Michael Dirda at The Washington Post:
Walter Bagehot — pronounced Badge-it — was first called “the greatest Victorian” by that capaciously learned historian of 19th-century England, G.M. Young. The phrase has been attached to Bagehot’s name ever since and is again used by James Grant in the subtitle of this new biography, even though it would be more accurate to call its subject “the most versatile Victorian.”
Born the son of a country banker, Bagehot (1826-1877) attended University College London, where he received the gold medal for outstanding work in intellectual and moral philosophy. Soon after, he joined his father at Stuckey’s Bank, where he eventually became one of its directors. Seemingly tireless, young Walter simultaneously established himself as a journalist, initially making his name with irreverent essays about Shakespeare, Dickens and other canonical figures of English literature and history but eventually specializing in critical articles about economic and financial subjects.