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Lytton Strachey - Eminent Victorians

When Lytton Strachey published Eminent Victorians, he took the general perception of the Victorian age among English-speaking readers and turned it upside-down. Four of the most eminent and idealized heroic figures of the Victorian age came under his witty and unsparing gaze and emerged, astonishingly enough, as human beings.

His study of one of the most revered prelates in England, Cardinal Manning, reveals a profound and courageous religious mind combined with the conniving and ruthless soul of a born politician.

His dissection of the life of Florence Nightingale shows her both as the Lady of the Lamp and as a woman of steely backbone and adamantine determination, who not only cared for wounded and sick soldiers with complete dedication and solicitude, but who wreaked holy hell on any bureaucrat or governmental office that tried to get in her way.

When Strachey is finished with Dr. Arnold, we understand him as a revolutionary reformer of English education and as a first-rate prig. And when Strachey finishes leading us through the life of General George Gordon, we come away having known him both as a man of extraordinary courage and as a near-lunatic.

Fascinating, witty, insightful and provoking, these four biographical studies single-handedly revived the art of biography in the English language.

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