Lytton Strachey

(1417 words)

Lytton Strachey accomplished a revolution in biographical writing in his succinct and satirical biographies of four Eminent Victorians (1918) which were written in pointed reaction to the Victorian, two-volumed hagiographical life-and-letters tradition. Coming at the time of momentous changes in literature at large (T.S. Eliot’s Prufrock and Other Observations, for example, had appeared in the previous year), Strachey’s volume was perfectly timed. His biography of Queen Victoria followed in 1921. With this, his literary reputation was consolidated and his fame secured. The “Preface” to Eminent Victorians enunciates his biographical-historical principles of selectivity and quasi-scientific detachment:

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Spurr, Barry. "Lytton Strachey". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 December 2004
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Bloomsbury group