rir HE taste for Victoriana in ii literature and history continues to be generously provided for. George Dangerfield first wrote his life of the future Edward VII 30 years ago, not, as he says as "a work of history" but as a labour of love for the "incurable peripheral figure" who was. "Bertie," Prince of Wales. His book thus reads like a "documentary" novel without the dialogue, and extremely readable it is.
An added dimension of interest is the inevitable comparison between aspects of Edward Vire and Edward VII I's lives the parental lack of love and understanding producing the classic royal rebel. This is the (in turn classic) over-simplification of what was and is psychologically a very interesting situation.
Edward VII, as Mr. Dangerfield notices, came to represent "not a few of the social changes which resulted from the shift of Power from Land to Capital." The changes represented, as far as they really were. by Edward VH1 will 'become an obvious preoccupation of' biographers and observers in the next decade or so. To such study a look at
Victoria's Heir will prove a necessary and most satisfying aperitif.
The heir in question, born in 1841, passed through his not very happy teens during the decade described by Priestley as Victoria's Heyday. His assemblage of its ingredients constitute a gargantuan meal, served up with sumptuous illustrations and the vintage wine of well-stored wisdom.
Particularly good are the sketches of the literary figures of the period from which the whole social scene comes very much alive. There is little attempt at "psycho-analysis" of the era covered. but perhaps this, as yet, is the great unknown as far as historians are concerned.
But Priestley notes that Freud was born in 1856. What, one wonders, had he been horn a generation or so earlier. would he have made of the great Queen who tried to dominate but wanted to be dominated and her largehearted heir who never recovered from the lamentable lack of understanding lavished on him by his pathetically uncomprehending parents?