Immediately the reader understands why this study of an eminent Victorian, eminent for being an outsider rather than a paragon, received a book prize from the History of Education Society (Britain). It is a masterpiece. In every respect, this biography of James Kay-Shuttleworth, civil servant and educational pioneer, is a magnificent example of the genre. At every moment, the reader is completely in the hands of an artist, a Virgil guiding him through the intricacies of a civilisation that blended late Georgian and early Victorian values. Aristocratic leadership, land-owning status and the diminishing yet real prerogatives of leftover power mingled with conceptions of individual worth, religious introspection, inheritances of self-doubt as well as self-deception and consequently a fierce determination to overcome class barriers.
Condition: Dustcover is worn and its corners bumped, but otherwise is in a reasonable condition. The book itself shows similar signs of shelf-wear, but the pages are crisp and clear. The foredge is a little grubby but this is negligible. That said, this book is in good conditon.