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The History of the Victorian age The Victorian era produced many eminent figures Lytton Strachey was one of them Born in 1880 Strachey was a British biographer and a critic who is credited of having revolutionized the art of writing biography He opened a new era of biographical writing by adopting an irreverent attitude to the past especially to the volumes of the Victorian biography His book Eminent Victorians a wartime book composed of four miniature biographies won him widespread recognition as a literary critic and a biographer In this work instead of using the conventional method of detailed chronological narration he has carefully selected his facts to present highly personal portraits of his subjects The four biographies of Victorian figures that Strachey has described in Eminent Victorians are of Henry Cardinal Manning - a Roman Catholic prelate Florence Nightingale - a sentimentally idolized female humanitarian Thomas Arnold of Rugby - an educational reformer with a pronounced moralistic bent and General Charles Chinese Gordon - a military adventurer All this figures had earlier been the subject of admiring biographies but Strachey treated them instead in the form of caricatural case histories Manning as an obsessive ecclesiastical opportunist Florence Nightingale as a workaholic driven by ruthless devotion to duty Arnold as a zealous pompous public-school head master who tended to confuse himself with God and Gordon as a religious fanatic and dipsomaniac alternating between Bible and brandy bottle The four demonstrated the goals of the Victorian age but Stracheys presentation gave rise to a new form of biography and caused people to express their opposition to the Victorian period In short Strachey had four - victim agenda for misrepresenting the whole culture He did not just use his subjects he abused them I feel that Strachey has used his witty and impressionistic style in writing this book Eminent Victorians not only to disclose the hidden facts of the Victorian society but also by writing this
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