Voices of Victorian England
Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life
by John A. Wagner, Editor
February 2014, 298pp, 8 1/2x11
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38688-6
$115, £89, 100€, A158
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38689-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Ironically, Queen Victoria opposed women voting or entering the professions.

The Victorian age was a period of transition as Britain industrialized and society underwent profound changes. Here, contemporary voices provide students with an up-close look at this pivotal time.

Voices of Victorian England illuminates the character, personalities, and events of the era through excerpts from primary documents produced between 1837 and 1901. By allowing Queen Victoria’s contemporaries to speak for themselves, this work brings the achievements and conflicts that occurred during the queen’s long reign alive for high school and college students as well as the general public.

Excerpts represent literary giants such as Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Rudyard Kipling, and Anthony Trollope. The book covers the worlds of politics, religion, economics, and science, and addresses subjects such as women’s issues and the royal family. Documents include letters, poems, speeches, polemics, reviews, novels, official reports, and self-help guides, as well as descriptive narratives of people and events from England, Scotland, Ireland, and, where pertinent, America and continental Europe. Spelling has been modernized and unfamiliar terms defined, and questions and commentary provide background and context for each document. In addition, the book offers tools that will help readers effectively evaluate a document’s meaning and importance.


  • Presents and comments on 68 excerpts from primary documents of the Victorian era, 1837–1901
  • Details selected topics—such as Victorian Ireland, Social Darwinism, the marriage market, and homosexuality—in numerous sidebars
  • Points readers to books and websites that can expand their understanding of a document and relate it to themes and issues in modern life
  • Suggests methods students can use to successfully incorporate the documents into school research and reading projects
  • Includes a chronology listing important dates and events from the birth of Princess Victoria in 1819 to the end of the Boer War in 1902
John A. Wagner, PhD, has taught classes in British and American history at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ, and Phoenix College, in Phoenix, AZ. He is the author of ABC-CLIO's Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses and Encyclopedia of the Hundred Years War, editor of Greenwood's Voices of Shakespeare's England: Contemporary Accounts of Elizabethan Daily Life, and coeditor, with Susan Walters Schmid, of ABC-CLIO's Encyclopedia of Tudor England.


"This is a good introductory reference volume for history students. Recommended."—Choice, September 1, 2014

Voices of an Era

The Voices of an Era series utilizes primary document excerpts, with introductory and follow-up material, to illuminate the character and social history of particular historical periods.

From sexual mores in ancient Egypt to resistance music in modern Latin America, from the fashion sense of the Mongols to the importance of film in modern India, the world comes alive in the award-winning Voices of an Era.

Each volume focuses on a specific historical era, offering a window into those times by bringing together a fascinating collection of primary documents, organized by cultural and social topics (art, food, religion, family life, recreation, etc.). Introductions, critical thinking questions, and other supporting material help teachers use these documents to bring true, effective inquiry-based learning to their classrooms.


Each of volume of Voices of an Era features 40-50 primary sources A chronology of the period cover in that volume Selected bibliography of print and nonprint sources (including Web sites, DVDs, CD ROMs, videos, films, etc.) suitable for student research A glossary of terms found in the introductory and followup material 15-30 sidebars per vol. Include "Did you Know"-type information, explanations of key concepts, etc. 40-50 Definition Fact Boxes per vol. Include definitions of unfamiliar terms from the text of the documents themselves.
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