The Case for Mr. Ramsay

To an even greater degree today than in 1951 when Noel Annan’s classic study of Leslie Stephen (1832-1904) first appeared, its subject is remembered by most people who have heard of him at all less as the author of The History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century, The Science …

Chosen People

Last summer I visited some friends in the house they were then renting in London. It turned out to be the case that their landlord’s hobby was collecting pudding molds. Everywhere one looked one could see them—in shapes ranging from bunches of grapes to various birds and animals to a …

Hello to All That

The figures with whom both these books are concerned, though all three Englishmen with aristocratic family backgrounds, active in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods, are in some ways very different: Julian Grenfell was a talented and attractive youth of great promise who was cut off in 1915, aged twenty-seven, …

An Ambiguous Act

Eighteen thirty-two, the year that saw the passage of the Great Reform Act, is one of those dates in English history—1066 and 1688 are others—whose significance has become nothing less than mythical. It is a boon alike to textbook writers and to those who set or take examinations. And the …

Soldiers of the Queen

Two soldiers of the Queen, both Commanders-in-Chief of her army; the “Royal George” from 1856 to 1895, Wolseley (his successor) until 1900. Yet two more different figures it is difficult to imagine. The Duke of Cambridge, a Prince of the Blood, was a grandson of George III, and himself heir …

Noble Failure

Lord Rosebery was the Liberal party’s Prime Minister of England for little more than a year, from March 1894 to June 1895. He was a Scottish nobleman of immense wealth and outstanding talents, and many people expected him to be one of the outstanding statesmen of modern British history. Yet …