Magazine September 30, 2019, Issue

Walter Bagehot: The Great Victorian Journalist

From the cover of Bagehot (W. W. Norton)
Bagehot: The Life and Times of the Greatest Victorian, by James Grant (W. W. Norton, 368 pp., $29.95)

Few writers are as highly praised, and as unknown to contemporary audiences, as Walter Bagehot. The banker, essayist, journalist, author, and editor of The Economist, whose last name rhymes with “gadget,” dazzled literary, financial, and political circles in Britain from his first major essay in 1851 to his death in 1877. Now his name is known primarily as the title of a column in the magazine he once edited. “Bagehot is one of those distinguished literary figures,” wrote Roger Kimball, “who seems to have been embalmed by his own distinction.”

James Grant’s lucid and captivating biography proves that Bagehot is worth

This article appears as “Versatile Victorian” in the September 30, 2019, print edition of National Review.

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