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This is the definitive biography of Britain’s greatest monarch, who “was hailed at once as the mother of her people and as the embodied symbol of their imperial greatness.” “One of the surpassingly beautiful prose achievements of our time” (Chicago Daily News).


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This is the definitive biography of Britain’s greatest monarch, who “was hailed at once as the mother of her people and as the embodied symbol of their imperial greatness.” “One of the surpassingly beautiful prose achievements of our time” (Chicago Daily News).

30 review for Queen Victoria (Arcadia Ebooks)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    This is not in Lytton Strachey's crafty and mordant biography but he would have seen this and smirked his head off. When Queen Victoria got married, the joke going round the gentlemen's clubs of Mayfair was about the honeymoon train. It would be setting out from Waterloo, passing through Virginia Water and Bushey until arriving at Maidenhead, leaving Staines behind. (For those unfamiliar with the geography of the Home Counties, these are all small towns in the south of England.) When the British t This is not in Lytton Strachey's crafty and mordant biography but he would have seen this and smirked his head off. When Queen Victoria got married, the joke going round the gentlemen's clubs of Mayfair was about the honeymoon train. It would be setting out from Waterloo, passing through Virginia Water and Bushey until arriving at Maidenhead, leaving Staines behind. (For those unfamiliar with the geography of the Home Counties, these are all small towns in the south of England.) When the British throne is occupied by a female person, there is always a strange story behind it, because, obviously, that should never happen. For there to be a Queen, a lot of men have to have died. How Victoria got to be Queen was really most convoluted and unlikely but she did. She was the great transition between monarchs who actually did something to monarchs who just represented something. I prefer them when they don't do anything at all, like Charles I after he was decapitated. They're the best sort.

  2. 5 out of 5

    John

    I’m not one of her most ardent admirers but as a conscientious Brit, aware of Her late lamented Majesty’s 200th birthday last month, it seemed appropriate to reach for Strachey’s volume which I had never managed to read. It is a little gem: highly readable and an excellent overview of the woman who was every inch (63 according to the Royal Archives) a Queen. She probably wouldn’t thank me for it, but whenever I think of a Queen, in all the many guises of Queenship, I think easily of Victoria. No I’m not one of her most ardent admirers but as a conscientious Brit, aware of Her late lamented Majesty’s 200th birthday last month, it seemed appropriate to reach for Strachey’s volume which I had never managed to read. It is a little gem: highly readable and an excellent overview of the woman who was every inch (63 according to the Royal Archives) a Queen. She probably wouldn’t thank me for it, but whenever I think of a Queen, in all the many guises of Queenship, I think easily of Victoria. No one could flounce like her. I loved Strachey’s gentle, witty style. (He knew a Queen when he saw one). It is sympathetic but never sycophantic: he paints the royal warts and all. A smothering childhood at the hands of a single, rather insecure parent, probably ill prepared her for the life ahead; her education was lacking, certainly. Queen at 18, bride at 20, mother at 21. Albert, her adored and gifted husband, in effect educated her during their 21 year marriage. The country owes him a great deal. He did much to put the ‘Great’ into GB and probably killed himself in the process. His widow would not, of course, allow us to forget. There were other men in her life - on and off the national stage– here’s a flavour of Strachey: “after the long gloom of her bereavement, after the chill of the Gladstonian discipline, she expanded to the rays of Disraeli’s devotion like a flower in the sun.” “The strain of charlatanism, which had unconsciously captivated her in Napoleon III, exercised the same enchanting effect in the case of Disraeli”. He referred to her as “The Faery”, quoting Spenser of course. Lytton Strachey gives outrageous examples of this flattery and the heights of campness their relationship reached. In old age she communicated tirelessly by letter with her vast family, “following with absorbed interest every detail in the lives of the ever-ramifying cousinhood.” to quote Strachey again. Interestingly, she was left the bulk of the estate of John Neild, a Miser, who died in 1852. This amounted to £500,000 approx or around £65.5 million in today's money. So, a bit of a financial buffer for her I guess. Recommended. 4*

  3. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    I found this a remarkable biography. It is quite short when one considers that it covers the longest reign in English History and the life of a monarch who lived 81 years. It works because Strachey focuses on the personality relationships that dominated that period--all of which centered upon the Queen. Thus we find chapters dealing with Lord Melbourne, Prince Albert (Chapters 4 through 6}, Lord Palmerston {in conjunction with the Prince Consort} Gladstone and Disraeli. In The central section th I found this a remarkable biography. It is quite short when one considers that it covers the longest reign in English History and the life of a monarch who lived 81 years. It works because Strachey focuses on the personality relationships that dominated that period--all of which centered upon the Queen. Thus we find chapters dealing with Lord Melbourne, Prince Albert (Chapters 4 through 6}, Lord Palmerston {in conjunction with the Prince Consort} Gladstone and Disraeli. In The central section the dominant character is Prince Albert and he is an enormously interesting character. While Strachey gives the Prince his due as an intelligent, clever man, he also presents him with considerable irony and implies that the early death of Albert was the best thing that could have happened to the Monarchy. After his death the story of Victoria is rather quickly told. Here, Strachey merely sketches--perhaps purposely--some quite interesting moments, especially the strange relationship between the straight-laced Queen and her servant, the burly, impolite whisky drinker John Brown who became her favourite at Balmoral Castle. There have always been rumours that Victoria secretly made a morganatic marriage with the Scotsman. When he died she seemed to regard his death as on a par with that of the Prince Consort. She filled the castle with mementos of him and even raised a life-sized statue in remembrance at Balmoral. Brown was hated by Victoria's son, who later became Edward VI. When he took the throne he eliminated all the mementos of John Brown and moved the statue to a nearly inaccessible part of the estate. You can still see it but it helps to get someone with local knowledge to guide you to the location. But the relationship may not have had any actual romantic element at all. Another reason that Victoria had such an interest in John Brown was owing to the fact that he was psychic and was supposedly able to contact the Prince Consort during seances. If this is true, then it would explain a great deal--including the remarkable liberties the queen allowed in the conduct of John Brown.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dagmar1927

    I read this originally for historical purposes, just to see what all the fuss was about really in all the other biographies I'd read. However, I took it out of the library and couldn't put it down. I loved Strachey's quiet exasperation of the Queen's somewhat questionable fashion sense at the state visit to Paris in 1855. It was the first time I'd read about such a reaction to her clothing and the slightly unnerving image of all that green and carnations was rather amusing. As was the profusion o I read this originally for historical purposes, just to see what all the fuss was about really in all the other biographies I'd read. However, I took it out of the library and couldn't put it down. I loved Strachey's quiet exasperation of the Queen's somewhat questionable fashion sense at the state visit to Paris in 1855. It was the first time I'd read about such a reaction to her clothing and the slightly unnerving image of all that green and carnations was rather amusing. As was the profusion of rings and (of course) the giant gold poodle handbag. I also found it extremely interesting how well Strachey wrote about Albert's death, especially as he wrote it before authors could use the Queen's diaries and a great deal of other sources to expand their knowledge. In fact, as he wrote 'Queen Victoria' in 1921, Princess Beatrice would still have been alive and still editing said diaries! I would recommend this book to someone who is interested in Victoria, as it gives an amusing and concise history of her life without being too long or complicated.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Negin

    I had expected this free e-book to be a bit on the dry side. Although it was bit boring at times, most of it was fascinating and quite engaging. More than anything, the love between Victoria and Albert touched my heart.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carla

    Giles Lytton Strachey was an early 20th century writer and biographer who developed a reputation for writing biographies that dealt with individuals as people, rather than the events they were associated with. His 1921 biography of the British monarch, Queen Victoria, is a highly readable insight into this long-reigning queen. Many public domain books can be slow to read, with language that is sometimes archaic when compared to contemporary writing. This is not the case with Strachey's work. Not Giles Lytton Strachey was an early 20th century writer and biographer who developed a reputation for writing biographies that dealt with individuals as people, rather than the events they were associated with. His 1921 biography of the British monarch, Queen Victoria, is a highly readable insight into this long-reigning queen. Many public domain books can be slow to read, with language that is sometimes archaic when compared to contemporary writing. This is not the case with Strachey's work. Not only does it thoroughly cover Victoria's life from childhood to death, but it is an engaging read that explores Victoria's relationships, both personal and professional. I particularly liked reading of the love between Victoria and her husband, Albert, much of which is detailed in Victoria's journals and letters. I also enjoyed Strachey's turn of phrase and his ability to create such effective word-pictures of this fascinating monarch and her life. If you have any interest in history or curiosity about British monarchs I think you will enjoy this book. I certainly did - far more than I expected to.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Thrasher

    For a book written and published approximately 90 years ago, this had a very modern feel. Strachey's biography certainly contains all the bones of Victoria's life; biographers writing after Strachey added meat, particularly the later years of Victoria's life and reign. Even Strachey has all the meat in the early years, up to the Prince Consort's death. I wonder if Strachey's biography set the narrative tone, created the Victoria story (so to speak) that future biographers all follow? I also assu For a book written and published approximately 90 years ago, this had a very modern feel. Strachey's biography certainly contains all the bones of Victoria's life; biographers writing after Strachey added meat, particularly the later years of Victoria's life and reign. Even Strachey has all the meat in the early years, up to the Prince Consort's death. I wonder if Strachey's biography set the narrative tone, created the Victoria story (so to speak) that future biographers all follow? I also assumed that one of the reasons the latter part of the biography was slimmer than the first half was that some of the players, including three of Victoria's children, were alive when this was published. I wonder what their reactions to the book were, or if they even read it? I had never read anything by Strachey before, and I always assumed his nonfiction was witty or catty or revolutionary, sort of like a Bloomsbury Mark Twain or Bill Bryson. But this was essentially a straightforward biography that could have been published today (we'd demand more sex though, I think, especially about a queen with nine children). Maybe publishing the biography of a beloved queen, when people still remembered her fondly (or otherwise) was revolutionary in the 1920s; it's certainly common place now.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Paola

    This very lively biography of Queen Victoria must be one of the best ads for republicanism I have come across: voluble, domineering, egotist, not well educated, her genuine concerns for her subjects appear rarely if at all. In most interactions she is surprised and disappointed by their failure to understand what she really means. Why should birth confer privileges to such a person? She harasses her Ministers, she presses for war on one side then the other on a whim, she amasses a private fortune This very lively biography of Queen Victoria must be one of the best ads for republicanism I have come across: voluble, domineering, egotist, not well educated, her genuine concerns for her subjects appear rarely if at all. In most interactions she is surprised and disappointed by their failure to understand what she really means. Why should birth confer privileges to such a person? She harasses her Ministers, she presses for war on one side then the other on a whim, she amasses a private fortunes drawing largely from the State coffers. I am not in the position to judge how much of this account is biased and how much of it is backed up by evidence (e.g. how does Strachey know that Albert was sad and unsatisfied?) - putting this on one side, it is a very engaging book that for sure pictures a 3D image of Queen Victoria and her times.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Yasmin Halliwell Fraser Bower

    This is a short biography of Queen Victoria’s years in the throne. It starts with a little background of the line of succession and the circumstances that made her next in line. It basically centers in the first years of her reign, while she was in close relationships with Lord M. and then, with Albert. The years after Albert’s death are little known according to the author, so it was not well detailed. Also, the wars and political context wasn’t truly portrayed, it’s more a ‘private life’ biogr This is a short biography of Queen Victoria’s years in the throne. It starts with a little background of the line of succession and the circumstances that made her next in line. It basically centers in the first years of her reign, while she was in close relationships with Lord M. and then, with Albert. The years after Albert’s death are little known according to the author, so it was not well detailed. Also, the wars and political context wasn’t truly portrayed, it’s more a ‘private life’ biography and I really appreciated it because I wanted the whole picture. The author is not impartial, you can see the opinions floating over there, but the actual thing that I disliked about the book was that it jumped to situations not telling the exact date and then went back a decade to explain another thing. Give me a timeline, people. So, I had to download one in order to fully follow the development of things. And, what's up with not adding the transcripts of german and french phrases? Come on. Was it just my copy? All in all, it was a great book to understand the global lines of events and characters of the time and it had little color details about their lives and personalities that made it better. It definitely made me want to read more about Victoria and Albert’s relationship because in the movies is too vanilla and investigating you can see that there were more tough times and hard choices, and that they were like a fusion of power more than two different individuals. I would really like to dig deeper there, I’m actually checking out books about it. I would recommend readers to see a movie or know a little of the history before reading the book because it can get confusing otherwise. All in all, it was pretty enjoyable and interesting so I’m giving it 4 out of 5 stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alana

    After seeing The Young Victoria, I became very interested in reading more about her. Apparently, she fell for Albert practically on sight and didn't need much persuasion to get married at all! I wanted to know about her family life the most but there isn't much of that in this book. Albert was extremely private and so it doesn't surprise me much. There is a lot of speculation about how Albert felt about his situation but again I don't know how much to believe since most of it is observation. Th After seeing The Young Victoria, I became very interested in reading more about her. Apparently, she fell for Albert practically on sight and didn't need much persuasion to get married at all! I wanted to know about her family life the most but there isn't much of that in this book. Albert was extremely private and so it doesn't surprise me much. There is a lot of speculation about how Albert felt about his situation but again I don't know how much to believe since most of it is observation. This book goes a lot into the political changes Victoria went through and how stressful to her it was. She could be very dependent on those prime ministers she liked and practically went to pieces when they lost their elections. There is great detail about Albert's Great Exhibition which sounds like it would have been very exciting to see during that time. I don't think I'll read this book again since it is pretty dry but I'm glad I did.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mary Rose

    I don't understand why you would chose to write a biography of a person you clearly cannot stand. Strachey is a beautiful prose writer but cannot conceal his contempt for Victoria and chooses instead to write about everyone around her--prime ministers, advisers, male relatives, and Prince Albert, who Strachey has a massive man-crush on. In this characterization Victoria comes across, no more or less, than a silly, meek, stupid woman who has to be steered by all the men around her, except when sh I don't understand why you would chose to write a biography of a person you clearly cannot stand. Strachey is a beautiful prose writer but cannot conceal his contempt for Victoria and chooses instead to write about everyone around her--prime ministers, advisers, male relatives, and Prince Albert, who Strachey has a massive man-crush on. In this characterization Victoria comes across, no more or less, than a silly, meek, stupid woman who has to be steered by all the men around her, except when she is childishly stubborn and refusing to listen to their Correct and Good counsel. Probably good for Victorian historians who know better and want to get a grasp of the historiography, but everyone else steer clear.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    4 stars for the first 80 pages - 3 stars for the rest. Strachey's gossipy prurience makes him a superb narrator of the court intrigue, the royal dissipation, the machinations of succession that begin Victoria's story. But things lagged after the marriage: I guess the sprightliest of historians can't do much with Albert's flood of memoranda, Victoria's flood of children. I was hoping that Prince Edward, trailing an entourage of mistresses, might take the stage for a while, but he's dealt with in 4 stars for the first 80 pages - 3 stars for the rest. Strachey's gossipy prurience makes him a superb narrator of the court intrigue, the royal dissipation, the machinations of succession that begin Victoria's story. But things lagged after the marriage: I guess the sprightliest of historians can't do much with Albert's flood of memoranda, Victoria's flood of children. I was hoping that Prince Edward, trailing an entourage of mistresses, might take the stage for a while, but he's dealt with in just a short allusion. I wasn't bored--but I no longer grudged every minute spent away from the book. Still, Strachey's presentation of her widowhood and pack-rat senility is very moving.

  13. 4 out of 5

    K.

    The three stars are only for "liking it" not for its inherent merit. Read like a slightly gossipy novel, which was nice, kept the flow and readability going. Written by the interesting Strachey, founding member of the Bloomsbury Group (a group of writers which included Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster and others). Daughter is "being" Queen Victoria for a school project, audience to ask biographical questions. Needed to have some questions to ask, thus this reading, which isn't my usual fare. However The three stars are only for "liking it" not for its inherent merit. Read like a slightly gossipy novel, which was nice, kept the flow and readability going. Written by the interesting Strachey, founding member of the Bloomsbury Group (a group of writers which included Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster and others). Daughter is "being" Queen Victoria for a school project, audience to ask biographical questions. Needed to have some questions to ask, thus this reading, which isn't my usual fare. However, found it fascinating, she was quite a character. I know that this early biography has been somewhat set aside as an antique and incomplete picture of the woman, it was still fun to read and informative.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    This book should be renamed "The Terribly Interesting and Important Men Around Boring Old Queen Victoria" because it focuses so little on the queen herself, and so much on her masculine advisers and keepers. It's still a worthwhile read, however, thanks to the author's Victorian tone and delivery. I love when a biography presents as much information in its narration as it does in its actual observation, and Strachey's crinoline and table-skirt style pull the reader tightly into the era. "Queen V This book should be renamed "The Terribly Interesting and Important Men Around Boring Old Queen Victoria" because it focuses so little on the queen herself, and so much on her masculine advisers and keepers. It's still a worthwhile read, however, thanks to the author's Victorian tone and delivery. I love when a biography presents as much information in its narration as it does in its actual observation, and Strachey's crinoline and table-skirt style pull the reader tightly into the era. "Queen Victoria" is history in high-necked haberdashery, political and foreign commentary, and a surprisingly tender and enduring love story, all in one.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Phyllis

    Written in 1921, this biography of Queen Victoria is well-researched and annotated. The prose is educated and quite British, which makes for interesting reading today. I enjoyed the wording, the adjectives, and the subtle allusions. The focus of this biography is definitely the incredible bond Victoria had with Albert. Theirs is a story of duty, love and committment. If you are up for a 'dated', charming and well-written bio of the great Queen Victoria, please add this to your list. You will not Written in 1921, this biography of Queen Victoria is well-researched and annotated. The prose is educated and quite British, which makes for interesting reading today. I enjoyed the wording, the adjectives, and the subtle allusions. The focus of this biography is definitely the incredible bond Victoria had with Albert. Theirs is a story of duty, love and committment. If you are up for a 'dated', charming and well-written bio of the great Queen Victoria, please add this to your list. You will not regret it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    I happened to see the movie The Young Victoria and my curiosity grew. I had little idea about the life of this monarch except that some of my favorite literature was written during her reign. I also wondered if the events in the movie had been exaggerated. What a surprise to find that most of the movie was actual events in this book. I loved that so many of the influences on both Victoria and Albert were people who encouraged them to be moral and careful leaders, using their power for good. A tr I happened to see the movie The Young Victoria and my curiosity grew. I had little idea about the life of this monarch except that some of my favorite literature was written during her reign. I also wondered if the events in the movie had been exaggerated. What a surprise to find that most of the movie was actual events in this book. I loved that so many of the influences on both Victoria and Albert were people who encouraged them to be moral and careful leaders, using their power for good. A truly enjoyable history even if I didn't understand all the political topics of their day.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bernard Madsen

    Half way through the reading of this tome (original 1921 hardcover)I stopped and noted how amazing the writing of this author was... poetic, flowing and beautiful... so nice. An absolutely wonderful book! I see now what all the fuss about Strachey's writing was... an easy, breezy, flowing narrative of an amazing life, of an amazing human, who was actually very, very human indeed. Beautifully done.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sajith Kumar

    The reign of Alexandrina Victoria (1819 – 1901) as the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was so profound as to be termed the ‘Victorian Era’. At 63 years and six months on the throne, she is second only to her successor, Queen Elizabeth II in the length of reign. Called upon to wear the crown at the tender age of 18, Victoria was the exemplar of public and private morality. Sweeping changes occurred in Britain during the six decades of her reign which saw England getting o The reign of Alexandrina Victoria (1819 – 1901) as the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was so profound as to be termed the ‘Victorian Era’. At 63 years and six months on the throne, she is second only to her successor, Queen Elizabeth II in the length of reign. Called upon to wear the crown at the tender age of 18, Victoria was the exemplar of public and private morality. Sweeping changes occurred in Britain during the six decades of her reign which saw England getting on to the centre stage of international politics with powerful presence in all corners of the globe. She presided over the making of a superpower, under the watchful eyes of the prime ministers who assumed and remitted office twenty times in her entire career. She ran a large family with nine children, who were married into all the major royal houses of Europe so that the queen came to be affectionately called the ‘Grandmother of Europe’. Giles Lytton Strachey (1880 – 1932) was a British writer and critic and a founding member of the Bloomsbury Group. He is best known for establishing a new form of biography in which psychological insight and sympathy are combined with irreverence and wit. In this award-winning biography of Queen Victoria, the author places before us the image of a stern, but benevolent monarch who at the same time possessed all the emotions of a woman who had an innate respect and capacity for business as well. People who are familiar only with despotic kings in the fables and real life would feel amazed at the working of constitutional monarchies like that of England, where the lineages that vied for the crown were often living in straitened circumstances till the moment they ascended the throne. Victoria was no different, and so too was King Leopold of Belgium, who was her uncle. The aristocracies of Europe provided princes and princesses to the royal houses thereby maintaining a tinge of supra-national affiliation towards their homes. Victoria, and her consort Albert, had German as their preferred tongue and their warmest sympathies were towards Germany as the mother country. The Duke of Kent - Victoria’s father - lived in Germany as his finances were not that impressive to maintain the facade of a royal household. The close relationship between the monarchs of various kingdoms – bound together by bonds of consanguinity – was instrumental in moulding the foreign policy of the country. King Leopold of Belgium tried to sway Victoria from the measured route charted by her democratically elected ministers, in vain. But England was an exemption in this, since many of the others still depended on the voice of the sovereign to set the fate of the populace. Victoria, who was said to have stepped all at once from a nursery to the throne, exhibited unusual rectitude and steadfastness in discharging her duties as the Queen of England. Britain was the most powerful nation in the middle of the nineteenth century, on which the sun never set. They could command the vast resources of a string of colonies in every part of the globe. By corollary, the Queen of England, though constrained by constitutional safeguards, may be said to be the most powerful human being on the planet. Being the husband of such a lady is not an enviable proposition for most men, who could look forward to nothing better than forever be in their wife’s shadow. The book presents a refreshing alternative to this gloomy prospect in the form of Prince Albert, who was also Victoria’s cousin. Their wedded life began with the usual skirmishes, but a strong sense of mutual attachment soon developed between the spouses. Albert, with his deep knowledge of continental politics, came in handy in setting England’s foreign policy. He made negotiations with the politicians on behalf of the queen on delicate issues of international import. He conceived the idea of and was instrumental in staging the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London which showcased the industrial produce of all the nations and was considered to be a milestone in the free run of the Industrial Revolution. The Prince Consort always maintained a balanced view of overseas politics. He could rise above petty electoral politics to which the politicians too easily succumbed. When Albert came to know of a dispatch by the Prime Minister John Russell on the American Civil War, he leaned heavily on the minister to moderate its tone. If the letter had gone forward without the prince’s intervention, Britain would’ve been forced to take sides in the civil war. Albert’s sudden death at the age of 42, after 21 years of conjugal life, shattered Victoria so thoroughly that it took her many years to regain her old composure. Strachey has made a very touching portrait of the last days of the prince and the inconsolable grief of the queen upon the untimely demise of her husband due to Typhoid fever. Bureaucratic red-tapism and pettiness have been the hallmarks of the administration which the colonies inherited from their erstwhile imperial masters. Presence of this debilitating legacy still haunts India to great annoyance to the public and the business community. This book presents some episodes to remind us of the brutal compartmentalization of Victorian England’s government machinery. A lot of departments were involved in the upkeep and maintenance of the Queen’s palaces. Often, the petty squabbles between the employees of one department against those of another led to inconvenience even to the highest dignitaries. Once, Victoria noticed that that there was no fire in the dining room. Upon examination, it turned out that the Lord Steward lays the wood and Lord Chamberlain lights it. The underlings of these two lords quarreled with each other and the queen had to eat in the cold. Then again, the inside of the palace windows were cleaned by the department of the Lord Chamberlain, while their outsides were cleaned by the Office of Woods and Forests. The gradual change of archaic customs related to the Royals is also mentioned in the text. Up till the very end of the Queen’s reign, ministers were not allowed by custom to sit down in her presence. She once apologetically remarked to a physically exhausted prime minister about her distress in not being able to allow him to be seated. However, towards the end of the century, this custom was abolished. This book was first published in 1921 and exudes the old charm of a long gone era. The diction is really fine and the narrative is touchingly penned. With a supremely pointed analysis of the characters in the story, Strachey exerts great dexterity in managing the flow of events. This biography is oriented more towards the personal, rather than the political. Readers are expected to be aware of the major European political events of the period on which the queen was called upon to finalize England’s stand. The publishers should consider adding a short description of the major events alluded to in the narrative. The book is endowed with a bibliography and a good index. A set of photographic plates is also added for greater visual interest. The book is strongly recommended.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Katy Koivastik

    Deservedly considered a classic, Lytton Strachey, a member of the Bloomsbury Group, put forth a well-written and scrupulously researched biography of a fascinating figure. The book captures Queen Victoria’s many political and personal contretemps endured throughout her long life, beginning with her ascendency to the throne at the age of eighteen. Towards the end of the book Strachey describes how Victoria would allow none of her possessions to ever be thrown away, and how she had them meticulousl Deservedly considered a classic, Lytton Strachey, a member of the Bloomsbury Group, put forth a well-written and scrupulously researched biography of a fascinating figure. The book captures Queen Victoria’s many political and personal contretemps endured throughout her long life, beginning with her ascendency to the throne at the age of eighteen. Towards the end of the book Strachey describes how Victoria would allow none of her possessions to ever be thrown away, and how she had them meticulously preserved and catalogued; I found this fascinating reading. One star off for the occasional flowery turn of phrase, for un-translated foreign passages, for not giving any details of Princess Alice’s death in “tragic circumstances”, nor of just how Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert, the Prince Consort, “improved” the construction of his green reading lamp “by an ingenious device”.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    This is a concise, very clear recounting of the life of Victoria. From the time just prior to her birth and the circumstances she was born into and then brought up in, through to her death in early 1901. Strachey deals with the nature and character of Victoria herself and her relations with those around her. How she became the famed ‘we are not amused’ (even though she was very often highly amused) character that we are all familiar with. A very enjoyable read that comes across as a well-researc This is a concise, very clear recounting of the life of Victoria. From the time just prior to her birth and the circumstances she was born into and then brought up in, through to her death in early 1901. Strachey deals with the nature and character of Victoria herself and her relations with those around her. How she became the famed ‘we are not amused’ (even though she was very often highly amused) character that we are all familiar with. A very enjoyable read that comes across as a well-researched, realistic and sympathetic account of her.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kate Martin

    I bought this book at the museum shop after visiting an exhibit on Queen Victoria. This biography was drowning in details and was written in an eloquent, yet very wordy way. Also i feel like I didn’t get a very three-dimensional view of Victoria and the biographer seemed obsessed with her husband Albert. Made a story about a 17 year old queen who ruled for over 50 years quite a slog

  22. 4 out of 5

    Janez

    More panegyric than a biography... Still, not bad at all.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I can't recall the last time I read a biography this erudite, funny and engaging. Addressing both the personal and the political life of the Queen with more than a little irreverence, Lytton Strachey avoids the pitfall of many biographers in taking their subject too seriously. The droll, almost gossipy style he uses to portray Victoria and her sphere was a wonderful contrast to the rigidity of the subject herself. He is at once sympathetic to and supremely critical of Victoria--while he doesn't I can't recall the last time I read a biography this erudite, funny and engaging. Addressing both the personal and the political life of the Queen with more than a little irreverence, Lytton Strachey avoids the pitfall of many biographers in taking their subject too seriously. The droll, almost gossipy style he uses to portray Victoria and her sphere was a wonderful contrast to the rigidity of the subject herself. He is at once sympathetic to and supremely critical of Victoria--while he doesn't think much of her intellect, he admires her straightforwardness. She is both a figure to be revered and subtly mocked. I didn't finish this biography with warm and fuzzy feelings toward Victoria, but I did leave with a better understanding of her and her reign. Highly recommended for the history buff.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sara G

    Obviously this biography of Queen Victoria published in 1921 is a bit dated, but the author infuses humor throughout and seems to capture the essence of who Victoria actually was, rather than focusing on purely dates and events. I was struck by the fact that being born in 1880, this author would have had memories of Victoria as queen and probably talked to quite a few people who actually knew her.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lynette

    This biography of the life and times of Queen Victoria was excellent. Strachey goes into great detail in his analyses of the queen and her advisors, various prime ministers, and other government officials, and of course Albert. He seems to be even-handed in his treatment of her, explaining how she was sometimes much beloved by her subjects, and at other times hated and reviled. So realistic and so in keeping with human nature. He made the politics of the day really come to life and gave an amazi This biography of the life and times of Queen Victoria was excellent. Strachey goes into great detail in his analyses of the queen and her advisors, various prime ministers, and other government officials, and of course Albert. He seems to be even-handed in his treatment of her, explaining how she was sometimes much beloved by her subjects, and at other times hated and reviled. So realistic and so in keeping with human nature. He made the politics of the day really come to life and gave an amazing portrait of Lord Palmerston as Minister of Foreign Affairs. I had never heard of this man before, but after reading Strachey's novel I am not likely to forget him soon. The version I read was a free download for my kindle. I could have done with lots more footnotes than this version offered, so there was just that one drawback. But other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    This book is a flowing narrative of a long and interesting life. I think this is the first biography I've read, and I think I've chosen well. It's easy to read yet so vivid, engaging and remarkable. I've always hated it when a history lesson or book was centered around the dates. The story and the road is so much more interesting! Maybe that's why I loved this book, because it's not about the "when", it's about the "why and how". It's also great that Strachey is not "in love" with Victoria, he sta This book is a flowing narrative of a long and interesting life. I think this is the first biography I've read, and I think I've chosen well. It's easy to read yet so vivid, engaging and remarkable. I've always hated it when a history lesson or book was centered around the dates. The story and the road is so much more interesting! Maybe that's why I loved this book, because it's not about the "when", it's about the "why and how". It's also great that Strachey is not "in love" with Victoria, he stays impartial and focuses on every aspect of the queen's life. I don't know how accurate it is, I've only found this biography in Hungarian (I was looking for one about Victoria), that I could get my hands on in a short time. Loved it, recommending it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy

    A personal reveal of Victoria (as compared to a true biography or historical portrait) this is a gem of written daguerreotype captured by Lytton Strachey, renowned for his sharp and trenchant assessment of Victorian times and personages from a distinctly early 20th century clear-eyed perspective. Written by Strachey in 1921 Queen Victoria is an effortless narrative of post-Victorian/Edwardian release wrapped in the modernist, bourgeois-rejecting cloak of the Bloomsbury Set with Strachey's very o A personal reveal of Victoria (as compared to a true biography or historical portrait) this is a gem of written daguerreotype captured by Lytton Strachey, renowned for his sharp and trenchant assessment of Victorian times and personages from a distinctly early 20th century clear-eyed perspective. Written by Strachey in 1921 Queen Victoria is an effortless narrative of post-Victorian/Edwardian release wrapped in the modernist, bourgeois-rejecting cloak of the Bloomsbury Set with Strachey's very own character and cliche-assassinating rapier glimmering throughout. In this way, it is more about what Victoria wrought and how it shaped her wake than it is a pen-in-ink about Victoria herself.

  28. 5 out of 5

    iamtedae

    This is an excellent book! I admit, when I picked it up I thought it was a "new" book, meaning within the last 10 years, and so felt a little sheepish when I read the publisher's page and discovered that, no, it's almost a century old... the writing style is a little dated, but actually not as much as I would expect. The tone is engaging, and a lot of imagination is used in illustrating the queen's life. The author creates a vivid picture of the queen's life and personality, and those of her fam This is an excellent book! I admit, when I picked it up I thought it was a "new" book, meaning within the last 10 years, and so felt a little sheepish when I read the publisher's page and discovered that, no, it's almost a century old... the writing style is a little dated, but actually not as much as I would expect. The tone is engaging, and a lot of imagination is used in illustrating the queen's life. The author creates a vivid picture of the queen's life and personality, and those of her family and the political figures she was closely involved with. I greatly enjoyed the "insider" view of Victorian royalty.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    This book was a lot of fun to read. Never having lived in a monarchy, I found all the palace rules and traditions to be highly interesting. The multiple influences that relatives and ministers of the royals tried maintain is intriguing. It was fascinating to read of Victoria's guarded childhood, her growth through being a queen at age 18 to a young wife, to a mother of nine children, to losing Prince Albert, the love of her life, at an early age, and learning the inside stories of her reign, bei This book was a lot of fun to read. Never having lived in a monarchy, I found all the palace rules and traditions to be highly interesting. The multiple influences that relatives and ministers of the royals tried maintain is intriguing. It was fascinating to read of Victoria's guarded childhood, her growth through being a queen at age 18 to a young wife, to a mother of nine children, to losing Prince Albert, the love of her life, at an early age, and learning the inside stories of her reign, being longer than any other British monarch, and longer than any other female monarch in the world. I listened to this as a free downloaded audio-book from librivox.org

  30. 5 out of 5

    Glynis O'halloran

    Being a Tudors fan, I knew very little about Queen Victoria so this was all new to me. I expected it to be a stuffy and difficult read but, in fact, the style was quite light and not too difficult at all. The tone was fairly respectful but as it was written in the 1920s there would still be a lot of her supporters around and so it would have been difficult for Strachey to be indiscreet. In fact, as he says, little was known about what happened during the years when she withdrew from the public s Being a Tudors fan, I knew very little about Queen Victoria so this was all new to me. I expected it to be a stuffy and difficult read but, in fact, the style was quite light and not too difficult at all. The tone was fairly respectful but as it was written in the 1920s there would still be a lot of her supporters around and so it would have been difficult for Strachey to be indiscreet. In fact, as he says, little was known about what happened during the years when she withdrew from the public so there is not much he could say. A few more anecdotes would have improved the book but, on the whole, I found in interesting.

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