Samuel Smiles , was a Scottish author and government reformer who campaigned on a Chartist platform. But he concluded that more progress would come from new attitudes than from new laws. His masterpiece, Self-Help , promoted thrift and claimed that poverty was caused largely by irresponsible habits, while also attacking materialism and laissez-faire government. It has been called "the bible of mid-Victorian liberalism", and it raised Smiles to celebrity status almost overnight.
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, , often referred to as Mrs Gaskell, was an English novelist, biographer, and short story writer. Her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of Victorian society, including the very poor, and are of interest to social historians as well as lovers of literature. Her first novel, Mary Barton, was published in 1848. Gaskell's The Life of Charlotte Brontë, published in 1857, was the first biography of Brontë. In this biography, she only wrote the moral, sophisticated things in Brontë’s life, the rest she left out, deciding that certain, more salacious aspects of her life were better kept hidden. Some of Gaskell's best known novels are Cranford , North and South , and Wives and Daughters .
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His works include epic and lyric poetry; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him exist.