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The Passing of Barchester.

The Passing of Barchester (The Hambledon Press, 14.95 [pounds]) and The Victorian Archbishops of Canterbury (The Rocket Press. Blewsbury, near Didcot, Oxon, regular edition, 21 [pounds]; special edition, 70 [pounds]). Clive Dewey's is not a book about Anthony Trollope but a study of a small group of clergymen, centred on Dean Lyall of Canterbury. Under his patronage, a group of priests, most of them relatives, achieved powerful and lucrative positions in the Church of England. Mr. Dewey uses methods similar to Sir Lewis Namier's studies of the eighteenth century parliament. The reader is introduced to a series of fascinating biographical portraits. Mr. Dewey shows the worldly ways these clerics helped one another, but he also shows their genuine sense of duty and piety. These men are indeed similar to old-ficant fashioned High Churchmen such as Warden Harding that one meets in Trollope's novels. Mr. Dewey has shown the reality behind Barchester and perhaps it is no coincidence that Dean Lyall died in the same year as the publication of Barchester Towers. Anyone who desires a brief and pleasant introduction to the Victorian church is well advised to read The by the Rev. Dr. Alan Stephenson. The Victorian Archbishops were a remarkable series of men who played a great role in the life of the nation. It is appropriate that the text of this book was originally a lecture given at St. Deniol's Library, the ecclesiastical library set up by the greatest of Victorian statesmen, William Gladstone, himself a devout churchman. This short book is beautifully produced by Dr. Stephenson's son at his private press on hand-made paper. The richness of the book and the elegance of the prose are well matched.
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Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1992
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