“It is now forty years,” Walter Houghton writes, “since Lytton Strachey decided that we knew too much about the Victorian era to view its culture as a whole.” Recently the tide has turned and the Victorians have been the subject of sympathetic “period pieces,” critical and biographical works, and extensive studies of their age, but the Victorian mind itself remains blurred for us—a bundle of various and often paradoxical ideas and attitudes. Mr. Houghton explores these ideas and attitudes, studies their interrelationships, and traces their simultaneous existence to the general character of the age. His inquiry is the more important because it demonstrates that to look into the Victorian mind is to see some of the primary sources of the modern mind.
Winner of the 1957 Christian Gauss Award given by Phi Beta Kappa
"The most thorough and comprehensive study of its subject that has yet been written. . . . Here is a full and intelligent analysis of the different facets of that many-sided thing, the Victorian mind and soul. An important part of this analysis is the relating of one attitude and tendency to another, so that, although some are contradictory, the agreements and the discords and their causes are made intelligible. The analysis is supported everywhere by rich and often fresh documentation. Mr. Houghton writes with vigor and clarity. The book seems to me a large and solid contribution to the understanding of Victorian civilization and Victorian literature."—Douglas Bush
- Winner of the 1957 Christian Gauss Award from Phi Beta Kappa