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94Victorian Review Unfortunately, he does not fully demonstrate the connection correspondents saw between marriage and emigration. Thus, this section seems disjointed from the main body of the book, although it does reflect lower-middle-class attitudes toward and fears about emigration. The most notable aspect of the book is that Robson preserves the voices of the correspondents, by providing lengthy quotations from leading articles and letters. Regrettably, he neglects to sufficiently analyze or generalize what this debate signifies about the lower middle class, and what distinguished them from the middle class. However, the appendices are a useful guide to conclusions reached in the debate and provide information about the correspondents. My reservations notwithstanding, the histories of the lower middle class and popular journalism are enhanced by this book. Robson's themes indicate a wealth of information about the lower middle class that has yet to be explored. He shows that they were often able to appropriate and redefine respectability in their own terms. They emphasized self-sufficiency, caution and foresight, and believed that sense should rule over sentiment. Robson also demonstrates the importance of the Telegraph as a new forum for the discussion of issues affecting a previously unrepresented group. He raises several questions that deserve further exploration by historians interested in better understanding middle-class notions about marriage, economy and emigration. TARA BEATON York University David Newsome. The Victorian World Picture: Perceptions and Introspections in an Age of Change. London: John Murray, 1997. ? + 310. £25.00. ? have only three things to say to you: love your country, tell the truth and don't dawdle'. Thus Lord Cromer giving probably the shortest prize giving speech on record at some point in the 188Os. In his elegant portrait of an age, David Newsome's Victorians certainly don't spend a lot of time in the dawdling department. They positively bustle. Railways transform time and space, the population migrates from country to town, phrenologists pursue cranial bumps, Carlyle worships work and heroes whilst Samuel Smiles helps himself. Happily, we discover that Jeremy Reviews95 Bentham (here an honorary Victorian) was an early advocate of jogging. He used to embarrass his friends by performing this strange act whilst out walking with them in St. James' Park. We can imagine how they felt. Only in the last decades of the century did the Victorians begin to run out of steam, beset by decadence and self doubt. Yet, as Newsome shows, self doubt had always been part of the Victorian frame of mind, something that accompanied the contemporary belief in science and progress. This overview of Victorian civilization represents a lifetime — one might almost say a love affair — with the Victorians. Newsome is therefore in an excellent position to guide us through the culture of the last century. With his instinctive feel for the period, he recreates much of its color and texture. Readers should look elsewhere for narrative and chronology. What Newsome provides is a sense of what it meant to be a Victorian. The book traces the internal and external lives of contemporaries. Science and technology, literature and art, duty and respectability all jostle together in the pages to pinpoint the spirit of the age. This is not a narrowly domestic treatment; the empire and foreign policy are here too. As one would expect from Newsome's earlier work, the book is particularly good on the Victorians at prayer. He takes us through the religious debates with sympathy and understanding. Readers new to the subject (the ideal audience for this book) will find that it is difficult to separate Victorian politics and ideology from theology. Newsome is therefore a historian for our times where religious history has rediscovered a new sense of purpose and importance. But who are Newsome's Victorians? Any project of this kind raises problems of generalization. Whilst Newsome is strong on great men (who seem to spring from his pen with Carlylean vigor and energy), the book does not have all that much to say about women or the gendered dimension of existence. His Victorians live in the town rather than the countryside. They are also not working class. Whilst there is plenty of material on proletarian life, the workers...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 94-96
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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