chapter
3 Pages

Afterword

WithSimon J. James

The Edwardian period is in many ways over-familiar to present-day readers and audiences. To deploy Harry Wood's useful term, an 'unhelpful historical determinism' might write the Edwardian as a Whig history of the origins of, and progress towards, its received image in the present day, as if the very telos of the Edwardian era were the present-day image of the sinking of the Titanic, or of World War One. Both the era of the post-fin-de-siecle, and at war with the twentieth century, the Edwardian looks back to, and flees from, its Victorian inheritance. The Janus-like qualities of the various turns in the Edwardian mind result in an age of paradox: the 1900s the age of not only, as Sarah Edwards notes, both decline and renewal. An age that features such contrasting figures as Friedrich Nietzsche and Edward Carpenter as presiding intellectual spirits is more than simply an age of transition.