The Edwardian Turn of Mind by Samuel Hynes

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The Edwardian age stands in a pivotal position between the nineteenth century and the twentieth. Professor Hynes sees the brief stretch of history between the death of Queen Victoria and the outbreak of the First World War not as a golden age but as a time of waiting, a time of anxieties, a time of conflict between the old and the new. A growing awareness of social problems resulted not in action but in worry, not in solutions but in feelings and in turmoil--turmoil out of which contemporary England was born.

In this portrayal of the intellectual climate of Edwardian England the author chooses representative (sometimes little-known) figures and issues to define the typical crises and habits of thought of the age. He draws upon such diverse materials as the diaries of Beatrice Webb, the novels of H. G. Wells and Galsworthy, Baden-Powell's boy scout handbook, the government report on "Physical Deterioration," the literature of invasion, long-forgotten plays, and the writings of Edward Carpenter and Havelock Ellis. He treats the areas of conflict that seem to him most crucial--politics, science, the arts, and the relations between men and women. The cast of characters is large and varied: one finds here Tories, Liberals, and Socialists, artists and reformers, psychoanalysts and psychic researchers, sexologists, suffragettes, and censors.

Trafalgar Square, 1992.
ISBN: 9780712650281. 427 pp.
Softcover. Near fine.