Smorgasbord Guest Writer – Part 6: How we know what we know by Horatio Grin

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Part 6: How we know what we know by Horatio Grin

Take a moment to think the unthinkable. All the ancient tales you learned from your favourite childhood storybooks, from simple fairy tales to King Arthur, are not the hoary old legends you thought they were. They are merely modern retellings; sanitised by the Victorians.

At the beginning of the Victorian Era there existed a large prosperous and literate middle class in Britain with time to read and the money to buy mass-produced books. Educated and socially conscious, they longed for a fairer and simpler world. Much like the one existing before the Industrial Revolution that paradoxically created their wealth and leisure. For inspiration they turned to the folktales gathered by the previous generation.

By the end of Victoria’s reign, industrialisation had transformed Britain. The railways changed the country even more fundamentally than mobile phones, computers and the internet have…

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