The De-Moralization of Society

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9780255363594: The De-Moralization of Society

As the debate over values grows ever more divisive, one of the most eminent historians of the Victorian era reminds readers that values are no substitute for virtues--and that the Victorian considered hard work, thrift, respectability, and charity virtues essential to a worthwhile life. "An elegant, literate defense of ninteenth-century English mores and morals."--New York.

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About the Author:

Gertrude Himmelfarb taught for 23 years at Brooklyn College and the Graduate School of the City University of New York, where she was named distinguished professor of history in 1978. Now professor emeritus, she lives with her husband, Irving Kristol, in Washington, DC. Her books include The De-Moralization of Society: From Victorian Virtues to Modern Values; On Looking into the Abyss: Untimely Thoughts on Culture and Society; Poverty and Compassion: The Moral Imagination of the Late Victorians; The New History and the Old; Marriage and Morals Among the Victorians; The Idea of Poverty: England in the Early Industrial Age; On Liberty and Liberalism: The Case of John Stuart Mill; Victorian Minds (nominated for a National Book Award); Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution; and Lord Acton: A Study in Conscience and Politics.

From Booklist:

When in 1983 Margaret Thatcher enthusiastically replied, "Oh exactly," to an interviewer's snippy remark that she seemed to approve of "Victorian values," she touched off the heated contemporary discussion of values that luckily has eventuated in this superb reconsideration of Victorian moral attitudes. What we call--thanks to the secularizing influences of Nietzsche and Weber--values, Victorians called virtues. In their minds, those included dedication to family, hard work, thrift, cleanliness, self-reliance, self-respect (which is not similar to modern self-esteem), neighborliness, and patriotism. Drawing on a panoply of the foremost Victorian social critics and commentators as well as historical statistics, Himmelfarb demonstrates that especially English but also U.S. nineteenth-century society was exceptionally socially minded. The working class and the poor strove to live by the same moral standards the middle and even the upper classes observed, and the result was a social order in which schooling spread, incomes rose, outsiders, especially Jews, were assimilated and often admired, women's rights expanded, and crime rates fell--all while urbanization and industrialization boomed and, indeed, demonstrably made England "a more civil, more pacific, more humane society." Neither puritanical nor hypocritical, the moral Victorian era stands in sharp contrast to "de-moralized" post-World War II England and America, as Himmelfarb shows in a long epilogue that ends in hopes for a new reformation that "will restore not so much Victorian values as a more abiding sense of moral and civic virtues." This is intellectual history and historically based argument as good as they get. Ray Olson

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Gertrude Himmelfarb
Editorial: Vintage (1995)
ISBN 10: 0255363591 ISBN 13: 9780255363594
Nuevos Paperback Cantidad: 1
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, Estados Unidos de America)

Descripción Vintage, 1995. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería M0255363591

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