The World in Time

David Cannadine

Friday, April 20, 2018

“Cremorne Gardens, No. 2,” by James McNeill Whistler, c. 1870. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1912.

Cremorne Gardens, No. 2, by James McNeill Whistler, c. 1875. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1912.

“Beyond any doubt the decades from the 1800s to the 1900s witnessed many extraordinary and traumatic challenges and wrenching and disorienting changes,” historian David Cannadine writes in the epilogue of Victorious Century, “as expressed and mediated through (among other things) the poetry of Wordsworth and Tennyson, the paintings of Turner and Landseer, the novels of Dickens and Eliot, and even Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operas and Oscar Wilde’s brilliantly brittle plays.”


But “how far did the men (and apart from Queen Victoria, they were all men) who were ostensibly in charge of the affairs of the United Kingdom and the British Empire understand what was going on and know what they were doing?” The book chronicles many of these events hurtling by those supposedly orchestrating or managing them, starting in 1800 with Ireland being subsumed into the larger kingdom of Great Britain and ending with the general election in 1906, when the Liberal Party squashed the Conservatives for the last time. In this episode of The World in Time, Cannadine explains why he chose those dates as bookends and why the words of Karl Marx and the oft-quoted beginning of A Tale of Two Cities precede his book.


Lewis H. Lapham talks with David Cannadine, author of Victorious Century: The United Kingdom, 1800-1906.


Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.

Discussed in this episode

More Podcasts

November 11, 2011

The World in Time:

Death Is Nothing to Us

Lewis Lapham talks with Stephen Greenblatt, 2011 winner of the National Book Award in nonfiction.  More

August 31, 2018

The World in Time:

Jim Holt

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Jim Holt, author of When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought. More

March 02, 2018

The World in Time:

Richard White

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Richard White, author of The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865–1896. More

Night Scene on the Volga, Alexei Kondratievich Savrasov. The Met.

February 02, 2018

The World in Time:

Victor Sebestyen

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Victor Sebestyen, author of Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror. More

April 17, 2017

The World in Time:

Andrew Bacevich

Lewis Lapham talks to Andrew J. Bacevich about America’s shift from the Cold War to war in the Middle East. More

November 09, 2018

The World in Time:

David Wootton

Lewis H. Lapham talks with David Wootton, author of Power, Pleasure, and Profit: Insatiable Appetites from Machiavelli to Madison. More