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The Condition of England was first published in 1909. Faber Finds are reissuing it to celebrate its one hundredth anniversary. Although copies are now hard to come by, it was a success on first publication running quickly into six editions. It has often been likened to Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy though it is more sombre. Charles Masterman, who was in the Liberal Government when he wrote this, provides a penetrating, sceptical and unsettling anatomy of Edwardian England, seeing beneath the imperial splendour a society ‘fissured into unnatural plenitude on the one hand and … an unnatural privation on the other’. This remains a work of acute social analysis.
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