The Victorians

Geoffrey Grigson
Date Published
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The third in a trio of anthologies by Geoffrey Grigson (The Romantics, Before the Romantics and The Victorians) that are both highly entertaining and provide a fresh approach to the ideas of an age. Primarily anthologies of poetry, with prose from the era to illustrate it, they have been universally praised for their great scope and their original take on English literature.

The Victorians celebrates the ‘word-painting’ that Hopkins thought the great success of the age, and tempers the sentimental poetry normally associated with the era with street ballads, parodies and nonsense poetry. A wide range of the most celebrated writers and thinkers of the age are represented – Tennyson, Browning, the Rossettis, Darwin, Edward Lear – as well as less familiar names, such as the Pre-Raphaelites Walter Deverell and Thomas Woolner, Alexander Smith and Sir Edwin Arnold. In The Victorians, Grigson succeeds in creating a delightfully diverse anthology of the gravity and nonsense, feelings and facts, anxieties and triumphs that the age encapsulated.


Geoffrey Grigson, poet and writer, was born in Cornwall in 1905. After (in his words) “a profitless sojourn” at Oxford University, he worked as literary journalist and critic. His best journalism was collected in The Contrary View (1974) and Blessings, Kicks and Curses (1982), while The Harp of Aeolus (1947) and his book on Samuel Palmer (1947) contains some of…

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