Saturday, September 8, 2012

Forgotten by design : Victorians loved Sentimentality as much as Social Darwinism

Victorian Values ???
Thanks to libertarians like Thatcher, Reagan and their rich friends who own big media , most people today regard the Victorians as being obsessed with the values of social darwinism : law of the jungle, might is right, god-on-side-of-big-battalions, survival of the fit, red in tooth and claw , things they claim we have forgotten.

But there is no sign, in fact, that these values are not at least as popular today, as in the good Queen's day.

But what has been forgotten, in fact, is that Victorians (or at least many Victorian women) were opposed to social darwinism and took a "Sentimentalist" view of the value of life, human and non-human.

After all, it was the age of Uncle Tom's Cabin, of Little Nell and of Beautiful Joe ( to use an example particularly close to my home.)

Thomas Moore, the Sentimentalist, was at least as popular as Charles Darwin, the Utilitarian, in their day.

Victorian values ( both set of Victorian values) hung on in the late autumn of Victorianism : those years between the death of Victoria in 1901 and the early 1970s, when Victorian Modernity aka Scientism, still held full sway.

It is often forgotten that Victoria herself was raised as a pre-Victorian and that in fact , the truest Victorians were those who knew no other age (say those born between about 1840 and 1900).

People who were fully grown young people when Victoria died did not die with her as if in some immense funeral pyre, but instead lived on  as full-Victorians, until their own deaths in the 1960s.

Jazz Age kids fought & died in WWII ,yes, but Victorians ran it..

Henry Dawson (1896) and Howard Florey (1898) were both fully Victorian figures: the first representing pre-Great War sentimentality to its fullest, the latter a Social Darwinian from birth till death.

Their monumental clash between 1940 till 1945 was thus a clash of differing Victorian values ---- during the years of WWII --- a time that is incorrectly thought to be well past the Victorian Age.

Florey the Skygod ; Dawson the earthling.

I - on the other hand -will argue with my dying breath that the Victorian Age died with the death of the last Victorian , not at all with the death of the Queen herself....

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