Marriage&morals Victrn

Gertrude Himmelfarb, Author Alfred A. Knopf $19.95 (253p) ISBN 978-0-394-54303-1
Passionate and partisan, these 11 erudite essays defend Victorian England's moral values, ridiculed by some as outdated, as the yeast in a culture that created civilized human beings. Himmelfarb, who teaches at City University of New York, defends the British against Nietzsche, who belittled this pious, industrious people. One article contrasts the Clapham Sect, evangelical activists who abolished the slave trade, with the smug, insular, aristocratic Bloomsbury circle. The title essay looks at marriage as a political partnership, a balancing of personal power, with reference to Dickens, Ruskin, Mill and their wives. Author of books on British history (Victorian Minds, The Idea of Poverty, Himmelfarb here views sociobiology as a form of Social Darwinism. There's a withering portrayal of socialist Beatrice Webb as a religious mystic and Stalinist, as well as combative essays on Macaulay, Disraeli and the utopias of Jeremy Bentham and William Godwin. Reader's Subscription Book Plan alternate. (March 6)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1986
Release date: 02/01/1986
Paperback - 253 pages - 978-1-56663-370-3
Paperback - 978-0-394-75290-7
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