G. M. Young

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George Malcolm Young (18821959) was an English historian, most famous for his long essay on Victorian times in England, Portrait of an Age (1936).

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Portrait of an Age (1936)[edit]

  • The human mind is still something of a troglodyte. Expelled from one falling cavern, its first thought is to find another.
  • A flight of perplexed unstable minds into the Confessional, into Spiritualism, into strange Eastern Cults.
  • It was one of Lord Salisbury's paradoxes that only uncontentious legislation should be brought before Parliament: if it were contentious, then public opinion was not ripe for it.
  • To attend a place of worship, to abstain from spirits, to read a serious newspaper and put money in the savings bank, was in 1840 as good an ideal as could be set before a man. To pursue it gave him rank as a citizen, the promise of a vote, and a share in a solid civilization.
  • Of historic method, indeed, nothing wiser has ever been said than a word which will be found in Gibbon's youthful Essay on the Study of Literature. Facts, the young sage instructs us, are of three kinds: those which prove nothing beyond themselves, those which serve to illustrate a character or explain a motive, and those which dominate the system and move its springs.

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