Samuel Smiles And The Diffusion Of Victorian Ideals
In many Victorian homes Self-Help had a status second only to the Bible, and though now considered a classic display of ?Victorian values? (industry, thrift, progress etc.), the old-fashioned phrases and unquestioning values may well represent the cover by which we should not judge the book. Self-Help sold 20,000 copies in its first year and a quarter of a million by the end of the century and went through seventy-one reprints and at least a dozen translations in the first century after its publication. Smiles was the individualistic, optimistic apostle of hard work, moral exhortation and upward social mobility through self-culture, thrift and perseverance. Self-Help was published in 1859, the year in which Darwin published his controversial theory of natural selection in On the Origin of Species. It is a work within a broader literary tradition in which human beings advance despite great adversary. According to Smiles, even the self-made man could rise to any height and stand straight among his fellow citizens.
Sir William Herschel (1738-1822) becomes curious about astronomy while working as an oboist in a traveling orchestra. He builds his own reflecting telescope, discovers Uranus and other celestial bodies, and becomes astronomer
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