Download Victoria’s Madmen: Revolution and Alienation by Clive Bloom (auth.) PDF

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By Clive Bloom (auth.)

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That is the real joy of motoring – the exploration of this amazing England. It was an irony not entirely lost on Kipling’s generation that the ‘olde England’ that they sought could only be found along roads built for the very cars that threatened their idyll. V. Morton in 1927, before setting off on his own motor quest down England’s leafy lanes. Yet what was England and where was it to be found? In the multi-layered, partly ruined landscape of England was a history that was never quite remembered, never quite a totality, an evanescent but not quite tangible reality, to which the isolated facts of actual town and country pointed, but could never explain or be reconciled to present thought.

Dadd’s mentor Thomas Phillips was a bastion of conservative conformity and hatred of Chartist revolutionaries, and Dadd, who remained an unreconstructed Tory social authoritarian, was also a thoroughly revolutionary individual in his personal artistic expression, the tensions and repressions of one side of his life given vent elsewhere. The psychological disturbances of Richard Dadd were nothing compared to the downright neuroses of Victorian literature, which becomes more ‘unhinged’ in inverse proportion to the conformism of the age.

Puck was to be the conductor of a journey through identity, in which the ‘British’ (and more particularly its Edwardian synonym, the ‘English’) were not only confronted with their past but also participated in the past, which was also their past, one in which participation was all. Yet historical community was also ‘mythic’ where continuity could only be taught by the ‘last of the race’ of the ‘People of the Hills’. By releasing Puck from his captivity, the children achieve their passport to the historical struggle for identity within community: You’ve done something that Kings and Knights and Scholars in old days would have given their crowns and spurs and books to find out.

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