In the Olden Time
Victorians and the British Past
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.
Praise For In the Olden Time: Victorians and the British Past…
— A. N. Wilson
“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
Paul Mellon Centre, 9780300190427, 344pp.
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
About the Author
Andrew Sanders is emeritus professor, department of English, Durham University.