The Victorians: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)

The Victorians: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) By Martin Hewitt Cover Image
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The Victorian period may have come to an end over 120 years ago, but the Victorians continue to be a vital presence in the modern world. Contemporary Britain is still in large part Victorian in its transport networks, sewage systems, streets, and houses. Victorian cultural legacies, especially in art, science, and literature, are still celebrated. The first to have to grapple with many of the challenges of modern urban society, we continue to look to the Victorians for inspiration and solace. And we are increasingly aware of the ways their global actions shaped, often for ill, the world around us. Much mythologised, inexhaustibly controversial, the Victorians are an inescapable reference point for understanding the modern histories not just of Britain and its empire, but of the world.

In The Victorians: A Very Short Introduction Martin Hewitt offers a guide through the thickets of judgement and debate which have grown around the period and its people, to offer a historical overview of the Victorians and their legacies. He seeks to answer five crucial questions. Why have the Victorians continued occupy such a prominent place in the cultures of not just the anglophone world? How far does it make sense to think of a 64-year period arbitrarily given an identity by the longevity of the Queen as an identifiable historical period in a general sense? How justified are the value-laden versions of the Victorians which argue for the existence of a particular world view called 'Victorianism'? Beyond ideology, what was Victorian Britain actually like - and in particular, what was distinctive about it? Who were the Victorians - not just the eminent few, but the population as a whole? And finally, how far and with what results did the Victorians and their culture spread across the globe?

In answering these questions, Hewitt cautions against some long-held orthodoxies, throws a light on some less well-known aspects of the period, and urges the importance of understanding the Victorians on their own terms if we are to effectively engage with their legacies.

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About the Author

Martin Hewitt, Professor of History, Anglia Ruskin University Martin Hewitt is a historian of Britain in the long-nineteenth century. During an academic career which involved work at several universities, most recently Anglia Ruskin University, where he was Dean of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, he has published widely on urban history, working-class radicalism, life-writing, the press and the platform. He was the founding editor of the Journal of Victorian Culture and the first secretary of the British Association for Victorian Studies, and from 2020-23 was Belcher Visiting Fellow in Victorian Studies at St Hugh's College, Oxford.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780198736813
ISBN-10: 0198736819
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: November 24th, 2023
Pages: 160
Language: English
Series: Very Short Introductions