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AQA LTA1a Victorian Literature Unseen: Texts in Context The Gentleman

Alan Gleave | Monday March 31, 2014

Categories: Hot Entries, Prose, Analysing Prose, Victorian Literature, Writing, Prose Analysis, AQA A Level English Literature A, LTA1, KS5 Archive, AQA A Level

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“The Gentleman? Part 1

The following is one of a series of lessons aimed at helping students to improve their preparation for the unseen element in their AQA LITA1a exam unit: Victorian Literature. There will be two lessons based upon one text this time, this being Part 1.

The passage below is taken from a university lecture given by the eminent Victorian, John Henry Newman – academic, churchman, and since July 2012, Catholic saint!
It deals with the ideal of ‘The Gentleman’.

The concept of ‘the gentleman’ may be considered one of Britain’s great gifts to the world – like the Beatles, Marmite, cricket, and – well, you can make your own list.

Though the idea of the gentleman may not be as popular as it was, we still have an idea of some of the things that a gentleman must do (e.g. play fair, tell the truth, take his punishment without complaining, etc) and must not do (e.g. cheat, exploit the weak, drop somebody else “in it?, etc.)

The Gentleman was, to the minds of many in the Victorian Age, a key type of national hero, linked somehow mythically to the idea of chivalric knights of the medieval age, who brought grace and glory to their nobleman, but now to the British Empire, making it all somehow heroic and, perhaps most of all, moral.  One of the Gentleman-Martyrs of the time was General Gordon of Khartoum. Look at bartleby.com and read from paragraph 96 to the end; and then look at Google Images, searching for the Death of General Gordon at Khartoum, by G. W. Joy.

Now read the passage below.

From a long-sighted prudence, he observes the maxim of the ancient sage, that we should ever conduct ourselves toward our enemy as if he were one day to be our friend.  He has too much sense to be affronted at insults, he is too well employed to remember injuries, and indolent to bear malice. He is patient, forbearing, and resigned, on philosophical principles; he submits to pain, because it is...

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