Historical Context

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Britain in the Late Victorian Era
In 1885, Britain was entering the final quarter of the Victorian Era (1837–1901). In that...

(The entire section is 838 words.)

Literary Style

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Satire
Satire is the use of wit and humor to ridicule or show scorn of a subject. Strachey’s satire in Eminent...

(The entire section is 1192 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Sources
Altick, Richard D., ‘‘Eminent Victorianism: What Lytton Strachey Hath Wrought,’’ in American Scholar,...

(The entire section is 243 words.)

Bibliography

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Further Reading

Altick, Richard. “Eminent Victorianism: What Lytton Strachey Hath Wrought.” American Scholar 64, no. 1 (Winter, 1995): 81-89. Argues that Strachey’s aim in Eminent Victorians was explicitly literary. Because he took such liberties with historical fact, it is Strachey’s method that came to be discredited, rather than the Victorian ethos he attempted to subvert.

_______. “The Stracheyan Revolution.” In Lives and Letters: A History of Literary Biography in England and America. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1966. An excellent summary of the pivotal role of Eminent Victorians in the development of biography as a genre. Surveys Strachey’s iconoclastic strategies.

Holroyd, Michael. Lytton Strachey: The New Biography. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1995. Provides a rich historical context for understanding the development of Eminent Victorians, including information regarding negotiations with Strachey’s publisher. The first and fuller version of this biography, published in 1968, contains more literary criticism.

Monk, Ray. “This Fictitious Life: Virginia Woolf on Biography and Reality.” Philosophy and Literature 31, no. 1 (April, 2007): 1-40. Examines Woolf’s essay “The New Biography” (1927), which explored various ideas about the practice of writing biographies. Argues that Woolf erred in choosing Sidney Lee and Harold Nicolson as representative of the old and new styles, respectively; maintains that the “new style” was best exemplified by Strachey.

Powell, John. “Official Lives: Lytton Strachey, the Queen’s Cabinet, and the Eminence of Aesthetics.” Nineteenth Century Prose 22, no. 2 (Fall, 1995): 129-152. An analysis of Strachey’s introductory indictment of so-called official lives. Argues that a preoccupation with aesthetic form obscured Strachey’s concern for accurate biographical representation.

Stratford, Jenny. “Eminent Victorians.” British Museum Quarterly (Spring, 1968): 93-96. Provides a full description of Strachey’s four exercise books of notes and drafts, which are now in the British Library. Discusses the various influences on Strachey’s writing.

Taddeo, Julie Anne. Lytton Strachey and the Search for Modern Sexual Identity: The Last Eminent Victorian. New York: Harrington Park Press, 2002. Chronicles Strachey’s struggles as a gay and neurasthenic writer to defy Victorian ideology and create new forms of art and identity.

Compare and Contrast

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

1800s: Britain’s Industrial Revolution leads the world, and the British Empire continues to expand. More than a quarter of the...

(The entire section is 496 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Mark Twain wrote, ‘‘Biography is the clothes and buttons of the man, but the real biography of a man is lived in his head twenty-four...

(The entire section is 223 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

Strachey’s Queen Victoria (1921) is not as satirical as Eminent Victorians, although there is much humor and comedy in the...

(The entire section is 167 words.)