Ian Garrick-Mason

The lights that failed

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England’s Lost Eden

Philip Hoare

Fourth Estate, pp. 548, £

While the Victorian age was certainly one of unprecedented industrial and technical advances — an age, if there ever was one, of science and reason — it was also an age of unconventional religious enthusiams and spiritualist vogues. From seances held in the drawing-rooms of upper-class London families to Christian revivalist gatherings in the slums and countryside, a strong counter-current of faith flowed beneath the 19th century’s surface of rational progress.

Philip Hoare, author of books on No