The Victorian Visitors: Culture Shock in Nineteenth-Century Britain

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Grove Press, 2002 - History - 271 pages
2 Reviews
London in 1820 was a city of extraordinary creative dynamism and big money. Rupert Christiansen has marshaled the experiences of a set of remarkable foreign visitors to England, chronicling their impact on British culture and its impact upon them. These stories reveal the great French painter Gericault, who had come to London to show his Raft of the "Medusa," recording the climax of a public execution and the finish of the Derby; Richard Wagner guffawing at anti-Semitic jokes in the restaurant of the Victoria & Albert Museum; Ralph Waldo Emerson driving Thomas Carlyle to distraction with his 'moonshine' philosophy. Also included are the stories of the inexplicable powers of the American medium Daniel Home and his disastrous involvement with an elderly Cockney widow; the demon Australian bowler Frederick Spofforth who changed the course of English cricket; and the pirouetting Italian ballerinas who captivated the young Bernard Shaw and roused music-hall audiences to a collective erotic frenzy. In vividly readable and often hilarious detail, The Victorian Visitors tells of the remarkable foreigners who traveled to Britain in the nineteenth century and left influential marks on all aspects of its culture.

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THE VICTORIAN VISITORS: Culture Shock in Nineteenth-Century Britain

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A lively examination of the influence of foreign intellectuals in Victorian England—seen here as both more cosmopolitan and less strait-laced than our popular conceptions generally allow.Christiansen ... Read full review

The Victorian visitors: culture shock in nineteenth-century Britain

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This well-written, selectively episodic examination of the experiences of notable outsiders visiting England and particularly London in the mid-19th century is often engaging but lacks a clear ... Read full review


Theodore Gericault Painter
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