interested in Cardinal Manning s or General Gordon s fate as I was in the life of Florence Nightingale for that matter I highly recommend the Oxford World s Classics edition that comes with an introduction and notes by John Sutherland The explanatory notes are very helpful indeed

  3. Peter Peter says:

    This book was a rocking good read It is very well written, and hilarious in parts People have told me either with glee or with a wag of the finger that Strachey takes the piss out of Victorians in this book, but these people have never read the book Waspish as his writing is, it is never at least to a modern reader disrespectful The awesome and I don t use that word often power and presence of the four personalities treated shines through the writing despite or because of the econo This book was a rocking good read It is very well written, and hilarious in parts People have told me either with glee or with a wag of the finger that Strachey takes the piss out of Victorians in this book, but these people have never read the book Waspish as his writing is, it is never at least to a modern reader disrespectful The awesome and I don t use that word often power and presence of the four personalities treated shines through the writing despite or because of the economy of Strachey s prose Strachey redeems his subjects he doesn t condemn them

  4. Eric Eric says:

    The End of General Gordon is Gibbonesque historical writing at its best Lucid, swift, hilarious, with a keen eye for the absurdity of public life, and for the delusion of religion Faultless dramatic styling He was welcomed by many old friends of former days, among them Li Hung Chang, whose diplomatic views coincided with his own Li s diplomatic language, however, was less unconventional In an interview with the Ministers, Gordon s expressions were such that the interpreter shook with ter The End of General Gordon is Gibbonesque historical writing at its best Lucid, swift, hilarious, with a keen eye for the absurdity of public life, and for the delusion of religion Faultless dramatic styling He was welcomed by many old friends of former days, among them Li Hung Chang, whose diplomatic views coincided with his own Li s diplomatic language, however, was less unconventional In an interview with the Ministers, Gordon s expressions were such that the interpreter shook with terror, upset a cup of tea, and finally refused to translate the dreadful words upon which Gordon snatched up a dictionary, and, with his finger on the word idiocy, showed it to the startled mandarins

  5. P.J. Sullivan P.J. Sullivan says:

    Although it sometimes comes at the expense of clarity, there is some artful writing here Some examples On public school education A system of anarchy tempered by despotism A life in which licensed barbarism was mingled with the daily and hourly study of the niceties of Ovidian verse On Monsignor Talbot He could apply flattery with so unsparing a hand that even princes of the church found it sufficient On Dr Hall A rough terrier of a man who had worried his way to the top of his prof Although it sometimes comes at the expense of clarity, there is some artful writing here Some examples On public school education A system of anarchy tempered by despotism A life in which licensed barbarism was mingled with the daily and hourly study of the niceties of Ovidian verse On Monsignor Talbot He could apply flattery with so unsparing a hand that even princes of the church found it sufficient On Dr Hall A rough terrier of a man who had worried his way to the top of his profession On Cardinal Newman With a sinking heart, he realized at last the painful truth it was not the nature of his views, it was his having views at all that was objectionable If it is sardonic wit you want, you will find it here, in these four essays Whether you will find these particular Victorians interesting is another matter General Gordon, Florence Nightingale, Dr Thomas Arnold, and Cardinal Manning are not as relevant today as they once were But these psychologically penetrating essays created quite a stir in their time, and even changed the course of the art of biography

  6. Eleanore Eleanore says:

    This is a marvelous collection of short biographies for four great figures of the Victorian age Dr Arnold, Florence Nightingale, Cardinal Manning and General Gordon Strachey s wit is no less cutting than his pen, exposing with relentless precision the hypocrisy, the ambition, the immorality and in some cases outright cruelty of some of the Victorian age s most treasured legends In so doing, he makes a powerful argument for the art of the biography against the questionable value of idealized This is a marvelous collection of short biographies for four great figures of the Victorian age Dr Arnold, Florence Nightingale, Cardinal Manning and General Gordon Strachey s wit is no less cutting than his pen, exposing with relentless precision the hypocrisy, the ambition, the immorality and in some cases outright cruelty of some of the Victorian age s most treasured legends In so doing, he makes a powerful argument for the art of the biography against the questionable value of idealized moral hagiography in favor of uncovering and identifying the essential humanity of its subjects, however deeply flawed It is, among other things, thoroughly entertaining

  7. Lynne King Lynne King says:

    I read this book years ago and am considering rereading it again I loved so many books about the Bloomsbury Group and Lytton Strachey was a very unusual but highly gifted individual.

  8. Graychin (D. Dalrymple) Graychin (D. Dalrymple) says:

    In one of thefamous take downs in the history of biography, Lytton Strachey sets out to slay the sainted beast of a golden age in the persons of four representative figures, and he mostly succeeds It may be hard for us to appreciate the feat at this distance Eminent Victorians was published in 1918 the memory of that once imposing Jabberwock the Victorian era is well faded The fading itself, however, owes something to Strachey The section on Cardinal Manning makes an irreverent h In one of thefamous take downs in the history of biography, Lytton Strachey sets out to slay the sainted beast of a golden age in the persons of four representative figures, and he mostly succeeds It may be hard for us to appreciate the feat at this distance Eminent Victorians was published in 1918 the memory of that once imposing Jabberwock the Victorian era is well faded The fading itself, however, owes something to Strachey The section on Cardinal Manning makes an irreverent history of the Oxford Movement, illustrating the sandpit dangers of odium theologicum and the mutual jealousies of worldly wise politicians Manning and otherworldly mystics John Henry Newman In Strachey s Florence Nightingale we find a woman so dogged in her work, and yet so doggedly hampered by her sex, that she runs a man to death Thomas Arnold, the education reformer and headmaster of Rugby School, makes Strachey s briefest subject The best, however, is reserved for last in The End of General Gordon And here s why I say that Strachey mostly but not entirely succeeds in his take down, because for all his personal misalignments Strachey s Gordon Pasha like Nightingale to a degree is nonetheless an object of legitimate awe, even when his goals seem to us culpably eccentric Through the whole volume and in prose as crystalline as Edmund Gosse s Father and Son, a book with thematic similarities the message is clear A culture is no less likely than an individual to fail in suspicion of its own motives or to manufacture divine endorsement of its most selfish desires, though thousands perish in consequence

  9. Scott Scott says:

    Why let scruples over facts and fairness get in the way of a wickedly good read Lytton Strachey s quartet of pithy biographies, Eminent Victorians 1918 , wittily, Wilde ishly distorts the character and accomplishments of four noble worthies Cardinal Manning, Florence Nightingale, Thomas Arnold, and General Gordon in order to burlesque the nineteenth century s most dearly held virtues faith, hard work, learning, and courage In its day, the book s tone and specious arguments ruffled a fe Why let scruples over facts and fairness get in the way of a wickedly good read Lytton Strachey s quartet of pithy biographies, Eminent Victorians 1918 , wittily, Wilde ishly distorts the character and accomplishments of four noble worthies Cardinal Manning, Florence Nightingale, Thomas Arnold, and General Gordon in order to burlesque the nineteenth century s most dearly held virtues faith, hard work, learning, and courage In its day, the book s tone and specious arguments ruffled a few aged feathers But its derisive criticism of the past generation s pretense helped to usher in a new, Modern period of literature, and Strachey s probing of his subjects psyches and his experiments with the structure of his lives profoundly influenced the scope and style of twentieth century biography Readers nowadays sometimes miss Strachey s mocking irony his victims are too long dead, mostly forgotten, and the style he parodies has gone out of fashion In spite of its age, though, the book is full of deliciously tart and stinging lines that make this acerbic read a guilty pleasure

  10. D D says:

    The choice of people that get a biography in this book is excellent although I have no idea whether the sample is representative I found all of the stories very interesting, well written, witty and humorous The preoccupation with religion that all subjects share, with the possible exception of Florence Nightingale, is amazing and interesting All in all, a great read, especially for anyone interested in the Victorian period.

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