This 1856 novel, one of the most beloved of the Victorian period, follows the life, from childhood to death, of an orphaned boy who grows to become a wealthy and powerful leader in his community. The young John Halifax is taken in by Abel Fletcher, a Quaker tanner, and forms a close friendship with Fletcher’s son, Phineas. Through hard work and integrity, John overcomes obstacles to find domestic happiness and material success. His achievements symbolize those of England in the early nineteenth century, and this novel captures the ambition and ebullient optimism of the growing Victorian middle class.
This Broadview edition includes a critical introduction and full annotation; the idea of the “gentleman” in Victorian culture, labour unrest in the early nineteenth century, and women’s roles in Victorian England are explored in the broad selection of contextual documents.