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Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction Queen Victoria Analysis

Originally written for an adult audience, Queen Victoria is readily accessible to young adult readers. At slightly more than three hundred pages, it is relatively brief, but the most important aspects of Victoria’s reign, both personal and political, are adequately covered. Most Important for the young reader, not a dull page appears in the book. Strachey catches the reader’s attention with the first inverted-order sentence and holds it to the very last, lengthy one.

Although sympathetic to Victoria, Strachey points out the queen’s failings: her impulsiveness, her intractability, and her passionate and personal interest in politics. While she was not particularly intelligent, duty and responsibility were Victoria’s watchwords. Through Strachey’s narrative, the reader watches the young Victoria, full of gaiety and impetuosity, become the doting wife, then the somber widow, and finally a grandmotherly figure whose deficiencies are universally ignored.

Strachey turns his penetrating eye to other historical figures of the period. With a few words, Strachey describes the historical figure and gives a glimpse of his psychologically motivating forces. Of Lord Melbourne, Strachey writes, “he was a child of the eighteenth century whose lot was cast in a new, difficult, unsympathetic age. A sentimental cynic, a sceptical believer, he was restless and melancholy at heart.” Strachey characterizes the young Albert as “a model lad. Intelligent and painstaking, he had been touched by the moral earnestness of his generation.” Strachey finds Lord Palmerston to be “very bold; and nothing gave him more exhilaration than to steer the ship of state in a high wind, on a rough sea, with every stitch of canvas on her that she could carry.” Concerning Disraeli, Strachey makes the following comment: “Detachment is always a rare quality, and rarest of all, perhaps, among politicians; but that veteran egotist possessed it to a supreme degree. Not only did he know what he had to do, not only did he do it; he was in the audience as well as on the stage.”

While mainly emphasizing personality, Strachey does discuss Victoria’s impact on the British constitution and her ability to reflect the religious, social, scientific, and political movements of the age. Strachey believes that Victoria’s...

(The entire section is 560 words.)