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Leisure’s Epitaph

John Pemble: The Victorians

8 March 2007
Consuming Passions: Leisure and Pleasure in Victorian Britain 
by Judith Flanders.
HarperPress, 604 pp., £20, August 2006, 0 00 717295 8
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... of Queen Victoria’s death, shoals had been fished, wrecks raised, and so much written about the Victorian age that it seemed there could be nothing left to write. Nevertheless, after reading JudithFlanders’s Consuming Passions, I’m convinced that Strachey was right – right in his prediction that the history of the Victorian age will never be written. But he was wrong in his diagnosis ...

‘We would rather eat our cake than merely have it’

Rosemary Hill: Victorian men and women

4 October 2001
A Circle of Sisters: Georgiana Burne-Jones, Agnes Poynter and Louisa Baldwin 
by Judith Flanders.
Penguin, 392 pp., £17.99, September 2001, 0 670 88673 4
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The Hated Wife: Carrie Kipling 1862-1939 
by Adam Nicolson.
Short Books, 96 pp., £4.99, May 2001, 0 571 20835 5
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Victorian Diaries: The Daily Lives of Victorian Men and Women 
edited by Heather Creaton.
Mitchell Beazley, 144 pp., £14.99, February 2001, 1 84000 359 6
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... most people. ‘Hidden lives’ remained, from biography’s point of view, just that. Even now, when biography is booming and social, oral and feminist history all thrive, part of the pleasure of JudithFlanders’s A Circle of Sisters is the novelty of the viewpoint. As in F. Anstey’s Vice Versa, a novel that was, in its way, subversive of late Victorian ideas about authority, the world is turned ...
20 March 1997
Making Peoples: A History of the New Zealanders from Polynesian Settlement to the End of the 19th Century 
by James Belich.
Allen Lane, 497 pp., £25, October 1996, 0 7139 9171 2
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... that by the end of the 1860s messianic prophets, in whose preachings Maoridom played the role of an Israel chosen to suffer, were challenging the mana of those who held it from their ancestors. Like Judith Binney in her recent superb study of the prophet Te Kooti (Redemption Songs, 1995) Belich offers evidence that wars of religion were breaking out within the structures of several iwi, including ...
3 July 1986
The Prose Works of Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke 
edited by John Gouws.
Oxford, 279 pp., £40, March 1986, 0 19 812746 4
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... Prerogative of Parliaments, find many echoes in Greville’s ‘life’. Similarities of detail – such as the insistence by both writers that the ‘fame’ of all the Spanish armies save that of Flanders is undeserved – accompany broader ones of theme and argument. The impact of Greville’s Jacobean pre-occupations on the ‘life’, although sometimes profound, is intermittent. It is Sidney who ...

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