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The author of the book: Matthew Sweet
ISBN: 0571206581
ISBN 13: 9780571206582
Language: English
Edition: Faber & Faber
Date of issue: October 20th 2001
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 9.39 MB
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"Suppose that everything we think we know about the Victorians is wrong." So begins Inventing the Victorians by Matthew Sweet, a whirlwind tour thru the soul of the 19th century & a round debunking of assumptions about it. The Victorians have been victims of the "the enormous condescension of posterity," in historian E.P. Thompson's phrase. Locked in the drawing room, theirs was an age when, supposedly, existence was stultifying, dank & over-furnished, when behavior conformed so rigorously to proprieties that the repressed results put Freud in business. We have Victorians pegged-as self-righteous, imperialist, racist, materialist, hypocritical &, worst of all, earnest. How wrong we are, argues this illuminating look at our ancestors. In this, the year of the centenary of Queen Victoria's death, Sweet thinks again about her century, entombed in our minds by Dickens, the Elephant Man, Sweeney Todd & by images of unfettered capitalism & grinding poverty. Not only are we wrong about the Victorians, we're indebted to them. Their age & our's remain closely intertwined. They invented the theme part, the shopping mall, the movies, the penny arcade, the roller coaster, the crime novel & the sensational newspaper. 21st century smugness about how far we've evolved is misplaced. Victorians were less racist than we are, less religious, less violent & less intolerant. Far from being an outcast, Oscar Wilde was a fairly typical Victorian; the love that dared not speak its name declared itself fairly openly. In 1868 the 1st internat'l cricket match was played between an English & an Australian team composed of aborigines. Victorians loved sensation, novelty, scandal, weekend getaways & the latest conveniences (by 1869, there were image-capable telegraphs; in 1873 a store had a machine that dispensed milk to after-hours' shoppers). The reflection we find in the mirror of the 19th century is our own. We inhabit buildings built by them; some use their sewer system & ride their rails. We dismiss them because they're the age against whom we've defined our own.
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Inventing the Victorians
The Sensation Seekers
The First Picture Show
The Boer War, Brought to You by Bovril
The Gutter & the Stars
I Knew My Doctor Was A Serial Killer Because
Last Exit to Shadwell
The Archaeology of Good Behaviour
Check Out Your Chintz
A Defence of the Freak Show
Presumed Innocent
Whatever Happened to Patriarchy?
Monomaniacs of Love
Prince Albert's Prince Albert
Conclusion: Liberating the Victorians
Notes
Acknowledgements
Index


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Reviews of the Inventing the Victorians


OLLIE

He does not stop applaud author and his works.

CHARLIE

The book has disappointed, little new, lots of water!

HEIDI

Why are you asking for a phone number?

JOSEPH

A useful book to free yourself from negative emotions and joy.

FAITH

For those who are bored to live




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