Kilvert's World of Wonders: Growing up in mid-Victorian England (Paperback)John Toman (author)
Paperback 326 Pages / Published: 30/05/2013
- We can order this
Kilvert's World of Wonders takes a fresh look at the Victorian era, one that does not turn away from the smoke stacks and crowded streets of popular imagining, but which sees them from the distance of the rural countryside. Though a countryman and lover of country ways, here the well know diarist is shown to be deeply stirred by what he saw as a society being changed and improved by science, technology, and by the liberal, enlightened ideas that were starting to circulate. The social changes seen by Kilvert resonated with the vision of progress that was imbued in him by his Victorian upbringing, and as a result his diaries can be seen as a response to these changes and not, as previous Kilvert scholarship suggests, as a simple record of country life. Toman's new work goes beyond the biographical and social realities of Kilvert's family by comparing them to almost twenty other middle-class families in order to show common factors in the familial experience of a rapidly changing society. At the heart of this re-evaluation of Kilvert's life and times is the theme of Wonder, various aspects of which are explored throughout. Away from the rapidly growing urban centres the effects of industrialisation are seen in a surprisingly positive light by Francis Kilvert, a fervent Christian coming to terms with the encroachments that science, scepticism and secularism were making upon religious faith and yet seeing all around him a 'world of wonders'.
Publisher: James Clarke & Co Ltd
Number of pages: 326
Weight: 540 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 21 mm
'Toman completes here a thorough reassessment of the literary, cultural and theological influences on Kilvert, bringing us closer than ever before to his character. Meticulously researched and written in a clear, engaging style, the book foregrounds the diarist's complex and ambivalent relationship with the rapidly developing climate of the mid-nineteenth century.' Dr Philip Dunham, University of Coventry 'Toman's study reveals Kilvert to have been a man who 'had the curiosity and courage to face the age's difficult questions.' The book's thorough and scholarly approach will ensure that it remains an indispensable tool to all those who wish to understand him and the forces which shaped him.' Dr Martin Crossley Evans, University of Bristol 'Toman will have put all devotees of Francis Kilvert in his debt with this masterly conclusion to this trilogy' Bernard Palmer, Church Times, 16 August 2013 'Each chapter benefits from detailed references, making this scholarly volume an excellent documentation of Kilvert's questioning wonder at evolving ideas, encompassing Tyndall, Darwin and evolution, [...] railways, steamships, etc. This is a book to read if you want to examine the man behind the diary, and to understand the tensions engendered by the dimensions of progress and tradition.' The Gower Society Newsletter, Autumn 2013 'This is Kilvert as we have never perceived him. This is the magic interaction of God-inspired Evangelical endeavour, its influence on science and endeavour, discovery, academic thought, the natural world which so interested Kilvert and a driving forward such as this country has not seen before or since.' Michael Sharp, The Kilvert Society Journal, September 2013 "This book is the result of meticulous research of Kilvert's published diaries... John Toman has created an interest and knowledge of Francis Kilvert's original work, I will be reading any further Kilvert diaries, if they emerge, and returning again to Toman's analysis." Pat Bowker, North West Labour History, Volume 39, 2014 - 15 "Toman's book is a useful reminder of the whole range of response to the Victorian 'crisis of faith.'" Cliff Davies, Wadham College Gazette, (2013) "This admirable book completes John Toman's trilogy on Francis Kilvert...Not only is this volume the essential handbook on Kilvert, but it also encapsulates some of the fundamental issues that dominated intellectual life in the 19th century and remain so important in our own time." David Whitehead, Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists Field Club, 2014 "Toman's study is detailed, meticulously researched, and informative..." -Year's Work in English Studies, Vol 94, No 1, 2015
You may also be interested in...
Simply reserve online and pay at the counter when you collect. Available in shop from just two hours, subject to availability.
Thank you for your reservation
Your order is now being processed and we have sent a confirmation email to you at
When will my order be ready to collect?
Following the initial email, you will be contacted by the shop to confirm that your item is available for collection.
Call us on or send us an email at
Unfortunately there has been a problem with your order
Please try again or alternatively you can contact your chosen shop on or send us an email at