Essays on victorian fashion

Overall, the book has great brilliance of style and is probably the most successful application of the comic spirit to literary biography in English literature. It is a period piece, a vivid point in the long transaction of the twentieth century with its immediate past. Although the book offers very few dates and not many footnotes or charts or graphs, Strachey’s biographies are short anecdotal, witty and entertaining. His aim, as he has declared in the preface, was to cast ” a sudden revealing searchlight into obscure recesses hitherto undivined”. In the process he occasionally sacrificed truth, but the result – polished, malicious, and lively – made him the hero of the Victorian era. Even today, when people use “Victorian” as a synonym for “smug,” “prudish” or “flowery,” they are showing the impact of Strachey’s satiric perspective.

This was partly because this middle class form of literary art was bound to flourish increasingly as the middle class rose in power and importance, partly because of the steady increase of the reading public with the growth of lending libraries, the development of publishing in the modern sense and other events which accompanied this increase, and partly because the novel was the best means to present a picture of life, lived under the stable background of social moral values by people who were like the people encountered by readers, and this was the kind of picture of life, the middle class readers wanted to read about.

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Essays on victorian fashion

essays on victorian fashion


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