Walter Bagehot

Banker, economist, editor and critic, Bagehot “was the antithesis of the grand Victorian man of letters.”

Portrait of Walter Bagehot (1826-1877)

It would surprise Walter Bagehot that he should still be widely read and appreciated all over the English-speaking world. His books and articles were addressed to his contemporaries, unlike those of Macaulay, “who” (he once observed) “regards existing men as painful pre-requisites of great grand-children.” The antithesis of the grand Victorian men of letters, Bagehot was a modest man, who set no large store by his position, although he was the first great editor of The Economist. By origin he was a country banker, by taste a master of hounds, and he died at a tragically early age. Yet not only was he the author of a host of aphorisms and phrases that have passed into the language, but an economic and political analyst whose findings exerted a considerable influence upon his contemporaries and successors.

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