In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

212Victorian Review unconventionally even-handed testament to what governess- and pupil-life were. Best of all, it allows us to conclude that some governesses were judicious, enlightened educators. Able, resourceful and cheerful members of the profession co-existed with the droopy, downtrodden governess about whom we have heard so much. ELIZABETH MORRISON University of Toronto Works Cited Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. 1847. Q.D. Leavis (ed.). Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics, 1985. Gathorne-Hardy, Jonathan. The Public School Phenomenon, 597-1977. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1977. Halévy, EUe. The Rule of Democracy, 1905-1914. 1942. Trans. E.I. Watkin. VoL 6 in A History of the English People in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1961. Peters, Margot Unquiet Soul: A Biography of Charlotte Bronte. Garden City: Doubleday, 1975. Poovey, Mary. "The Anathematized Race." 1988. Uneven Developments: The Ideological Work of Gender in Mid-Victorian Britain. London: Virago, 1989. Renton, Alice. Tyrant or Victim? A History of the British Governess. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1991. Trevelyan, G.M. The Nineteenth Century. 1942. Vol. 4 of Illustrated English Social History. New York: David McKay, 1967. Travis L. Crosby. The Two Mr. Gladstones. A Study in Psychology and History. New Haven and London: Yale UP, 1997. ii + 287. $35.00 US (cloth). Travis Crosby's blending of psychology and history provides another important dimension to the biographical studies of Gladstone by Colin Matthew (magisterial), R.T. Shannon (incomplete and somewhat prejudiced), Roy Jenkins (impressionistic), Philip Magnus (sympathetic), and John Morley (acute and discreet). All of these biographers used, in some measure, the voluminous Gladstone diaries (now so well edited by Matthew) and alluded to Gladstone's emotional problems and volcanic behavior. As Crosby asserts, this "tense and moody part of him — a kind of restrained violence . . . [and] . . . vehement temperament" (2-3), Reviews213 glossed over by early and contemporary biographers, was well apparent to most of his contemporaries and, ofcourse, to his family. Crosby attempts to explain the "duality" of Gladstone's personality (the "private" and "public" man) and, indeed, "The theme of Gladstone's private and public life is a primary focus of die book ..." (4) Hence Crosby's first objective is "to see Gladstone as his contemporaries saw him and to penetrate the mysteries of his personality insofar as they affected his life and work . . ." (4) This involves the daunting (and even dangerous) task of understanding Gladstone's behavior in psychological terms and "The application of psychological principles to historical studies . . ." (5) Here we are indebted to Crosby for avoiding the application of the inanities of Foucault to Gladstone. Crosby's second major objective is to use "a psychological approach to the past that is less reductionistic and genuinely attuned to historical studies . . ." (5) As he explains in the introductory first chapter, "The approach that follows is based on . . . [the] . . . stress and coping theory . . . supplemented by life-course and life-cycle theories, the psychology of control, and cognitive dissonance theories .... Simply put, [the] stress and coping tiieory postulates that the external 'stressors' [i.e. a tension-filled or discordant event such as work related problems or marital difficulties] call forth a set of cognitive responses . . ." such as "coping". In the coping process the individual manages stress restores "a sense of coherence and balance" to his or her life. But successful stress management can appear "dysfunctional", which Crosby declares was true of Gladstone because he coped or managed stress by following "a strategy of withdrawal" (diplomatic illnesses, avoiding Cabinet meetings, threats of resignation, vehement and angry attacks on political adversaries) (5). In the case of Gladstone, anger (or displays of anger) was also a means of managing the stresses of political life. So was his very deep and fervent religious faith, which provided him with "a sense of coherence important to his psychological well-being . . ." (6) But, adds Crosby, "Gladstone also . . . had a complementary sense of . . . his own capacity to master events" which was in itself a major factor in his political career. And, all of this was reinforced by his freedom from "role stress" or the conflict between work and family life, largely because Gladstone's large "deferential" family was dedicated and completely mobilized to sustain and advance his political...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 212-215
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.