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Publisher's Summary

This series of 36 fascinating lectures is a chronological journey into the story of Victorian Britain, from the unexpected ascension to the throne of teenaged Princess Victoria in 1837 to her death in 1901 as the Boer War neared its end.

Presented with all of Victoria's strengths and foibles left intact by an award-winning teacher and author, the lectures invite you to reflect on both the positive and negative aspects of her reign. You'll discover the lives of Victorian women; the situation facing working people and the rise of trade unionism; Victorian achievements in art, literature, architecture, and music; and what Leonard Woolf called "the seriousness of games," and of leisure-time activities as windows on Victorian life.

You'll discuss the important role played by Christianity as a force for both principled adherence to tradition and principled pursuit of change; and the influence of science and the debates over its impact that animated the Victorians.

And you'll learn what the Victorians believed about education; the questions raised by Britain's rule over its empire, the problems of poverty and crime; the discoveries of Victorian explorers in Africa; and much more in this remarkable rendering of a remarkable age.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2002 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2002 The Great Courses

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Very good introductory course

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I'd recommend this course to anyone who wants a broad overview of Victorian England. Prof. Allitt covers a LOT of topics, but none in very much depth. It's a great jumping off point to do further reading (listening). It's particularly useful that he quotes liberally from contemporary writers to give a sense of the culture. I wish a bibliography were included, though.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite lectures were on Gladstone and Disraeli. Prof. Allitt draws nuanced distinctions between them and we can see both sides of contemporary politics. While he describes the eccentricities as well as the accomplishments of both men, the portrayals don't veer toward caricature. Actually none of the people whom Allitt describes do--he seems to like the men and women he talks about and is sympathetic rather than condescending to their foibles.

What about Professor Patrick N. Allitt’s performance did you like?

I loved his teaching style. He's clear, not too redundant, and has a wonderful sense of humor about the material. His accent is engaging. All around, a terrific teacher.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No, but the topics fascinated me.

Any additional comments?

On a personal note, I appreciated Prof. Allitt's attention to Victorian religion. This is a topic that is often absent from historical overviews. He's thorough and even handed.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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36 fascinating lectures - it's true!

Just a brilliant and informative set of lectures.
I've listened to it twice, just because it was so interesting.
Covers a lot of different things in Victorian society, each having a lecture of it's own.
I'd love to have a sequel covering Britain until today by the same lecturer.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Russel W
  • Los Angeles, CA United States
  • 07-15-15

I could not stop listening

I don't know if it was an attraction to the subject matter but I enjoyed these lectures so much that I listened to each lecture twice. I found Professor Allitt to be charming and adding just the right context to each fact.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A Great Introductory Course on Victorian Britain

Examines well the course and consequence of the Victorian' s social, technological and political climate.

The lecturer does a great job of listing both positive and negative aspects of the culture and its actions within the context of its operation. He neither sweeps the less savory things under the rug nor apologizes for them but presents both sides of the era as they were. He also shows how those views lead into and shape modern policy of the country and those under the former empire. It's a great starting reference that can easily lead into further reading and its well-thought-out format facilitates that wonderfully.

It is, in the end, slightly biased towards England. but not distracting so and certain not smoothing over a lot of the unpleasant ideas of the age.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Professor Allitt is the best of the best!

As a fellow historian, I greatly admire his knowledge and skill. I have greatly enjoyed every course he has done.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Excellently narrated; fascinating topic

Must buy for history enthusiast of the Victoria period. The topic is made interesting through storytelling and copious number of external references.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Awesome fun facts and great narration

So much information that I need to listen again! The professor also does a great queen Victoria voice;) highly recommend

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great Courses would be great even without its ads

What made the experience of listening to Victorian Britain the most enjoyable?

It is just utterly fantastic- a very comprehensive overview, lectured in a way that will hold your attention.

Have you listened to any of Professor Patrick N. Allitt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The scholar does a brilliant job. It is very different to have a matter taught by the original, rather than just having it read to you by a "narrator".

Any additional comments?

(Is that the place for the actual review?) Great Courses, why do you do such dishonour to the professors by riddling the audio with annoying music samples and completely superfluous information and advertisements, read in an arty- nasal voice? Someone who is listening to audio courses usually has limited time to his hands and can very well skip this.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • John S.
  • Seattle, WA United States
  • 02-21-16

Definitely recommended

Even though I was familiar with much of the material, I feel I learned a bit from listening to this course; moreover, the author has a very good delivery style.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Great Professor, Interesting Lectures

In case you couldn't tell by the title, this is a very specialized subject. This course basically covers Britain in the 1800s, which Queen Victoria ruled for most of the century. The professor does a good job of blending chronological history with topical history. What I mean by this is that the professor provides a good chronology and teaches the course generally in chronological order. However, he has special lectures from time-to-time on topical issues, such as the life of upper class women, lower class women, and servants. If I have one complaint, and it is a minor one, it is that I listened to this course shortly after listening to the professor's course on The Rise and Fall of the British Empire. There is consequently some overlap between the courses, so I wish I had spaced them out a little more than I did. However, the professor does a good job of minimizing the overlap and providing different perspectives.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Nils
  • 07-24-15

So far the best lecturer, decent content

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely. Anyone interested in the period will find a broad and sometimes deep tour over the victorian times.

What other book might you compare Victorian Britain to, and why?

It is much much detailed and broader in perspective than Life In Victorian Britain by Patterson but much less contrarian and iconoclastic than A.N Wilson's "The Victorians". However, a more conventional take on this period is a good start.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The frank description of poverty and classicism.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The above.

Any additional comments?

The lecturer is (so far) the most enjoyable of the entire Great Courses library. Nice delivery, clear voice, pleasent accent.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • ColonelJames
  • 11-29-16

Less depressing than you might expect!

If you could sum up Victorian Britain in three words, what would they be?

Entertaining. Enlightening. Satisfying.

What other book might you compare Victorian Britain to, and why?

Recently I have listened to 'Understanding Japan' and 'European Thought and Culture in the 19th Century'. The former moved lightly over lots of different topics and the latter was more methodical and academic. This is somewhere in between the two in its style but probably a little better than either because of the charming, sometimes very funny, delivery of Professor Allitt.

Which character – as performed by Professor Patrick N. Allitt – was your favourite?

Himself. He was very likeable.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Certainly not.

Any additional comments?

I was doubtful about this one when I started listening, probably because the title, like Victoria's picture, suggests a sort of grim austerity and lifelessness. But this could not be further from the truth. This one is recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jason
  • 08-02-16

excellent

these lectures were incredibly entertaining and interesting. I guarantee you will not be bored of these lectures.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul Elliott
  • 10-16-17

Hugely entertaining and enlightening.

These thirty-six lectures on the victorians and their world is never anything less than absorbing and enriching. The presentation is accomplished and distinctive, both qualities which are very typical of “The Great Courses,” and I would highly recommend these lectures to anyone with an interest in the Victorian era.

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  • Jase
  • 09-09-17

What did the Victorians ever do for us?

Where does Victorian Britain rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I bought this as part of an offer, I feel the need to improve my history knowledge. I am so pleased to have listened to it. The lecturer is engaging and delivers well, imparting his knowledge and making the whole course a pleasure. This is very much one of my favourites in my library and will listen to it again.

Who was your favorite character and why?

No one character. Not really that type of book.

What does Professor Patrick N. Allitt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The delivery of the course was excellent, just reading the book you wouldn't have his asides or personal views on particular subjects.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Too long to listen to in ne session, but the bite sized lectures lend themselves to short regular listens.

Any additional comments?

Fantastic!

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  • Mrs. K. Sowden
  • 11-11-16

Wonderful

I really enjoyed this series and didn't want it to end. Professor Allitt has a lovely style that makes the subject very accessible. I thoroughly recommend it.

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  • cwmbear
  • 06-11-16

Enthralling.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. When it finished I wanted more.
Victorian Britain was beautifully brought to life. So many interesting anecdotes and facts.
ONLY criticism: MCC = METROPOLITAN Cricket Club?? in lecture 33.

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  • madison fowler
  • 03-23-16

Comprehensive, engaging, and informative

Great series that provides a beginners account of the Victorian period with humor, passion, depth, and objectivity.

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  • Jade
  • 05-31-17

Fantastic

A really fantastic lecture series, interesting and very well spoken. It has been a pleasure to listen to. This has whetted my appetite for reading Victorian novelists.

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  • Miss Amy V
  • 03-12-17

Another Great Course!

I loved this as much as the ancient lives course. Fantastic lecturer who obviously loved this topic. It was a very varied look at Victorian Britain from the Queen herself to the leisure pursuits of the poorest people. Highly recommend this audiobook.

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  • Jen
  • 11-30-16

Excellent~

If you could sum up Victorian Britain in three words, what would they be?

A well prepared set of lectures covering so many aspects of Victorian Britain.

What did you like best about this story?

Excellent delivery and content.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No - it's a million hours long! But if I had all the time in the world then maybe.

Any additional comments?

Can't wait to get my next Great Courses download from Audible.

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  • Miss
  • 10-13-16

Enjoyable and engaging

Professor Allitt clearly has a passion for Victorian history and through all 36 lectures he conveys a real sense of life in this era as well as artfully drawing portraits of some of the luminous figures of the time.

I've been listening to this series on my daily commute for awhile now and will miss it!