G. M. Young

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George Malcolm Young (29 April 1882 in Greenhithe, Kent – 18 November 1959 in Goring, Oxfordshire) was an English historian, most famous for his long essay on Victorian times in England, Portrait of an Age (1936).


Young was educated at St Paul's School and Balliol College, Oxford. In 1905 he was elected a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. From 1908 to 1920 he was employed as a civil servant, initially with the Board of Education and from 1917 with the Ministry of Reconstruction. For many years he was a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and the British Museum.

Portrait of an Age was an expanded version of the 89-page conclusion to Early Victorian England, a two-volume collection which Young had edited in 1934.[1] Simon Schama has described it as "An immortal classic, the greatest long essay ever written."[citation needed]

When his 1952 biography of Stanley Baldwin (which he had been asked to write by Baldwin) was published, both Winston Churchill and Lord Beaverbrook threatened to sue if certain passages in the biography were not removed or altered. With the help of lawyer Arnold Goodman an agreement was reached to replace the offending sentences, and the publisher Rupert Hart-Davis had the "hideously expensive" job of removing and replacing seven leaves from 7,580 copies.[2]

Young's writings were cited by George Orwell in his famous essay "Notes on Nationalism" as a prime example of what Orwell characterised as 'Neo-Toryism'.


  • Gibbon, 1932
  • (ed.) Early Victorian England, 1830-1865. 2 vols, 1934.
  • Charles I and Cromwell: An Essay, 1935
  • Portrait of an Age, 1936
  • Daylight and Champaign: essays, 1937
  • The Government of Britain, 1941
  • Burke, 1943
  • Today and Yesterday: Collected Essays and Addresses, 1948
  • Last Essays, 1950
  • Stanley Baldwin, 1952
  • Mr Gladstone
  • Rights and Duties in the Modern State
  • Scott and History
  • The Good Society

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peter Stansky, Review of George Kitson Clark (ed.), Portrait of an Age, 1977 annotated edition, The American Historical Review (1979), pp. 165-6
  2. ^ Hart-Davis, Rupert (1998). Halfway to Heaven: Concluding memoirs of a literary life. Stroud Gloucestershire: Sutton. p. 38. ISBN 0-7509-1837-3.

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