Paula Bartley’s Queen Victoria examines Victorian Britain from the perspective of the Queen. Victoria’s personal and political actions are discussed in relation to contemporary shifts in Britain’s society, politics and culture, examining to what extent they did – or did not – influence events throughout her reign.
Drawing from contemporary sources, including Queen Victoria’s own diaries, as well as the most recent scholarship, the book contextualises Victoria historically by placing her in the centre of an unparalleled period of innovation and reform, in which the social and political landscape of Britain, and its growing empire, was transformed. Balancing Victoria’s private and public roles, it will examine the cultural paradox of the Queen’s rule in relation to the changing role of women: she was a devoted wife, prolific mother and obsessive widow, who was also Queen of a large Empire and Empress of India.
Marrying cultural history, gender history and other histories ‘from below’ with high politics, war and diplomacy, this is a concise and accessible introduction to Queen Victoria’s life for students of Victorian Britain and the British Empire.
Table of Contents
Chronology Introduction Chapter 1: Becoming Victoria: 1819-1837 Chapter 2: The Young Queen 1837-1840 Chapter 3: Leisure, love and family: 1837-1844 Chapter 4: Revolutionary times: 1840-1851 Chapter 5: Victoria and Motherhood: 1842-1861 Chapter 6: Queen Victoria, Palmerston and political interference, 1850-1860 Chapter 7: Life after Albert, 1861-1868 Chapter 8: Victoria, Gladstone and Disraeli 1868-1880 Chapter 9: Trading places: Victoria, Gladstone and Salisbury 1880-1892 Chapter 10: The last years: 1892-1901 Conclusion Bibliography Index
Paula Bartley has published extensively on women’s history. Her previous publications include Emmeline Pankhurst (Routledge Historical Biographies, 2002), Votes for Women (2007), and Ellen Wilkinson: from Red Suffragist to Government Minister (2014).
"This brief and engaging study skillfully situates Victoria's life within the context of the rapidly changing political, social and international condition of Britain. Bartley is particularly strong on Victoria's interventions in complex political and foreign policy questions, allowing the biography to serve as an introduction to these questions as well as to Victoria's life."
Andrew August, Abington College, Pennsylvania State University, US
"Bartley’s Queen Victoria is both pithy and nuanced - a difficult balancing act - in its depiction of the profound interconnections between the personal and the political that characterised Victoria’s life and reign; full of rich detail and drama, this is an incisive historical portrayal of a deeply paradoxical woman."
- Sue Morgan, University of Chichester, UK
"Bartley's book is far from being a hagiography. It provides a frank and refreshing view of Victoria. By allowing her to speak for herself through her letters and journals she confirms many of the criticisms expressed by Dilke and later by Charles Trevelyan. But it is hard not to be charmed by her vulnerability and impressed by the way she applied herself to her role as monarch for 60 years, steering Britain through a century in which it could easily have fallen apart."
- Mark Fisher in Standpoint Magazine
"Bartley’s interesting biography is well researched (...) Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries."
- P. T. Smith, Saint Joseph's University in CHOICE