The following is taken from wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gertrude_Himmelfarb
Gertrude Himmelfarb received her undergraduate degree from Brooklyn college in 1942 and her doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1950. She also studied at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and at Girton College, Cambridge University. She is married and has two children and is a political commentator and editor of The Weekly Standard.
Himmelfarb is best known as a historian of Victorian England. But she puts that period in a larger context. The Idea of Poverty opens with an extended analysis of Adam Smith and Thomas Malthus, who helped shape the debates and policies throughout the nineteenth century and beyond. Victorian Minds features such eighteenth-century "proto-Victorians" as Edmund Burke and Jeremy Bentham, concluding with the "last Victorian," John Buchan, whose novels depict a twentieth century imbued with Victorian values. The Moral Imaginationranges from Burke to Winston Churchill and Lionel Trilling, with assorted Victorians and non-Victorians in between. On Looking into the Abyss has modern culture and society in the forefront and the Victorians in the background, while One Nation, Two Cultures is entirely about American culture and society. The Roads to Modernity enlarges the perspective of the Enlightenment, both chronologically and nationally, placing the British Enlightenment in opposition to the French and in accord with the American. Most recently, The Jewish Odyssey of George Eliot and The People of the Book focus on attitudes to Jews, Judaism, and Zionism in England from their readmission in the seventeenth century to the present.
And so with scores of essays demonstrating that Victorian "values" – "virtues," she calls them – were not unique to that time and place. "The Victorian Ethos: Before and after Victoria," is the title of one essay; "Victorianism before Victoria" are the opening words of another. The word "Victorian" today has a disagreeable and crabbed connotation, conjuring up repressive sexual and social mores. Himmelfarb humanizes and democratizes that concept.. In an interview after receiving the National Humanities Medal, she explained that the Victorian virtues – prudence, temperance, industriousness, decency, responsibility – were thoroughly pedestrian. "They depended on no special breeding, talent, sensibility, or even money. They were common, everyday virtues, within the capacity of ordinary people. They were the virtues of citizens, not of heroes or saints – and of citizens of democratic countries, not aristocratic ones." Himmelfarb has argued "for the reintroduction of traditional values (she prefers the term 'virtues'), such as shame, responsibility, chastity, and self-reliance, into American political life and policy-making".
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