Show Less
Restricted access

Signs of the Times

Leslie Stephen's Letters to "The Nation</I> from 1866-1873


Brian Stenfors

The Signs of the Times by Brian D. Stenfors, describes and analyzes Sir Leslie Stephen's (1832-1904) bi-monthly letters (from 1866-1873) to the American periodical, The Nation. In this ground-breaking interdisciplinary study - of interest to literary and historical scholars and students of nineteenth-century Anglo-American relations, literature, international relations and journalism - the author provides a comprehensive survey of Stephen's Nation articles which demonstrate Stephen's efforts to interpret a critical reform period in English history for his American readers and a significant aspect of Anglo-American intellectual exchange. By allowing Stephen to speak for himself, the author places Stephen within the social climate and intellectual context of his time and evaluates Stephen's prescient political, social and religious views in relation to current British historiography. The five dominant issues of the period, chosen by Stephen to give his American audience a sense of the «prevailing tone of feeling in England,» when Anglo-American relations - due to the American Civil War - were at an all time low, resonate with relevance today. These «signs of the times» - political reform; the disestablishment of the Church of England; educational reform; social and economic concerns; and foreign colonial affairs, including Ireland - serve as the organizing themes of this book.