The Great Victorians

The Great Victorians

The Great Victorians

The Great Victorians

Excerpt

This book has come out of a series of conversations that has lasted for over two years. For some time it has seemed to us that our generation had sufficiently thrown off the spell, evil and otherwise, of its fathers, and that, having developed an individuality of its own, distinct from the literary and political generation that preceded it, it was in a position to see the Victorians clearly and dispassionately. Up to a few years ago we were too near the Victorians to get any nourishment from them. In a sense we were in the same mood as the early leaders of the Reformation, who could see nothing but faults in the system that had reared them. These growing-pains are now subsiding. Even before the war England was being led out of the land of laissez-faire economics and into the land of scientific planning. Since then laissez-faire has been definitely abandoned. Spiritually we have left the old churches long ago, and are busily building the new. Mr. Chesterton proposes a world that would safeguard the individual and make us all parts of one spiritual entity. Mr. Waldo Frank asks us to concentrate on the Whole with a very big W (we should be grateful to anybody who would explain to us exactly what Mr. Frank's philosophy means). A more serious American critic, Professor Irving Babbitt, puts his faith in Humanism. The late D. H. Lawrence, one of the few men of genius of our generation, denounced the deadening influence of a conventional morality that has no conviction behind it. Mr. T. S. Eliot describes himself as "classicist in literature, royalist in politics, and Anglo-Catholic in religion." Mr. Middleton Murry thinks that . . .

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