The Edwardians by Roy Hattersley - review by Nigel Jones

Nigel Jones

The Gathering Storm

The Edwardians


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JIMMY PORTER, THE raging antihero of John Osborne's iconoclastic 1956 play Look Back in Anger, brands his detested father-in-law 'just one of those sturdy old plants left over from the Edwardian Wilderness that can't understand why the sun isn't shining any more'. Elsewhere, however, Porter himself softens and waxes nostalgic for the same epoch, grudgingly admitting that the Edwardians made their era look 'pretty tempting' when bathed in the golden glow of hindsight.

Porter's contradictory doublethink attitudes match the way we have tended to think about the Edwardians and their time: with a mix of pitying condescension ('Didn't they know that Armageddon was around the corner'?) and misty nostalgia - the idea that the Edwardians floated through the waning of their long summer

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A Mirror - Westend