The Victorian Age in Literature/Bibliographical Note
After having surveyed the immense field presented in such a volume as Mr. George Mair's Modern English Literature in this series, or, more fully, in the Cambridge History of Modern Literature, the later volume of Chambers' English Literature, Mr. Gosse's History of Modern English Literature, or Henry Morley's English Literature in the Reign of Victoria, the wise reader will choose some portion for closer study, and will go straight to the originals before he has any further traffic with critics or commentators, however able.
He will then need the aid of fuller biographies. Some Victorian Lives are already classic, or nearly so, among them Sir G. Trevelyan's Macaulay, Forster's Dickens, Mrs. Gaskell's Charlotte Brontë, Froude's Carlyle, and Sir E. T. Cook's Ruskin. With these may be ranged the great Dictionary of National Biography. The "English Men of Letters" Series includes H. D. Traill's Coleridge, Ainger's Lamb, Trollope's Thackeray, Leslie Stephen's George Eliot, Herbert Paul's Matthew Arnold, Sir A. Lyall's Tennyson, G. K. Chesterton's Robert Browning, and A. C. Benson's Fitzgerald. At least two autobiographies must be named, those of Herbert Spencer and John Stuart Mill, and, as antidote to Newman's Apologia, the gay self-revelations of Borrow, and Jefferies' Story of My Heart. Other considerable volumes are W. J. Cross's George Eliot, Lionel Johnson's Art of Thomas Hardy, Mr. W. M. Rossetti's Dante G. Rossetti, Colvin's R. L. Stevenson, J. W. Mackail's William Morris, Holman Hunt's Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Sir Leslie Stephen's The Utilitarians, Buxton Forman's Our Living Poets, Edward Thomas's Swinburne, Monypenny's Disraeli, Dawson's Victorian Novelists, and Stedman's Victorian Poets. The "Everyman" Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature is useful for dates.
The latter half of the second volume of Mr. F. A. Mumby's Letters of Literary Men is devoted to the Victorian Age. There are fuller collections of the Letters of Leigh Hunt, Thackeray, Dickens, the Brownings, Fitzgerald, Charles Kingsley, Matthew Arnold, and more recently the Letters of George Meredith, edited by his son.
Among the important critical writers of the period, Matthew Arnold (Essays in Criticism, Study of Celtic Literature, etc.) stands easily first. Others are John, now Lord, Morley (Studies in Literature, etc.), Augustine Birrell (Obiter Dicta, Essays), W. E. Henley (Views and Reviews), J. Addington Symonds (Essays), J. Churton Collins, Richard Garnett, Stopford A. Brooke, George E. B. Saintsbury (History of Criticism), R. H. Hutton (Contemporary Thought), J. M. Robertson (Modern Humanists, Buckle, etc.), Frederic Harrison (The Choice of Books, etc.), Andrew Lang, Walter Bagehot, Edmund Gosse, Prof. Dowden, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Sir A. T. Quiller Couch.