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The Edwardians

By (author) J. B. Priestley
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Cornerstone, London, United Kingdom
Imprint: William Heinemann Ltd
Published: 30th Sep 1970
Dimensions: w 200mm h 230mm
ISBN-10: 0434603325
ISBN-13: 9780434603329
Barcode No: 9780434603329

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Kirkus US
If Mr. Priestley, at seventy-five, asserts the prerogatives of an elderly Edwardian gentleman (a caricature he would deplore) and is occasionally drowsily repetitive in his chimney seat, this is still an amusing overview of the period from the ascension of Edward VII to World War I by one who was living and writing through some of it. Mr. Priestley rather liked Edward and admired Alexandra - in spite of Beerbohm's wicked lyric dispute of the relative dullness of King and Queen, and in spite of Priestley's own statement that "Throughout his reign he probably never entertained one abstract idea." But then "Hamlet would have been a disaster as King of Denmark." Even the underrated talents of the finally unleashed Edward as diplomat and acute judge of character could not cope with the stirrings of change. Throughout Priestley's discussion of politics, social movements, religion, class structures, the arts, national and international disasters (he jumps all over the lot) he reaffirms (and reaffirms) his contention that the Edwardian age was not a long sunlit afternoon but "an era of tensions between extremes. . . a bridge passage, brief but complicated." Yet within its character was the "gleam of gold" which Priestley approaches as "an atmosphere of hopeful debate which never survived the Great War." A companion volume to The Prince of Pleasure and His Regency (1969) this is far more successful undoubtedly because it has been deepened and enriched by the author's own personal concern and delight in home wellsprings. (Kirkus Reviews)