Backgrounds to Victorian Literature Author:Richard A. Levine (Editor) From the Introduction by Richard A. Levine: — "As our age pays increasing attention to the Victorian years, we are becoming ever more aware of the complexity of nineteenth-century England. Neither the rather easy and urbane dismissal of all things Victorian which marked so many sophisticated literary discussions of Edwardian England nor the scoff... more »ing, derisive laughter of the post-Edwardians remains meaningful to students of the nineteenth century -- except as indicators of aspects of the post-Victorian sensibility.
Not only have we come to perceive the validity of Chesterton's comment that many of the most memorable Victorian writers rode contrary to the dominant ethics of their age, but our examination of the Victorians has also reached a degree of maturity which has given a new dimension to Victorian studies in general and produced an atmosphere in which the primary burden of the scholar is not to defend or judge the Victorians, but to understand them."
The book is divided into five sections, plus a Victorian Chronology 1830-1901, and selected bibliography. The sections are: (I) The Victorian Years: An Overview. Contributors: Walter E. Houghton, Jerome Hamilton Buckley, Mario Praz; (II) Religion and Science. Contributors: Asa Briggs, Noel Annan, Northrop Frye; (III) Education and the Spread of Knowledge. Contributors: William S. Knickerbocker, E. D. H. Johnson, Richard A. E. Brooks, Richard D. Altick; (IV) Economics and Politics. Contributors: Elie Halevy, W. W. Rostow, Crane Briton; (V) The Victorian Years: An Epilogue. Contributor: G. Kitson Clark.« less