The Victorian Cult of Alfred the Great

256pp 21 ILLUS 2007 LIST PRICE: £55.00 H429



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During the last two decades, numerous studies have been devoted to the Victorian fascination with King Arthur. However, the figure of King Alfred has received almost no attention, yet for much of the nineteenth century Alfred was as important as Arthur in the British popular imagination.  'England's Darling' addresses a genuine gap in the literature on Victorian medievalism in particular and cultural history in general. The book examines the ways in which Alfred was rewritten by nineteenth-century authors and artists, and asks how beliefs about the Saxon king's reign and achievements related to nineteenth-century ideals about leadership, law, religion, commerce, education and the Empire. It concludes by addressing the most interesting enigma in Alfred's reception history: why is the king no longer 'England's darling'?