After the Victorians: Private Conscience and Public Duty in by Peter Mandler, Susan Pedersen, Afterword by Simon Schama

By Peter Mandler, Susan Pedersen, Afterword by Simon Schama Center for European Studies Harvard University

After the Victorians, by using biography, explores how twentieth century British intellectuals how 20th century British intellectuals and social reformers sought to conform Victorian values to trendy stipulations, by using individuals: Peter Mandler, Susan Pedersen, Seth Koven, Jeffrey Cox, Standish Meacham, Peter Stansky, F. M. Leventhal, Peter Clarke, D. L. LeMahieu, Chris Waters, Simon Schama.

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Reith, obviously, had answered this question to his satisfaction, and Keynes confronted it head-on in an influential essay, “Art and the State,” which originated appropriately as a radio broadcast in 1936. ”72 But this easy resolution of a difficult question did not satisfy others. How could the uncultivated individual actors in a democracy create a state that might cultivate them collectively? The pressing material concerns that faced the state in the 1930s—that it had been facing since the Great War—hardly looked like giving way to moral and ethical issues very quickly.

My inclination was to give a decisive ‘No’ to his beautiful letter, but I knew that, if I did so, either he or I would have to give up Miss Octavia’s work; and to injure her HENRIETTA BARNETT 35 schemes at that juncture was an impossible conception, worth the demand of any sacrifice on the part of either of us. 17 The courtship narrative frames the entire Life and explicitly connects questions about spinsterdom, marriage and social action with strategies of (auto) biographical representation. It highlights Henrietta’s role as the vehicle by which Samuel’s manliness and powers can be realized.

However, with great literary ability, she extends her representation of the indeterminability of their gender roles so as to force the reader to ask who should be credited for their most important public achievements. In narrating the stories of many of their key accomplishments (the founding of Toynbee Hall, the Children’s Country Holiday Fund, the Whitechapel Art Exhibitions and, later, the Gallery, among others), she recreates “verbatim” conversations with Samuel. She does this in order to create the illusion that her readers are eavesdropping on the actual moment of inception of a great idea.

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