Foraging in my parents’ secret bookshelf I discovered Strachey’s Eminent Victorians – and the art of history as entertainmentI came to Eminent Victorians secretly. I found it on the bottom shelf of my parents’ so-called spare room in our north Oxford house – a chilly space that I never remember being inhabited even for one night. My mother clearly believed that this shelf was a safe refuge for books such as Marie Stopes’s Married Love, as though I would not immediately home in on a hidden book with such a promising title.I was 14. I had no idea why Lytton Strachey’s work had been placed on the shelf that had become my secret pleasure. With hindsight I realise it was the novelty of Catholicism in the family – my mother had recently joined my father as a convert – that was temporarily affecting the judgment of two highly intelligent, open-minded people. But I certainly expected great things from it. And I was not disappointed, though they were not the great things I had been looking for: my goodness, what could those naughty Victorians have been up to in order to justify this seclusion?Instead, I found myself plunged into the world …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books