Eminent Victorians Essay

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In the following essay, Altick explores the profound effect Eminent Victorians had on both public understanding of the Victorian era and biography in general.

One of the most engaging of all the anecdotes relating to the early reception of famous books is the scene in the Brixton prison, south London, in the spring of 1918, when a controversial public figure, serving time for a political offense, exploded in laughter over a newly published book he was reading. His laughter was so loud, he recalled some years later in a radio broadcast, that "the officer came to my cell, saying I must remember that prison is a place of punishment." The guffawing convict was Bertrand Russell; the book was Eminent Victorians, by his friend Lytton Strachey. The sensation it caused marked the only time on record that a single 350-page book turned an entire past society into a laughingstock in...

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This section contains 5,856 words
(approx. 15 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Eminent Victorians Study Guide
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Nonfiction Classics for Students
Eminent Victorians from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.