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Censoring Queen Victoria: How Two Gentlemen Edited a Queen and Created an Icon [Hardcover]

Yvonne M. Ward
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
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Book Description

6 Mar 2014

'Fascinating' BBC History 

'Remarkable and clever' New York Times

'Original and important' Sir David Cannadine

When Queen Victoria died, two gentlemen were commissioned with the monumental task of editing her vast correspondence. It would be the first time that a British monarch's letters had been published, and it would change how Victoria was remembered forever.

The men chosen for the job were deeply complex and peculiar characters: Viscount Esher, the consummate royal confidant, blessed with charm and influence, but hiding a secret obsession with Eton boys and incestuous relationship with his son; Arthur Benson, a schoolmaster and author, plagued by depression, struggling to fit in with the blue-blooded clubs and codes of the court. Together with King Edward VII these men would decide Victoria’s legacy. In their hands 460 volumes of the Queen’s Correspondence became just three, and their decisions and – distortions – would influence perceptions of Victoria for generations to come.

 


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (6 Mar 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780743637
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780743639
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 280,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

'Original and important, this book represents a major contribution to our understanding of the modern British monarchy.'

(Sir David Cannadine)

'Hats off to Yvonne Ward... who has exposed the gentlemanly networks that tried to hide the truth about Queen Victoria'.'

(Robert Lacey)

'A revelation… Yvonne Ward gives us a completely new perspective on how Queen Victoria's image, following her death, was moulded & manipulated.'

(John Murray, publisher)

'Yvonne Ward's groundbreaking book is a gripping read - a fascinating account of how Edwardian courtiers doctored the evidence to create a politically correct image of Queen Victoria.'

(Jane Ridley, author of Bertie: A Life of Edward VII)

'Yvonne Ward has done a sterling job of delving into history to find out how the reputation which the queen guarded so fiercely during her lifetime continued to be manipulated and reshaped even after her death - as well as how many myths continue to persist even today.'

(Lucinda Hawksley, author of The Mystery of Princess Louise)

'Enlightening... earnest, thorough.'

(Publishers Weekly)

'Rich in intrigue.'

(Kirkus Reviews)

‘Ward argues convincingly that Esher and Benson's radical pruning of Queen Victoria's early correspondence has had a profound effect on her posthumous reputation… a timeless reminder of how important it is for biographers to find the time, space and will to battle back to the primary sources.’

(Guardian)

'Four stars - Yvonne Ward tells a complicated story clearly and simply, which is the reverse of the normal academic procedure.'

 
(Mail on Sunday)

‘Does a great deal to show the real person behind our received image.’

(We Love This Book)

‘Yvonne Ward’s exposure of the motives and the men behind this skilful piece of powerfully persuasive and permanent Edwardian political spin is astonishing’

(The Times)

'Fascinating, not only for the intrigue surrounding the editing, but also for the myriad issues on which the author shines a light: from public schools to prime ministers; from Irish Famine to the arcana of court life...a fine piece of research.'

(Australian Book Review)

‘Original and engaging’

(Spectator)

'Remarkable and clever'

(New York Times)

‘Fascinating’ 

(BBC History Magazine)

‘An unusual and fascinating book… Yvonne Ward has the perceptiveness to present in a new light what at first sight might seem a well-trodden subject, deploying her own knowledge and archival research to make a fascinating read by re-editing the editors’ 

(Literary Review)

About the Author

Yvonne Ward is a historian with a doctorate from La Trobe University. Her publications include the lead essay in a special edition of The Court Historian, published to mark the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. This is her first book. She lives in Victoria, Australia.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At Last! 14 April 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
At last someone has taken the trouble to delve beneath the surface and uncover why so much nonsense is presented about Queen Victoria nowadays! This is a fascinating book which is both informative and easy to read and approaches the story of the Queen from an entirely new perspective. It sheds a great deal of light on the characters who first edited Victoria's letters and explains why so many important details are omitted. In many ways it is disturbing to realise that these troubled men have been responsible for creating an incomplete and often inauthentic portrayal of Victoria, and it is wonderful that, all these years later, this author has presented the truth! Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting 5 Sep 2014
By Dolly
Format:Hardcover
A very interesting book, giving a completely different 'take' on the diaries of Queen Victoria. What a strange pair of mysoginists the editors were! Had they been less so, a completely different image of Victoria would surely have emerged and history would have presented her very differently!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creating a legend 25 April 2014
By Nicolas
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
very interesting to read the manipulations which took place behind the scenes to
present Queen Victoria in the best light possible
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intersting take on the creation of Queen Victoria's image 27 April 2014
By Tom C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Yvonne M. Ward took an interesting feminist view of how the public image of Queen Victoria was managed by the two men who edited the first three volumes of her letters. Both of them venerated the elderly queen, but were completely out of sync with the lively, interesting young queen who would have been revealed in those letters if they had used different other selection criteria in their choice of which ones to include, and even more importantly, which ones to exclude. I have read all nine volumes of the letters of Queen Victoria's letters and I think that Ms. Ward got it exactly right--there is a sameness and an old-lady quality to the collection, from the first ones written when she was in her teens, all the way up to her old age. How she describes the process of encasing that fun-loving young woman in a personality created by the editors of the first three volumes, covering from 1837 to Prince Albert's death in 1861, is fascinating thing to read. I hope that she will continue her analysis with the remaining six volumes.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At Last! 14 April 2014
By Christina Croft - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
At last someone has taken the trouble to delve beneath the surface and uncover why so much nonsense is presented about Queen Victoria nowadays! This is a fascinating book which is both informative and easy to read and approaches the story of the Queen from an entirely new perspective. It sheds a great deal of light on the characters who first edited Victoria's letters and explains why so many important details are omitted. In many ways it is disturbing to realise that these troubled men have been responsible for creating an incomplete and often inauthentic portrayal of Victoria, and it is wonderful that, all these years later, this author has presented the truth! Highly recommended!
4.0 out of 5 stars It is interesting to know that there were image makers ... 5 Aug 2014
By Red Rose - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is interesting to know that there were image makers even back then. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a long time to undo the filtered information.
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