Portrait of a Lady or The English Spirit Old and New

front cover of "Portrait of a Lady or The English Spirit Old and New"
Bruce Peel Library

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Penguin Random House Archive and Library


Elizabeth Robins


An odd document that attempts to describe the change undergone by English society at the turn of the 19th century by describing the life of one (fictional?) person, Mrs. Thompson, who represents in her own person the changes in definitions of Englishness. The author describes Mrs. Thompson as 'the most self- contradictory person' and one who 'reflects equally the secure order of mid- Victorian days and the hour of the latest attempt to destroy London' (15).


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