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Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Other Virginia

On January 22, 1901, Britain’s monarch died, marking the end of one of the most important periods in history: the Victorian era. During Queen Victoria’s 64-year reign, Britain became the first world superpower, dominating 25 percent of the earth’s population. The global telecommunications industry was launched with the invention of the electric telegraph in 1844; health care took a giant leap forward with the discovery of bacteria in 1860; British males of all classes were allowed to vote by 1885, and mass transit railways, daily newspapers and factories all resulted in profound changes in western society.

Literature was massively impacted by the emergence of universal education and the invention of the gas lamp. This meant that more people could read, and they didn’t have to rely on candlelight to do it. Novelists were finally freed to write for the masses instead of for wealthy patrons; classics were penned by Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll, Arthur Conan Doyle and many others.

Victoriana” is hot these days. Check out:

Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England by Judith Flanders.

Victorian Chic by Anita Louise Crane.

Victorian Painting by Lionel Lambourne.

Bedrooms: Private Worlds & Places to Dream by Kim Waller.

An Introduction to Antiques, the English Style by Sotheby’s. [video]

Cherished Objects: Living With and Collecting Victoriana by Allison Kyle Leopold.

Victorian Entertaining by John Crosby Freeman.

Creating a Victorian Flower Garden by S.T. Buczacki.

January 23 at 7 p.m. Reach for the stars with activities, stories and a night-time craft to take home. For ages 6-12 at the Lorton Library.

January 24 at 7:30 p.m. Washington Post reporters Alec Klein, Lonnae O’Neal Parker and Juliet Elperin discuss their books and articles. For adults at the Patrick Henry Library.

January 28 at 2 p.m. Attorney Rebecca Turner discusses immigration status, immigrants' rights and local resources. For adults at the Woodrow Wilson Library.

January 29 at 2 p.m. Ralph and Sandra Minker and historian Harry Butowsky discuss and sign their new book about family life during WWII. For adults at the Reston Regional Library.

Find free activities for toddlers in our online calendar.

“Life happened because I turned the pages.” -- Alberto Manguel

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