Aristocracy and Political Culture at the Fin de Siècle

430pp 17 ILLUS 2015 LIST PRICE: £30.00 HC10



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In the quarter century after Arthur Balfour’s entry into political life in the 1870s, Britain experienced material changes and intensifying human interactions as dramatic to his generation as the forces of globalisation are today. Aristocrats watched anxiously as gifted boys from the middle classes rose to the top in professional life. Culture wars erupted at home, as small wars of empire proliferated overseas. Politicians came to terms with electioneering among the masses and with a print culture that prefigured the mass media of the next century. The first great era of advanced, international capitalism affected every segment of society, including the rarefied domain of the first Edwardian prime minister. This book is a history of how Arthur and his friends -- George Herbert, 13th Earl of Pembroke; Laura and Margot (later Lady Asquith) Tennant; Mary and George Wyndham -- helped to construct a new ‘emotional regime’ among Britain’s political elites at the fin de siècle.