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Becoming Victoria

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Just eight months old when her father, Edward, duke of Kent, died unexpectedly, the princess Victoria moved significantly closer to England’s throne. The task of raising a potential female monarch assumed critical importance for the nation, yet Victoria’s girlhood and adolescence have received scant attention from historians, cultural critics, and even her biographers. In this engaging and revealing book, Lynne Vallone shows us a new Victoria—a lively and passionate girl very different from the iconic dour widow of the queen’s later life.
Based on a thorough exploration of the young Victoria’s own letters, stories, drawings, educational materials, and journals—documents that have been under appreciated until now—the book illuminates the princess’s childhood from her earliest years to her accession to the throne at age eighteen in 1837. Vallone presents a fresh assessment of “the rose of England” within the culture of girlhood and domestic life in the 1820s and 1830s. The author also explores the complex and often conflicting contexts of the period, including Georgian children’s literature, conventional childrearing practices, domestic and familial intrigues, and the frequently turbulent political climate. Part biography, part historical and cultural study, this richly illustrated volume uncovers in fascinating detail the childhood that Victoria actually lived.

276 pages, Hardcover

First published April 4, 2001

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About the author

Lynne Vallone

10 books
Lynne Vallone is professor of English and childhood studies at Rutgers University. She has written and co-edited several books, including Becoming Victoria and The Norton Anthology of Children’s Literature. She lives in Riverton, NJ.

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5 stars
17 (26%)
4 stars
25 (38%)
3 stars
14 (21%)
2 stars
7 (10%)
1 star
2 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Profile Image for Katie.
275 reviews
August 17, 2012
To be honest, this was exactly my kind of Victoria biography. She is so, so much more fascinating as a child and a teenager than after her accession to the throne, and everything in Becoming Victoria was done in such detail and didn't try to dwell on her adulthood that I was very impressed. Brava!
Profile Image for Kristine.
71 reviews
January 27, 2017
Four stars, because it really was fascinating to see the education of a princess in the Georgian era and the many original sources drawn upon. The reading journal and variety of reading materials described and discussed shows the importance of reading to becoming a critical thinker. All that being said, it is a tedious and often muddled reading experience, though hard to put down. Not narrative non-fiction, but a very scholarly look into Queen Victoria's childhood.
Profile Image for Adrienne Gilbreath.
20 reviews15 followers
February 18, 2018
I would think this a good book, if not for several typos. From the name of a Victoria’s half brother to claiming Edward II as one of the longest serving British monarchs, I can’t help but wonder how correct a book with so many mistakes truly can be.
Profile Image for Kirstin.
497 reviews
March 12, 2010
An attempt to combine academic and popular history. Only somewhat successful--though well researched.
Profile Image for Booksrock.
62 reviews2 followers
September 13, 2010
I really enjoyed this book very much--history accurate, I believe and well written.
99 reviews5 followers
March 29, 2013
A bit too dry and academic to be an enjoyable read, unfortunately.
Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews

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