Some Victorian Visions

  • S. P. Rosenbaum


Lytton Strachey’s response in Eminent Victorians to the overwhelming materials of Victorian history was to try,

through the medium of biography, to present some Victorian visions to the modern eye. They are, in one sense, haphazard visions — that is to say, my choice of subjects has been determined by no desire to construct a system or to prove a theory, but by simple motives of convenience and of art. It has been my purpose to illustrate rather than to explain. (p. vii)

Strachey’s motives of convenience and art are, in fact, far from simple, but his method of using biography as a medium for presenting some Victorian visions can be used to approach Bloomsbury’s Victorian visions through the medium of autobiography. The Bloomsbury writers were preoccupied with Victorianism throughout their careers. (Forster once remarked, ‘Victorianism may not be an era at all. It may be a spirit biding its time’ — AE, p. 116.) In their autobiographies they provided glimpses of the Victorian world that conditioned their modern attitudes. These autobiographies lack detachment and comprehensiveness, yet taken together they have considerable scope.


Literary History Woman Writer Preparatory School Victorian Establishment National Biography 
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© S. P. Rosenbaum 1987

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  • S. P. Rosenbaum

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