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Queen Victoria

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  718 ratings  ·  66 reviews
This is the definitive biography of Britain’s greatest monarch, who “was hailed at once as the mother of her people and as the embodied symbol of their imperial greatness.” “One of the surpassingly beautiful prose achievements of our time” (Chicago Daily News). Index; illustrations.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 9th 2002 by Mariner Books (first published 1921)
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Victoria's Daughters by Jerrold M. PackardWe Two by Gillian GillBecoming Queen by Kate WilliamsQueen Victoria by Christopher HibbertA Magnificent Obsession by Helen Rappaport
Best Queen Victoria Books
7th out of 58 books — 40 voters
A Room with a View by E.M. ForsterHowards End by E.M. ForsterA Passage to India by E.M. ForsterA Room of One's Own by Virginia WoolfMrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Bloomsbury
10th out of 106 books — 25 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,957)
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Paul Bryant
This is not in Lytton Strachey's crafty and mordant biography but he would have seen this and smirked his head off. When Queen Victoria got married, the joke going round the gentlemen's clubs of Mayfair was about the honeymoon train. It would be setting out from Waterloo, passing through Virginia Water and Bushey until arriving at Maidenhead, leaving Staines behind.

(For those unfamiliar with the geography of the Home Counties, these are all small towns in the south of England.)

When the British t
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Richard
I found this a remarkable biography. It is quite short when one considers that it covers the longest reign in English History and the life of a monarch who lived 81 years. It works because Strachey focuses on the personality relationships that dominated that period--all of which centered upon the Queen. Thus we find chapters dealing with Lord Melbourne, Prince Albert (Chapters 4 through 6}, Lord Palmerston {in conjunction with the Prince Consort} Gladstone and Disraeli. In The central section th ...more
Carla
Giles Lytton Strachey was an early 20th century writer and biographer who developed a reputation for writing biographies that dealt with individuals as people, rather than the events they were associated with. His 1921 biography of the British monarch, Queen Victoria, is a highly readable insight into this long-reigning queen.

Many public domain books can be slow to read, with language that is sometimes archaic when compared to contemporary writing. This is not the case with Strachey's work. Not
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Shawn Thrasher
For a book written and published approximately 90 years ago, this had a very modern feel. Strachey's biography certainly contains all the bones of Victoria's life; biographers writing after Strachey added meat, particularly the later years of Victoria's life and reign. Even Strachey has all the meat in the early years, up to the Prince Consort's death. I wonder if Strachey's biography set the narrative tone, created the Victoria story (so to speak) that future biographers all follow? I also assu ...more
Dagmar1927
I read this originally for historical purposes, just to see what all the fuss was about really in all the other biographies I'd read. However, I took it out of the library and couldn't put it down.

I loved Strachey's quiet exasperation of the Queen's somewhat questionable fashion sense at the state visit to Paris in 1855. It was the first time I'd read about such a reaction to her clothing and the slightly unnerving image of all that green and carnations was rather amusing. As was the profusion o
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Paola
This very lively biography of Queen Victoria must be one of the best ads for republicanism I have come across: voluble, domineering, egotist, not well educated, her genuine concerns for her subjects appear rarely if at all. In most interactions she is surprised and disappointed by their failure to understand what she really means.
Why should birth confer privileges to such a person? She harasses her Ministers, she presses for war on one side then the other on a whim, she amasses a private fortune
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K.
The three stars are only for "liking it" not for its inherent merit. Read like a slightly gossipy novel, which was nice, kept the flow and readability going.

Written by the interesting Strachey, founding member of the Bloomsbury Group (a group of writers which included Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster and others).

Daughter is "being" Queen Victoria for a school project, audience to ask biographical questions. Needed to have some questions to ask, thus this reading, which isn't my usual fare.

However
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Alana
After seeing The Young Victoria, I became very interested in reading more about her. Apparently, she fell for Albert practically on sight and didn't need much persuasion to get married at all! I wanted to know about her family life the most but there isn't much of that in this book. Albert was extremely private and so it doesn't surprise me much. There is a lot of speculation about how Albert felt about his situation but again I don't know how much to believe since most of it is observation.

Th
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Eric
4 stars for the first 80 pages - 3 stars for the rest. Strachey's gossipy prurience makes him a superb narrator of the court intrigue, the royal dissipation, the machinations of succession that begin Victoria's story. But things lagged after the marriage: I guess the sprightliest of historians can't do much with Albert's flood of memoranda, Victoria's flood of children. I was hoping that Prince Edward, trailing an entourage of mistresses, might take the stage for a while, but he's dealt with in ...more
Jesi
As a student of history, Queen Victoria has always fascinated me, because with her long reign, the leader of Britain at its largest point, her nine children and multitudes of grand and great-grand children, it is difficult to find a corner of the world which she didn’t influence.

Victoria was conceived specifically for political purposes. Her father, the Duke of Kent, married a young widow for the express purpose of producing an heir before his brothers could do so. Growing up, she knew that she
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Bernard Madsen
Half way through the reading of this tome (original 1921 hardcover)I stopped and noted how amazing the writing of this author was... poetic, flowing and beautiful... so nice. An absolutely wonderful book! I see now what all the fuss about Strachey's writing was... an easy, breezy, flowing narrative of an amazing life, of an amazing human, who was actually very, very human indeed. Beautifully done.
Andra Constantin
Although it makes for an interesting reading, this particular biography of Queen Victoria is not the best for someone who has not read anything else about her, her time, royalty in England, England Constitution.

The short story of a long and interesting life, revolves around the men in the life of Queen Victoria. The kings before her time, her tutors, her ministers, her husband, her servants and for a while she is only a shadow in a book about her own life.

I am sure there must be better options f
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Omphale23
traditional overview with classic writing

As a history, this isn't what we look for now. More is known about Victoria, and better histories exist. But the writing is worth the challenge of reading past the period assumptions, and even the flaws in the digitization of the text itself.

This version isn't perfect, as several sections have issues with formatting and font. But all of the text is readable, and as the book itself is short, it's not as frustrating as it might otherwise be.
James Whyle
I stopped reading fiction in the 1980s because I felt that no one could write a novel as good as Norman Mailer's Ancient Evenings. It seems to be a thing that happens with some male readers as they age. In the next twenty years or so Annie Proulx's short stories got me. Or I got them. Then in the late noughts good friends recommended The Road. I've since read almost all of Cormac McM, just like I read almost everything that Mailer wrote. (It is a very good thing, now and then, to devour a writer ...more
Lenoresachs
Feb 07, 2010 Lenoresachs added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of history
Recommended to Lenoresachs by: a friend
The first chapters cram more history of the English nobility (the various marriages, liasons, deaths, etc.)into a few pages than can be readily absorbed but finally arrive at the point where Victoria's personal development is described: her education by tutors (she was trilingual, and, interestingly, she was more familiar with the German language than with English); she had no respite from her mother's constant supervision of her behavior and education and public appearances. With that backgroun ...more
Kevin
Knowing quite a bit about the authors, artists, and thinkers from the Victorian era, I was surprised to find I knew little about Victoria herself. Strachey's biography was an invaluable set of anecdotes, analyses, and explanations that humanize the monarch for me while providing a strong through-line narrative that reminded me of the historical events that went on around her (or, more often than not, that she shaped). Surprisingly funny and thoroughly well-researched, Strachey is able to breathe ...more
Isil
Le personnage de Victoria ne m'a jamais semblé palpitant mais l'époque victorienne m'intéresse, surtout sur le plan littéraire.
L’ouvrage de Strachey est à peine une biographie, plutôt un portrait psychologique où l’humour à froid de l’auteur fait mouche. On n’est pas noyé sous les dates et parfois on a un peu de mal à se resituer dans le temps à cause de certains retours en arrière intempestifs. D’ailleurs, après son mariage avec Albert, c’est lui qui devient le « héros » de l’histoire et Victor
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Bob
Wasn't sure what to expect but the opening pages are a hilariously gossipy approach to royal biography, yet in fine literary style - can't wait to get back to it!

Finished: "Gossipy" not quite the term, lest one encompass this in the same breath with Andrew Morton and the like, but Strachey's somewhat irreverent style (particularly compared with what was customary at the time he wrote) set a new standard for biography, that is still admired and emulated. You already know that he was one of the Bl
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Glynis O'halloran
Being a Tudors fan, I knew very little about Queen Victoria so this was all new to me. I expected it to be a stuffy and difficult read but, in fact, the style was quite light and not too difficult at all. The tone was fairly respectful but as it was written in the 1920s there would still be a lot of her supporters around and so it would have been difficult for Strachey to be indiscreet. In fact, as he says, little was known about what happened during the years when she withdrew from the public s ...more
Ricardo
No se si estoy leyendo la vida de Victoria o la de Alberto... tremendo como escribe este hombre. Parece que lo hubiera redactado ayer...

Victoria: vida larga y fructifera: poblaste de herederos a las casas reinantes europeos casando a tus innumerables hijos pero no soñaste con que los primos hermanos iban a enfrentarse en la primera guerra. En fin..., muy llevadero, muy poco biopic. Se me reveló un personaje completamente distinto a la idea que yo tenía de Victoria y su tiempo. Formidable el capí
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Sophia
I picked this up after watching a movie about Victoria so I could learn more about her life. This book worked very well for this need as it had details, but was written for the lay person as well as the scholar. I appreciated the illustrations and the chapter divisions that are made for easy reference. I also liked the choice of larger font that made it easy on the eyes.
sakura_txell
La narración de la vida de la reina Victoria, de la relación con los personajes más cercanos a su persona, se hace realmente ágil, pero no ayuda en absoluto la edición, con la letra pequeña y el mínimo interlineado.
Tocotin
Very enjoyable if short. I got a nasty, queasy feeling over how often people let others – who are shallow, unpleasant, less than mediocre, and lacking in sympathy – rule themselves and then idolize them.
Julia
This book was a lot of fun to read. Never having lived in a monarchy, I found all the palace rules and traditions to be highly interesting. The multiple influences that relatives and ministers of the royals tried maintain is intriguing. It was fascinating to read of Victoria's guarded childhood, her growth through being a queen at age 18 to a young wife, to a mother of nine children, to losing Prince Albert, the love of her life, at an early age, and learning the inside stories of her reign, bei ...more
Emma
This book should be renamed "The Terribly Interesting and Important Men Around Boring Old Queen Victoria" because it focuses so little on the queen herself, and so much on her masculine advisers and keepers. It's still a worthwhile read, however, thanks to the author's Victorian tone and delivery. I love when a biography presents as much information in its narration as it does in its actual observation, and Strachey's crinoline and table-skirt style pull the reader tightly into the era. "Queen V ...more
iamtedae
Mar 27, 2007 iamtedae rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of celebrity biography
Shelves: favorites
This is an excellent book! I admit, when I picked it up I thought it was a "new" book, meaning within the last 10 years, and so felt a little sheepish when I read the publisher's page and discovered that, no, it's almost a century old... the writing style is a little dated, but actually not as much as I would expect. The tone is engaging, and a lot of imagination is used in illustrating the queen's life. The author creates a vivid picture of the queen's life and personality, and those of her fam ...more
Denise
Lytton Strachey shows us the inner workings of Queen Victoria's reign. The influences of her mother, her companion, her uncle--all with their own agendas--and how they shaped her early life and her personality. A detailed look at her total mental and emotional surrender to her husband and consort, Prince Albert. The machinations of her Prime Ministers and the stresses they would place on her life during her long years on the throne. How her public image evolved into that of a strict and virtuous ...more
Tina
An interesting glimpse into such a different time and culture - Victorian England. How fascinating to think of all of the dynamics in the monarch's home, nation and especially the power of her advisors. It is wild to imagine one human life involving being the monarch for over 60 years, being much in love with your husband amidst all the dynamics of public life and court, AND being the mother of 9. She truly had a very unique life.

The most bizarre factor to me was that a woman with so much opport
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Christina German
Page count: 448

Genre: non-fiction

Strachey took a more psychological look on the biography rather than a political. Throughout the biography he created her through the pages, making her come back to life. Victoria had a very eventful life, she impressed and charmed many lives that followed her reign. Along with her absurdity, she was very real. She had faults throughout her reign like any other being. Strachey used Victoria's fault to understand what influenced her stubborn tyrannical, and passio
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Iva
Mar 24, 2012 Iva marked it as to-read
I have to do a presentation for Queen Victoria for a history class. And the damned professor gave me 2 DAYS to prepare. *throws her hands in the air* These professors these days! It's Queen Victoria!! This cannot be done in 2 effing days! 64 years of reign just CAN even approximately NOT! Be prepared good enough. In 2 DAYS! ARGH! sigh* I just wish I, sometimes, had enough time to actually do a reasonable research on an important subject like this one. -.-'
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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 1921 biography Queen Victoria was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
More about Lytton Strachey...
Eminent Victorians Elizabeth and Essex The Letters of Lytton Strachey The Biography of Florence Nightingale Portraits in Miniature: And Other Essays by Lytton Strachey

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