The Return to Camelot: Chivalry and the English Gentleman

TitleThe Return to Camelot: Chivalry and the English Gentleman
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1981
AuthorsGirouard, Mark
Number of Pages312
PublisherYale University Press
CityNew Haven

A sweeping, reverberating exploration of the critical part played by the concept of chivalry in forming the English gentleman's character from the period of the French Revolution through the heyday of imperial expansion and the rude awakening of World War I. Though Girouard tends to see history as the sum of particles of experience (visible particles largely), his wide-angle vision leads him to marshal an extraordinary diversity of evidence, including: the highly stylized sex lives of the Pre-Raphaelite painters, the curious revival of Gothic castle architecture, the commercial success of inspirational novels (Tom Brown's Schooldays, et al.), and the radical conservatism of Thomas Carlyle and the Christian Socialists. But only toward the close--after keeping the reader suspended, if absorbed--does Girouard produce his central thesis: the complimentary relationship between the image of the gentleman and the exigencies of 19th-century ruling-class life. (Kirkus Review)

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