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Dickens's England: Life in Victorian Times
Victorian England was, in Tennyson's phrase, an awful moment of transition. A society based largely on agriculture, traditional values, and social hierarchies was transformed into one both stimulated and unsettled by unprecedented growth in science, technology, industry, urbanization and population, and profound questioning of politics, morality, and religion. Its writers ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 30th 2003 by Praeger
(first published September 25th 2002)
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This approach to the history of Victorian England is unusual; the subject is divided into sections such as "Ladies, Gentlemen, and Others" and "The Labouring Nation," but after the author introduces the topic and gives a summary of it, he turns to primary sources to illustrate. Excerpts from Dickens' writing, as well as from other authors, reformers, essayists and politicians, bring the culture of the time to life. The structure means it's not quite so good as reference material, but in itself i ...more
For someone in search of a coherent, cohesive social history of 19th century Britain, this volume is a considerable disappointment. Pritchard, a lecturer in literature, has brought together a large number of very brief excerpts from a very wide variety of publications from the 1830s through about the 1870s. (The last twenty years of Victoria’s reign were increasingly different from the first forty years, as even observers at the time recognized.) These are grouped in only the most general way un ...more