We can go home again, and not just to the hearthbut to the art of love and the art of civilized living. . .
Imagine a time when common courtesy was a standard for all, when a genuine moral authority reigned supreme and when relations between the sexes were marked by mutual respect and honor. These were the hallmarks of the Victorian era.
In The Benevolence of Manners, sociologist Linda S. Lichter guides us on a wonderful journey back to the complex world of our Victorian ancestors, illuminating their most precious concepts and presenting a wealth of invaluable advice for our troubled times: the fine and elusive art of living.
Although the Victorian era is often misunderstood as a time of sexual repression, it was in fact a time of sexual floweringwhen love and romance were unshackled by chronic infidelity and exploitation.
In Victorian families, the greatest gift a parent could give their child was not complete indulgence, but a strong sense of self-reliance and restraint.
Victorian parents successfully instilled confidence and character in their children by holding them to the same high standard of civility as adults.
Whereas we often seek to be "good enough," the Victorians strove for consistent perfection. The Victorians achieved more, and received more, because they expected the very best from themselves and others.
These Victorian values, as Lichter eloquently explains, are not simply outdated relics, but priceless tools for mending the many problems of our modern world. If we have the courage to follow the path the Victorians have left behind, we can regain the joy of gracious living. Slowly but surely, Victorian wisdom can again become our own.