cover image Edwardians


John Paterson. Ivan R. Dee Publisher, $27.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-56663-101-3

After the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, London embraced change in cultural and political institutions that had long enjoyed respect for tradition. Paterson (The Making of `The Return of the Native'), a professor of English at UC-Berkeley, examines these changes in rambling, anecdotal chapters that deal with the lives of well-known Londoners who participated in this social upheaval. In 1906, the liberals were elected to Parliament and the socialist ideas of H. G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw were in vogue. The Bloomsbury circle of artists (e.g., Roger Fry), authors (e.g., Virginia Woolf) and writers such as D. H. Lawrence and Ford Madox Ford contributed to a climate of artistic experimentation. Cultural mores changed dramatically as women began demanding sexual freedom as well as the vote, and homosexuality gained acceptance in some London circles. Unfortunately, the disorganized text and the breathless style will interest only those already familiar with the period. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)