Catherine Brown

Approaching the Victorians

February 2015

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We should be careful of generalising about ‘the Victorians’. 1837-1901 was a huge period of vast changes. The early part of the period should be understood with reference to the Regency, which came before it; the later part should be understood with reference to the Edwardian/modernist period which came after it. That said, there is more continuity to the Victorian period than to the period 1937-1901, in part due to the lack of major wars, and to the unifying presence of a monarch who influenced national consciousness. In many respects we, today, differ from the Victorians – on racism, our distrust of moralising, and our lack of cultural confidence. But in many others we still resemble them – in our love of national pomp and of German Christmas traditions, in our nostalgia for international influence, and in our veneration of childhood, of nature, and of monogamy.


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Catherine Brown