No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
Very Interesting People, George Eliot. From visionaries, kings, queens, scientists, politicians, writers, and artists, these are the stories of those who have enlightened and enriched history. The Very Interesting People series provides bite-sized biographies of Britainâ€™s most fascinating historical characters - people whose influence and importance have stood the test of time. Each book in the series is based upon the biographical entry from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. They provide a quick but comprehensive biography of each key figure from family and childhood to death with up-to-date bibliographic references for further reading.
A unique, colorful view of Victorian London when residents both famous and now-forgotten endured the Great Stink across one hot summer While 1858 in London may have been noteworthy for its broiling summer months and the related stench of the sewage-filled Thames River, the year is otherwise little remembered. And yet, historian Rosemary Ashton reveals in this compelling microhistory, 1858 was marked by significant, if unrecognized, turning points. For ordinary people, and also for the rich, famous, and powerful, the months from May to August turned out to be a summer of consequence. Ashton mines Victorian letters and gossip, diaries, court records, newspapers, and other contemporary sources to uncover historically crucial moments in the lives of three protagonists-Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, and Benjamin Disraeli. She also introduces others who gained renown in the headlines of the day, among them George Eliot, Karl Marx, William Thackeray, and Edward Bulwer Lytton. Ashton reveals invisible threads of connection among Londoners at every social level in 1858, bringing the celebrated city and its citizens vibrantly to life.
Following the failure of the 1848 revolution a great many political refugees headed for England - the richly cosmopolitan hub of an Empire, and the commercial-industrial locus of the world. Among the German contingent of exiles were, famously, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. But many less luminous names, no less well-educated in their native Germany, also settled in England and made their way there, whether as teachers or tailors, journalists or musicians, polemicists or political organizers. Few of these exiles knew how long they would have to call England home: some became keen Anglophiles, while others remained resolutely wedded in spirit to 'the old country.' Rosemary Ashton's study, first published in 1986, charts the fortunes of this disparate group and illuminates Victorian England through their eyes, so making a fascinating account of a neglected area of Anglo-German relations.
'This richly enjoyable biography of the great Victorian novelist reminds us how truly revolutionary was George Eliot... [Ashton] provides luminously sane readings of the marvellous novels.' A.N. Wilson, Evening Standard 'Excellent... Ashton cites Eliot's achievement in a literary landscape which moves from Scott and George Sand to Dickens, Tennyson and Browning... a fluent, vivid book... it makes one thrill again to the breadth of Eliot's genius and the passionate, vulnerable nature that accompanied her wide-ranging mind.' Jenny Uglow, Independent on Sunday 'An extremely impressive work... the George Eliot who emerges from Professor Ashton's book is a remarkable woman of exceptional integrity whose life expresses the spirit of the Victorian age, even as it goes against the very grain of it.' Susie Boyt, Sunday Express
While Bloomsbury is now associated with Virginia Woolf and her early-twentieth-century circle of writers and artists, the neighborhood was originally the undisputed intellectual quarter of nineteenth-century London. Drawing on a wealth of untapped archival resources, Rosemary Ashton brings to life the educational, medical, and social reformists who lived and worked in Victorian Bloomsbury and who led crusades for education, emancipation, and health for all.Ashton explores the secular impetus behind these reforms and the humanitarian and egalitarian character of nineteenth-century Bloomsbury. Thackeray and Dickens jostle with less famous characters like Henry Brougham and Mary Ward. Embracing the high life of the squares, the nonconformity of churches, the parades of shops, schools, hospitals and poor homes, this is a major contribution to the history of nineteenth-century London.
While Bloomsbury is now associated with Virginia Woolf and her early-twentieth-century circle of writers and artists, the neighborhood was originally the undisputed intellectual quarter of nineteenth-century London. Drawing on a wealth of untapped archival resources, Rosemary Ashton brings to life the educational, medical, and social reformists who lived and worked in Victorian Bloomsbury and who led crusades for education, emancipation, and health for all. Ashton explores the secular impetus behind these reforms and the humanitarian and egalitarian character of nineteenth-century Bloomsbury. Thackeray and Dickens jostle with less famous characters like Henry Brougham and Mary Ward. Embracing the high life of the squares, the nonconformity of churches, the parades of shops, schools, hospitals and poor homes, this is a major contribution to the history of nineteenth-century London.
142 Strand was the home of the brilliant, unconventional young publisher John Chapman. All the daring and avant-garde writers and thinkers of Victorian London gathered here, among them Carlyle, Dickens, Thackeray; Americans like Emerson and refugees from revolutionary Europe like Mazzini. In 1851 Chapman brought Marian Evans - the future George Eliot - to London where her arrival caused rows in the household, which included Chapman's wife and also his mistress. The Strand was packed with booksellers, magazine publishers, theatres, clubs, and quack doctors. Only a short distance away were Westminster, the Houses of Parliament and the disreputable pornographers of Holywell street. Chapman's circle touched all these worlds, and the vivid story of these unconventional lives and unorthodox views - marvellously told by Rosemary Ashton - takes us to the heart of Victorian culture, uncovering its surprising energy, its doubts and arguments, and, above all, its passionate reforming spirit.
They were the most remarkable couple in London: the great sage Carlyle, with his vehement prophecies, and his witty, sardonic wife Jane. It was a strong, close, mutually admiring yet often mutually antagonistic partnership, fascinating to all who observed it. The Carlyles lived at the heart of English life in mid-Victorian London, but both were outsiders, a largely self-educated Scottish pair who took a sometimes caustic look at the society they so influenced - Carlyle through his copious writings, and both through their network of acquaintances and correspondents. Carlyle's fame was confirmed by his Sartor Resartus of 1843, The French Revolution, his lectures on heroes and hero-worship and by his radical account of contemporary industrial Britain in Past and Present, 1843. Both husband and wife were great letter-writers, Carlyle commenting on the matters of the day, dashing off pen portraits of those he met and Jane with her brilliant stories and her sharp, dry humour. Yet despite her brilliance, Jane suffered, especially from Carlyle's infatuation with the lion-hunting Lady Ashburton, and the tensions in their marriage grew. The letters they wrote, both to each other and to others, make theirs the most well-documented marriage of the nineteenth century and give us an unequalled portrait of a famously unhappy marriage. This moving and vivid biography describes their relationship with each other, from their first meeting in 1821 to Jane's death in 1866, and also their relationship with the world outside. Rosemary Ashton's inimitable blend of rigorous scholarship, warm sensitivity and lively wit makes this not only a portrait of a marriage but a picture of a whole age, elegant, erudite and entertaining.
G H Lewes was a deeply unconventional Victorian. Though he is best remembered for the liaison with George Eliot - marriage in all but name - which occupied the last twenty-five years of his life, he was also a man and writer of strikingly varied interests and capacities. For the first time, Rosemary Ashton presents a full, scholarly account of his extraordinary life, based on extensive research and using previously unpublished material. Lewes was a journalist, novelist, playwright and actor, living in London's Bohemia and friendly with Dickens and Thackeray. He enjoyed an open marriage with Agnes Jervis, causing a scandal by condoning her relationship with his best friend Thornton Hunt. When he met Marian Evans in 1851 he was notorious as a radical, freethinker and free lover. Because of his endorsement of his wife's adultery and his registering of her four children by Hunt as his own, he was unable to divorce Agnes and marry Marian. Thus he was once more at the centre of a scandal when he set off with Marian for Weimar in 1854. Rosemary Ashton throws fresh light on the details of Lewes' elopement with Marian Evans; on his important Life of Goethe, written in Germany.
Rosemary Ashton explores the many facets of Samuel Taylor Coleridgea s complex personality, by turns poet, critic, thinker, enchanting companion, feckless husband, fabled conversationalist and guilt--ridden opium addict.
Rosemary Ashton's acclaimed biography presents Samuel Taylor Coleridge - poet, critic, thinker, plagiarist, cultural omnivore, enchanting companion, feckless husband, fabled conversationalist, guilt-ridden opium addict - in all his complexity. Ashton shows how Coleridge's writings in verse and prose are especially directly expressive of his opinions and emotions and traces his development through friendship and marriage. An authority on nineteenth-century Anglo-German cultural relations, she maps and measures the profound influence of German philosophy upon Coleridge's thinking and theorizing in illuminating detail, thus placing Coleridge's reputation within the context of both British and German Romanticism.