moral judgements – what is the good life? – rather than the analysis of
social mechanisms which is the province of cultural materialism, and
that my judgement rests on little more than personal conviction. I
was, therefore, grateful to read Susan Johnston’s book, Women and
Domestic Experience in VictorianPolitical Fiction (2001), which places
Gaskell’s work in the context of contemporary [ie Victorian] ideas about
the liberal polity and the role of the individual within it. This context
restores value-judgements about the good life to the centre of attention
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Picker, J. (2003
Macaulay, Carlyle, and the ‘shoreless chaos’ of history
didactic and attempts to shape the early-Victorianpolitical
inheritance. For Macaulay, the attempt to forget is a conscious one; he
states that an essential part of history-making is forgetting. Moreover,
with the absence of critical attention to the act of forgetting in both the
form and content of the History, Macaulay’s act of forgetting is one that
tries to forget itself, too. Carlyle’s narrator is aware of the literary form;
Macaulay tries to forget it. Carlyle’s narrator sees a canvas; Macaulay’s, a
pane of glass.
The sudden conflation of history and the novel at
were forced on
him by the dismal & degrading spectacle of the Peace Congress,
where men played shamelessly, not for Europe, or even England,
but for their own return to Parliament at the next election.’94
Keynes’s enchantments are negated by the greed both of the reparations and the self-promotion of those who conducted negotiations.
Gone is the paternalism of Victorianpolitics, replaced by a naked
Modernism, conflict and the home front, 1922–27 139
Figure 3.1 The Peace Day parade in London, 1919
self-interest. The Manchester Guardian’s editorial also noted