An Age of Transition?

William Strang, ‘The Temptation’, c.1899

‘The habit of dividing history into epochs, each with its own label, is convenient but misleading. The business of the historian is to carve the past at the joints. But what if there are no joints? “The timid man,” says Anatole France, “dreads as a future cataclysm a change which began before his birth, which is going on under his eyes, though he does not see it, and which will become apparent a century hence.” This is eminently true of English history. “We live in an age of transition.” This sapient remark, I believe, was first made by Adam to Eve as they walked out of Paradise. “How wise you always are, Adam,” said his wife, who did not wish to talk about apples and serpents’ (W.R.Inge, The Post Victorians, 1933)

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