The Age of Optimism: Manners and Morals 1848-1914 - James LaverLondon: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1966, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Poor Dust Wrapper. Edges of the dust wrapper somewhat frayed with a large, untidy, tear to the head of the upper panel and small patch of loss to the foot of the same. Text complete, clean and tight.
Jacket illustration: La Japonaise by Hans Makart. Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs ;
From the cover: “James Laver provides a fascinating background to the events that led from the idealistic revolutions of 1848 to the final disillusionment of 1914. He describes the corruption of France under Napoleon III and the hypocrisy of ‘Victorian’ morality in England and America, where prostitution and white slave traffic reached alarming proportions, while polite society turned a blind eye, and where the poor lived in the most appalling conditions, while millionaires banqueted with vine-leaves in their hair. The world was shocked by the behaviour of Amelia Bloomer and Cora Pearl, of Crown-Prince Rudolf and Edward VII, but was content to ignore conditions in the slums of the big cities. But as well as giving a revealing and fascinating account of the great social contrasts, Mr Laver initiates the reader into other aspects of life in the period, the relaxations and dissipations of both rich and poor, from the showboat and the music hall to the lavish spectacles of the Nineties and the beginnings of jazz.
The illustrations, which provide a rich supplement to the narrative, draw on much unfamiliar material by painters and photographers who faithfully mirrored the social conditions of the age, often with a frankness that still today has lost none of its force.”