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The Ruins of the Future: Macaulay’s New Zealander and the Spirit of the Age

  • Robert Dingley

Abstract

In early April 1997 it became clear that 18 years of Conservative government in Britain were about to end in the forthcoming general election. The Tory press, accordingly, in the final weeks of the protracted campaign, made a last effort to minimise the impending catastrophe. As successive members of John Major’s accident-prone government were pilloried in the tabloids for sexual or financial misconduct, The Daily Telegraph tried desperately to stem the torrent of ‘sleaze’, and Stephen Glover’s editorial for Friday 4 April even conjured up the spirit of Trollope, ‘a vigorous critic of overmighty newspapers’, who had deplored the unwholesome influence of The Times in his early, unpublished analysis of English society, The New Zealander. Trollope’s title, Glover went on,

was borrowed from an essay by Macaulay, who imagined a New Zealander visiting London in the future, and surveying the ruins of our civilisation. If Trollope could be that man, I fancy his former disapprobation of The Times would turn first to incredulity and then to apoplexy were he confronted by our newspapers.1

Keywords

Daily Telegraph Poetical Work Successive Member Impending Catastrophe Grim Reaper 
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Notes

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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Dingley

There are no affiliations available

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