Victoria's Madmen is about those marginal voices, which the nineteenth-century heard only as a distant undifferentiated murmur, but through the Edwardian twilight and beyond became the cacophony of the twentieth century, the unmistakable noise of revolutions shaking both the stability of society and the meaning of self. The book tells the stories of a host of figures who came to exemplify a contrary and contradictory history of the Victorian Age: not one of Dickensian London and smoking factories, but one of little known messiahs like Richard Brothers and Octavia 'Daughter of God'; writers such as Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Edward Bulwer-Lytton; revolutionaries and radicals like Karl Marx, Beatrice Webb, George Bernard Shaw and Oswald Mosley; madmen like Richard Dadd and Jack the Ripper; orientalists and guerrilla fighters such as T. E. Lawrence; worshippers of Pan such as Arthur Machen, Kenneth Graham and J. M. Barrie, as well as the Latvian anarchists who killed three policeman in the East End of London and the striking schoolchildren of 1911. It is the story of those who were outcasts by temperament and choice; the non-conformists of the Victorian Age. Clive Bloom's readable account of the dark underbelly of Victoria's Britain captures the unrest bubbling under the surface of strait-laced Victorian society.
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