In this richly textured and wide-ranging survey of Victorian attitudes to the past, Andrew Sanders builds on Roy Strong’s groundbreaking book And when did you last see your father?: The Victorian Painter and British History (1978). Sanders explores the essentially literary nature of Victorian history writing, and he reveals the degree to which painters were indebted to written records both fictional and factual. Starting with a stimulating comparison of Queens Elizabeth I and Victoria, In the Olden Time examines works by poets and painters, essayists and dramatists, architects and musicians, including Jane Austen, John Donne, William Shakespeare, and John Soane. Together with a study of religious history as seen through the eyes of architect and critic Augustus Pugin and journalist William Cobbett, this book offers an original view of Victorian responses to British history, presenting a fresh investigation of unexpected Victorian attitudes and the establishment of particular 20th-century prejudices and bias.
“Andrew Sanders’s book. . .as well as calling up a host of images from the Victoria era, challenges our own way of viewing, changing, cleansing and rose-tinting the past. It is an example of Yale University Press at its lavish best with superb colour illustrations”—A. N. Wilson, Times Literary Supplement~A. N. Wilson, TLS
“Sanders explores the ways in which retro styles and subject were used to highlight the Victorian progress. . . This beautifully illustrated book focuses on both literary reception of literary forebears and on Victorian paintings of historical and literary subjects.“—Adela Pink, SEL~Adela Pinch, Studies in English Literature