Himmelfarb, Gertrude. 1987. Marriage and Morals Among the Victorians. Knopf.
Review on Amazon:
In these brilliant essays, Gertrude Himmelfarb, one of America’s most respected scholars of Victorian thought and culture, explores the many facets, public and private, of the Victorian idea of morality. Incisively and provocatively she illuminates the “moral imagination” of the Victorians, “the imagination that treasured the complexity of the heart and mind and that sought, by aesthetic means as well as ethical, to adorn and enhance rather than destroy the ‘decent drapery of life.'” The conventional view of Victorianism―a Family Shakespeare purged of indelicacies, piano legs sheathed in pantaloons, and the works of male and female authors chastely residing on separate shelves―gives way to the subtle and sympathetic analysis of an ethos that combined a profound sense of social and moral responsibility with a remarkable tolerance for idiosyncrasy and individuality. Marriage and Morals Among the Victorians invites us to reconsider the complex and colorful panorama of ideas and attitudes, beliefs and behavior, that goes under the name of Victorianism―and it reconsiders well our own relation to that much abused and misunderstood culture. “An important book that deserves a wide readership. It deserves to be read for the critical quality of Miss Himmelfarb’s mind and the constant questioning of fashionable attitudes. One does not have to agree with her to enjoy the characteristic sharpness of her writing, or the characteristic breadth of her reading.”―New York Times Book Review. “A collection of extraordinarily intelligent essays, held together not by a single thread of argument but by the sustained moral imagination of an acute student of nineteenth-century life and thought….Miss Himmelfarb’s essays make clear that there was nothing wrong with either the Victorians’ morality or their imaginations.”―National Review.
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