Tag Archives: English

Unsuitable for Publication: Editing Queen Victoria, by Yvonne Ward

Published 2013, 208 pages

A quick glance at the cover made me think I had picked up Victoria The Queen, by Julia Baird (which undoes the bias which occurred back then). The book discusses how two old boys from Eton, Viscount Esher and Arthur Benson, gave the modern world its view of Queen Victoria.

The author goes into a lot of detail how the editors went about their task, which was a huge one and sometimes there were regrets that they took it on. The editors can’t be blamed completely for the skewed image of Queen Victoria as they had to avoid displeasing the king even though one of them was good friends with him.

One bias was caused by Esher and Benson focusing on the male communications and not the female ones.

Due to being over careful with the sensitivities of the king the publication of The Letters of Queen Victoria was delayed quite a bit. The author discusses the type-setting process of a book. Even though I read books a lot it’s something I never gave thought to. Even a small book would needs lots of type-setting, but this one ran into three volumes and sold for 3 guineas (about £3 3s, or £3.30). All 5000 copies were sold and it was generally well received.

The book is a good study of censorship. Highly recommended.

Further Information

Victoria (2016)

The Young Victoria (2009)

Queen Victoria’s Children (2013)

 

Victoria the Queen, by Julia Baird

Victoria the Queen. An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled An Empire, by Julia Baird

Published 2016, 696 pages (including 35? of notes, bibliography and index).

This book was thoroughly enjoyable. It begins with a “list of characters” amongst maps and the family tree which suggests a play; and that’s the way it was written.

The style keeps the reader interested; plus the extensive background to the age helps understanding of why the characters did what they did.

Some of the issues discussed in the era are:

  • Bad treatment of child workers (under 10 years old) in the mines, many had to crawl along the wet muddy ground of the mines to haul coal carts as adults were too large to do it.
  • Lack of sanitation leading to disease. It was surprising to learn that Buckingham Palace was victim to this as well as the poor, with sewage leaking out in the kitchen.
  • Very few rights for women (given that Victoria was female in such power you expect more would be fixed here).
    • Treatment of women as chattels.
    • No rights to house or children after divorce.
    • No government voting rights.

A recent documentary Queen Victoria’s Children paints Victoria in a very dim light regarding her children. However in this book we learn that Victoria was fond of her children but refused to breast feed them as was common for the wealthy classes of the day. Her daughters were different here as well as in many other things including one who became an accomplished sculptor.

Victoria had a strong interest in politics, although when Albert was around this seems to have waned.

Overall an excellent and enjoyable read. Highly recommended.

Further Information

Victoria (2016)

The Young Victoria (2009)

Queen Victoria’s Children (2013)

Queen Victoria, A Life of Contradictions. Matthew Dennison

Published 2013, 189 pages (including 35 of notes, bibliography and index).

Dennison. Queen Victoria-A Life of Contradictions.

This book is somewhat hard to follow with usage of words that aren’t in common use. Almost every page needed a visit or two to the dictionary or Google to determine a word definition.

It covers the main points of Victoria’s reign and despite the book title I couldn’t find too many “contradictions”. Of interested is her changing mind states and how it affects her ruling. It’s interesting to note how back in the 1800’s royalty took part in politics more back then when Victoria’s mood allowed for it. There are long periods during which her depression over mourning for Albert severely reduced her interest in ruling.

Notable was the lack of mention how badly she treated her children, and her attitude towards Albert sexually and her distaste for babies (after watching “Queen Victoria’s Children”).

A good brief account of a long and eventful reign.

Further Information

Victoria (2016)

The Young Victoria (2009)

Queen Victoria’s Children (2013)