A Companion to Victorian Literature

A Companion to Victorian Literature

A Companion to Victorian Literature

A Companion to Victorian Literature

Excerpt

Each period in history disdainfully regards the problems of the age immediately preceding it, throwing away its inherited solutions of man's eternal dilemmas with all the arrogance of a young man rejecting his father's advice, with all the contempt of a woman discarding last year's hat. It is only in maturity that the son finds with astonishment how much his father seems to have learned.

In the first quarter of our century, nothing could have been more completely moribund than regard for the wisdom of nineteenth-centuryEngland. The very word "Victorian" came to have a derogatory sound, with overtones of hypocrisy, prudishness, self-satisfaction, and a devastating lack of humor. If Lytton Strachey was more amusing than his contemporaries in poking fun at Eminent Victorians, he was at least representative of what 1918 thought of the preceding century.

But family traits persist, and the young man discovers that after all he is the true son of his father, that he has inherited all the family problems. What disturbed the Victorians troubles us, and the com-

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