Covering topics ranging from literature to philosophy, history to social criticism, this is a snapshot of thought on 20th-century Europe (and the world) by one of Europe's sharpest wits and ablest pens. With chapter titles ranging from “The Miser and His Friends” to “The Red Reactionary,” from “The Separatist and Sacred Things” to “The New Theologian” and “The Romantic in the Rain,” this volume includes 39 brief sketches of individuals, each one of whom illustrates an aspect of contemporary society. Social, historical, and religious thought all figure prominently in this book, making it of great use in any study of the literary, religious, and social aspects of early 20th-century England and Europe generally. It will be of interest to students and scholars of the essay in English literature. It is a fine introduction to Chesterton's social criticism, which remains unique for its willingness to criticize some of the uncomfortable truths about capitalism without straying toward an inhuman bureaucratic socialism.
This rich and varied collection embraces light-hearted extravaganzas on survival at the hairdressers and the awfulness of school holidays, more serious essays on topics ranging from the Greek heritage to a hospital for the dying, and wickedly accurate attacks on attitudes both fashionable and trad.
George Levine is one of the world's leading scholars of Victorian literature and culture. This collection of his essays develops the key themes of his work: the intersection of nineteenth-century British literature, culture and science and the relation of knowledge and truth to ethics. The essays offer perspectives on George Eliot, Thackeray, the Positivists, and the Scientific Naturalists, and reassess the complex relationship between Ruskin and Darwin. In readings of Lawrence and Coetzee, Levine addresses Victorian and modern efforts to push beyond the limits of realist art by testing its aesthetic and epistemological limits in engagement with the self and the other. Some of Levine's most important contributions to the field are reprinted, in revised and updated form, alongside previously unpublished material. Together, these essays cohere into an exploration both of Victorian literature and culture and of ethical, epistemological, and aesthetic problems fundamental to our own times.