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1837 - 1901 It spans over six decades of Queen Victoria s


1837 - 1901 It spans over six decades of Queen Victoria s reign. Literature deals with the issues and problems of the day: the social, economic, religious and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: 1837 - 1901 It spans over six decades of Queen Victoria s

  • 1837 - 1901

  • It spans over six decades of Queen Victorias
    reign. Literature deals with the issues and
    problems of the day the social, economic,
    religious and intellectual issues and problems
    surrounding the Industrial Revolution, growing
    class tensions, the early feminist movement,
    pressures toward political and social reform, and
    the impact of Charles Darwins theory of
    evolution on philosophy and religion.
  • Some of the most recognized authors of the
    Victorian era include Alfred Tennyson, Robert
    Browning, Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters,
    George Eliot and Thomas Hardy.

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  • Poetry settled down from the upheavals of the
    romantic period and much of the work of the time
    is seen as a bridge between this earlier era and
    the modernist poetry of the next century. Leading
    poetic figures include Alfred Tennyson, Robert
    Browning, Elizabeth Barret Browning, Matthew
    Arnold, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Christina
  • ALFRED LORD TENNYSON (1809-92) Poet Laureate of
    the UK from 1850 until his death. Greatly admired
    by Queen Victoria. Much of his verse was based on
    classical mythological themes. One of Tennyson's
    most famous works is Idylls of the King (1885),
    (idyll descriptive poem) a series of narrative
    poems based entirely on King Arthur and the
    Arthurian tales The work was dedicated to Prince
    Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria.

Tennyson used a wide range of subject matter,
ranging from medieval legends (Arthurian, e.g.
The Lady of Shalot) to classical myths (The Lotus
Eaters, Ulysses) and from domestic situations to
observations of nature, as source material for
his poetry. The influence of John Keats and other
Romantic poets published before and during his
childhood is evident from the richness of his
imagery and descriptive writing. On the whole,
his shorter poems are better known (Tears, Idle
Tears, Crossing the Bar, The Charge of the Light
Brigade criticism of establishment)
  • Tennyson wrote a number of phrases that have
    become commonplaces of the English language,
    including "better to have loved and lost, than
    not to have loved at all", "Theirs not to reason
    why, / Theirs but to do and die", and "My
    strength is as the strength of ten, / Because my
    heart is pure". He is the second most frequently
    quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of
    Quotations, after Shakespeare.

  • ROBERT BROWNING (1812-89) did not reflect much
    the ideas of his time. He found themes for his
    poetry in his travels and his studies.
  • He tried writing plays, but without success
    however, he is admired for his dramatic
    monologues the meaning in a Browning dramatic
    monologue is not what the speaker directly
    reveals but what he inadvertently "gives away"
    about himself in the process of rationalizing
    past actions, or "special-pleading" his case to a
    silent auditor in the poem. Rather than thinking
    out loud, the character composes a self-defense
    which the reader, as "juror," is challenged to
    see through.

  • Browning chooses some of the most debased,
    extreme and even criminally psychotic characters,
    no doubt for the challenge of building a
    sympathetic case for a character who doesn't
    deserve one and to cause the reader to squirm at
    the temptation to acquit a character who may be a
    homicidal psychopath. One of his more sensational
    dramatic monologues is Porphyria's Lover. The
    opening lines provide a sinister setting for the
    macabre events that follow. It is plain that the
    speaker is insane, as he strangles his lover with
    her own hair to try and preserve for ever the
    moment of perfect love she has shown him.
  • Other famous dramatic monologues are Fra Lippo
    Lippi, Andrea del Sarto, The Pied Piper of
    Hamelin, My Last Duchess.

  • The reclaiming of the past was a major part of
    Victorian literature with an interest in both
    classical literature but also the medieval
    literature of England. The Victorians loved the
    heroic, chivalrous stories of knights of old and
    they hoped to regain some of that noble, courtly
    behaviour and impress it upon the people both at
    home and in the wider empire. The best example of
    this is Alfred Tennyson's Idylls of the King
    which blended the stories of King Arthur,
    particularly those by Thomas Malory, with
    contemporary concerns and ideas.

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  • Victorian novels tend to be idealized portraits
    of difficult lives in which hard work,
    perseverance, love and luck win out in the end
    virtue would be rewarded and wrongdoers are
    suitably punished. They tended to be of an
    improving nature with a central moral lesson at
    heart. While this formula was the basis for much
    of earlier Victorian fiction, the situation
    became more complex as the century progressed.
  • On the other hand, moralizing often led to
    hypocrisy, over-sentimentality and false
    religiousness. Many authors rebelled against and
    mocked Victorianism.
  • An age of violent contrasts, in literature as in

  • CHARLES DICKENS (1812-70) the greatest of
    Victorian story-tellers.
  • Faults unconvincing plots clumsy, ungrammatical
    sentences sentimentality.
  • He is a master of the grotesque (unsuitable, odd,
    ridiculous, incongruous) his characters are
    really humours exaggerations of one human
    quality to the point of caricature (Mr Micawber
    is personified optimism Uriah Heep mere creeping
    hypocrisy Mr Squeers a monster of ignorance and
    tyranny they are grotesques not human beings).

  • His world is a kind of a nightmare London of
    chop-houses (restaurants serving meat), prison,
    lawyers offices, and taverns, dark, foggy and
    cold but very much alive.
  • His novels are animated by a sense of injustice
    and personal wrong he is concerned with the
    problems of crime and poverty, but he does not
    seem to believe that things can be improved by
    legislation or reform movements everything
    depends on the individual, particularly a wealthy
    philanthropist. Compassion to the weak, oppressed
    and abused.

  • Pickwick Papers picaresque masterpiece where
    the plot is not important, but everything depends
    on humorous types and on grotesque incidents.
    Humorous adventures of Mr. Pickwick and his
    friends as they travel across England.
  • Barnaby Rudge and A Tale of Two Cities
    historical novels.
  • Oliver Twist concentrate on social conditions
    social evils the poor, the life of poor children
    and the life of Londons petty criminals.
    Compassion of the author who condemns the cruelty
    and insensitivity of one class to the other.

  • A Christmas Carol the miser Scrooge
    miraculously transforms into a philanthropist.
    Christmas symbolizes the only way in which the
    world can be improved by the exercise of
  • David Copperfield autobiographical
  • Hard Times the problems of developing
    industrial cities in the north a critique of
    utilitarianism only material things are good
    and needed
  • SIGNIFICANCE novel enormously popular genre
    entertaining but also social commentary wish to
    right the wrongs of society always compassion to
    the weak and the oppressed.

  • As opposed to Dickens, who wrote of low life and
    was a warm-blooded romantic, Thackeray wrote of
    upper life and was an anti-romantic. His most
    read work is Vanity Fair it tells of the career
    of two girls with sharply contrasted characters
    Becky Sharp, unscrupulous and clever Amelia
    Sedley, pretty, moral but unintelligent and
    draws clever portraits of officers and gentlemen
    of the time of Waterloo

  • SIGNIFICANCE satirist and parodist of Victorian
    society saw himself as a realist, without
    Dickens romantic exaggerations and
    sentimentality criticized society but without
    the wish or the method to improve it read much
    less than Dickens today mostly remembered for
    Vanity Fair, and his unscrupulous but charming
    protagonist Becky Sharp.

  • CHARLOTTE BRONTE (1816-55) Jane Eyre one of
    the really significant Victorian novels a story
    of the governess who falls in love with her
    master, himself married to a madwoman.
  • EMILY BRONTE (1818-48) Wuthering Heights a
    story of wild passion set against the Yorkshire
    moors. Story about love and antagonism, which
    last beyond death. Not concerned with moral or
    social problems (like other writers of the
    period) but with psychological aspect of her
  • ANNE BRONTE (1820-49) best remembered because
    of her sisters her talent was smaller than

  • SIGNIFICANCE A picture of Victorian society from
    a womans point of view Victorian picture of a
    woman as an angel in the house.
  • Modern in a sense that female protagonists try
    to make their living by their intelligence and
    perseverance, not through marriage those that
    do, bitterly regret it Catherine in Wuthering
    Heights. Nature vs. culture. Psychological
    portraits of characters not idealized. Gothic
    Romanticism - violence, passion, the
    supernatural, heightened emotion and emotional
    distance, an unusual mix for any novel but
    particularly at this time. Examining class, myth,
    and gender.

  • Within the Victorian period the movement of
    Aestheticism and Decadence also gained
    prominence. It grew out of the French movement of
    the same name. The authors of this movement
    encouraged experimentation and held the view that
    art is totally opposed to natural norms of
    morality. This style of literature opposed the
    dominance of scientific thinking and defied the
    hostility of society to any art that was not
    useful or did not teach moral values. It was from
    the movement of Aestheticism and Decadence that
    the phrase art for arts sake emerged. A well
    known author of the English Aestheticism and
    Decadence movement is Oscar Wilde.

  • OSCAR WILDE (1856-1900) The Picture of Dorian
    Gray hedonism as the way of life. The beautiful
    Dorian Gray wishes that he should remain
    eternally young and handsome while his picture,
    painted in the finest flush of his beauty, should
    grow old in his stead. The wish is granted
    Dorian remains ever-young, but his portrait shows
    signs of ever-increasing age and, moreover, the
    scars of the crimes attendant on asking too much
    (a murder, the ruining of many women, unnamable
    debauchery). Dorian, repentant, tries to destroy
    his portrait, symbolically quelling his sins, but
    magically it is he himself who dies,
    monstrous with age and ugliness, and his portrait
    that reverts to its former perfection of youthful

  • In drama, farces, musical burlesques and comic
    operas competed with Shakespeare productions and
    serious drama. The famous series of comic operas
    by Gilbert and Sullivan and were followed by the
    1890s with the first Edwardian musical comedies.
  • Oscar Wilde became the leading poet and dramatist
    of the late Victorian period. Wilde's plays,
    (The Importance of Being Earnest, Lady
    Windermeres Fan) in particular, stand apart from
    the many now forgotten plays of Victorian times
    and have a much closer relationship to those of
    the Edwardian dramatists such as George Bernard
    Shaw, many of whose most important works were
    written in the 20th century.

  • Efforts to stop child labour and the introduction
    of compulsory education.
  • As children began to be able to read, literature
    for young people became a growth industry -
    established writers producing works for children
    (such as Dickens' A Child's History of England)
  • a new group of dedicated children's authors.
    Writers like Lewis Carroll and Beatrix Potter
    wrote mainly for children, although they had an
    adult following.
  • Other authors such as Anthony Hope and Robert
    Louis Stevenson and Rudyard Kipling wrote mainly
    for adults, but their adventure novels are now
    generally classified as for children.
  • Other genres include nonsense verse, poetry which
    required a child-like interest (e.g. Lewis
    Carroll). School stories flourished Thomas
    Hughes' Tom Brown's Schooldays.

  • Novels that came out of the late nineteenth
    century are the first examples of the genre of
    fantastic fiction.
  • Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, Edward Hyde, The
    Invisible Man were all created at the time
  • Gothic literature continues to thrive. Romance
    and horror in attempt to thrill and terrify the
    reader. In Victorian Gothic monsters sometimes
    cross over into the real world, making
    appearances in cities such as London and France.
  • Crime fiction A.C.Doyle, The Adventures of
    Sherlock Holmes, W. Collins, Moonstone
  • Gothic fiction B. Stoker, Dracula, R. L.
    Stevenson, Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

  • The Victorian era was an important time for the
    development of science and the Victorians had a
    mission to describe and classify the entire
    natural world.
  • Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species,
    remains famous. The theory of evolution contained
    within the work shook many of the ideas the
    Victorians had about themselves and their place
    in the world and although it took a long time to
    be widely accepted it would change, dramatically,
    subsequent thought and literature.
  • One other important and monumental work begun in
    this era was the Oxford English Dictionary which
    would eventually become the most important
    historical dictionary of the English language.

  • Matthew Arnold not only a poet, but also a
    critic of both literature and English social and
    political life
  • Samuel Butler wrote satires on the Victorian
    society and its belief in its own rightness
  • The interest in older works of literature led the
    Victorians much further - translating of
    literature from the farthest flung corners of
    their new empire and beyond. Arabic and Sanskrit
    literature were some of the richest bodies of
    work to be discovered and translated for popular

  • Writers from the former colony of The United
    States of America and the remaining colonies of
    Australia, New Zealand and Canada could not avoid
    being influenced by the literature of Britain and
    they are often classed as a part of Victorian
    literature although they were gradually
    developing their own distinctive voices.
  • From the sphere of literature of the United
    States during this time are some of the country's
    greats including Emily Dickinson, Henry James,
    Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark
    Twain and Walt Whitman.

  • The problem with the classification of Victorian
    literature is great difference between the early
    works of the period and the later works which had
    more in common with the writers of the Edwardian
    period and many writers straddle this divide.
    People such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard
    Kipling, H. G. Wells, Bram Stoker, Jerome K.
    Jerome and Joseph Conrad all wrote some of their
    important works during Victoria's reign but the
    sensibility of their writing is frequently
    regarded as Edwardian.
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