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KEV67

Eminent Victorians

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Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey. I think it was a famous book in the 1920s. I saw a film about him, well actually it was about his lady friend, Carrington. Carrington was quite a good film, actually. I read the first two chapters on Cardinal Newman and General Gordon. He roasted them. First, Strachey would build them up, then tear them apart. The next chapter was on Florence Nightingale, and I did not think she deserved that treatment, so I stopped reading. Later I heard Strachey intended to give her this treatment, but was too impressed by her achievements to do so. Anyway, I was at my mother's, and she has a copy of the book. Strachey does not rip into Miss Nightingale, except to draw attention to her over-working some of her helpers and to her acerbic sense of humour.

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I read a biography of Florence Nightingale some years ago and came away with the impression that she was not a particularly nice person which could be one of the reasons she achieved so much. I doubt sweet feminine Victorian ideals of submissive womanhood would ever have been able to organise a hospital.

 

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