Lytton Strachey’s biographical essays on four ‘eminent Victorians’ dropped a depth-charge on Victorian England when the book was published in 1918.
It ushered in the modern biography and raised the genre to the level of high literary art. Lytton Strachey approached his subjects with scepticism rather than reverence, and his iconoclastic wit and engaging narratives thrilled as well as shocked his contemporaries.
Debunking Church, Public School and Empire, his portraits of Cardinal Manning, Florence Nightingale, Dr Arnold of Rugby, and General Gordon of Khartoum changed perceptions of the Victorians for a generation. This edition is unique in being fully annotated and in drawing on the full range of Strachey’s manuscript materials and literary remains.
Lytton’s Characteristic Specimen
Rereading ‘The End of General Gordon’, the fourth of Lytton Strachey’s portraits in Eminent Victorians (1918), is an awful reminder of our failure to learn from history. Gordon’s and...Read more