Queen Victoria: A Life of Contradictions
A fresh, witty, accessible life of Queen Victoria. Not since Lytton Strachey has the irony, contradictions and influence of this Queen been treated with such flourish or biographical insight.
Reigning over a lifetime, Queen Victoria embodied the spirit of the contradictory era to which she lent her name. She championed modern art and photography but resisted education for the working classes and woman’s suffrage; she advocated cultural imperialism, tempered by imperial compassion; in her deference to her husband Prince Albert and her protracted mourning of his death, she combined wifely submission with regal obstinacy.
Original and accessible, ‘Queen Victoria’ is a compelling assessment of the ruler’s mercurial character, her key relationships and her impact on her own age and beyond.
'Matthew Dennison’s short, elegant biography of Queen Victoria focuses on the woman herself, rather than her effect on the country or her monarchical legacy … The book offers a nuanced portrait of Victoria, who could be impetuous and hypocritical, but also surprisingly progressive in her social views. Dennison writes with flair, and his vivid pen portraits of the peripheral figures in Victoria’s story are worth the price alone' David Evans, Independent on Sunday -
”'Sometimes caustic about her stubbornness and passions, often admiring of her frankness and honesty, Dennison's Queen Victoria sweeps us through the monarch's long and colourful life at a collected canter. He draws on imagery of her reign, including portraits of her with John Brown, to startlingly good effect, making us see with new eyes the lone young queen, later the Widow of Windsor and, in a final role, Grandmama of Europe” - Flora Fraser
'Matthew Dennison has pulled off a tremendous coup in writing a short and concise book, encapsulating Victoria's life in 152 small pages. Short books can sometimes be superficial overviews, but this one has the confidence of considerable research, well digested and well delivered… For anyone approaching Queen Victoria for the first time, this is perfect' Hugo Vickers, Times -
'This illuminating book gives us Victoria in deliberately bite-sized chunks… Dennison's dry wit and concise analysis bring new life to a monarch we all thought we knew' Daily Express -
'In elegant, eloquent prose, Matthew Dennison has written a close-focus and perceptive account of a complex woman' Country Life -
”'One is left breathless with admiration for the great Queen” - The Tablet
”'[Matthew Dennison] has done an adroit and incisive job of tying together Victoria’s many loose ends” - Spectator