Britain never had the kind of revolution experienced by France in 1789, but it did come close. In the mid-1770s the country was intoxicated by a great surge of political energy. Re-discovering England's wildernesses, the intellectuals of the "Romantic generation" also discovered the plight of the common man, turning Nature into a revolutionary force. This power of the cult of nature enabled two things - to make man see and explore Britain in a way unimaginable a generation before, and to pit democrat cosmopolitans against patriots. From the politics of wildness, "A History of Britain" moves to the Victorian era and its question of how to create a better world in the face of upheaval. As the Victorian era began, the massive advance of technology and industrialisation was rapidly reshaping both the landscape and the social structure of the whole country. To a much greater extent than ever before women would take a centre stage role in shaping society.
About the author
Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University in New York. His publications include Patriots and Liberators, which won the 1989 Yorkshire Post Award for Non-Fiction, Dead Certainties, Landscape Eyes and the History of Britain series. Simon Schama was art critic for the New Yorker from 1995 to 1998, and was awarded a C.B.E. in the 2001 New Year's Honours List. His most recent book, Simon Schama's Power of Art was published to critical acclaim in 2006.
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