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Cultural history does not follow a timetable conveniently laid out in centuries, any more than social history does. Indeed, I have been suggesting throughout this book that the historical rhythms of the various forms and conventions of culture are partly distinct from those of other elements of the social order. It is for this reason that we cannot speak of a Zeitgeist for the nineteenth century, or any portion of it, such as the ‘Victorian age’, since every period of history is characterised by multiple and contradictory ways of thinking, seeing and feeling. It is rare indeed that there comes a moment at which, across a whole range of social and cultural forms, matters appear decisively to alter.