Chapter 6 the Victorian Period

Talk about the literary trends in English
literature history? (from Early and Medieval
literature to Chapter 18 century).
2. Speak out some influential writers of each
3. How about the features of each period.
Chapter 6 the Victorian Period
the historical background: political, social and
literary features of the period
literary forms
influential writers
Some exercises
Time: Queen Victoria who ruled over
England from 1836 to 1901. The period
has been generally regarded as one of the
most glorious in the English history.
 Social Events: Utilitarianism; Chartist
Movement (宪章运动);Chartist Literature
 Theme: Common sense and moral
propriety礼节, which were ignored by the
Romanticists, again became the
predominant preoccupation 当务之急in
literary works.
Introduction of background
The early eras of the Victorian England was a
time of rapid economic development as well as
serious social problems.
A. after the Reform Bill of 1832 passed the
political power from the decaying aristocrats
into the hands of the middle-class industrial
capitalists, the Industrial Revolution soon
geared up 加速.
B. Scientific discoveries and technological
inventions from railways to steamships, from
spinning looms织布机 to printing machines
quickly brought amazing changes to the country.
C. Large amounts of profit were
accumulated both from expanding its
foreign trade markets and from exploiting
its huge-sized colonies.
D. the working class were striking for the
basic right and better living and working
E. this was the first mass movement of the
English working class and the early sign of the
awakening of the poor, oppressed people.
F. during the next twenty years, with the
industrial Revolution in full swing节奏, the
nation was well ahead of others in development.
 G. the Victorians experienced fundamental
changes. The rapid development of science
and technology, new inventions and discoveries
in geology, astronomy, biology and
anthropology人类学 drastically彻底地 shook
people’s religious convictions.
 H. the collision冲突 between religion started
from the early nineteenth century and science.
Major Literary Forms
Novel (best):
 In this period, the novel became the most
widely read and the most vital and challenging
expression of progressive thought. While
sticking to the principle of faithful representation
of the 18th century realist novel, they carried
their duty forward to the criticism of the society
and the defense of the mass. They were all
concerned about the fate of the common people.
Prose: Many of the prose writers joined forces
with the critical realist novelists in exposing and
criticizing the social reality, and some became
very influential in the ideological 意识形态field.
 Poetry: The poetry of this period was mainly
characterized by experiments with new styles
and new ways of expression. “psycho-analytical
/ǽ /分析的,解析的” element.
Some terms
Critical Realism:
It is the main trend of the literary thoughts in the
19th century. It reveals the corrupting influences
of the rule of cash upon human nature. Critical
realists set themselves the task of criticizing
capitalist society from a democratic viewpoint of
bourgeois reality. The 19th century critical
realists made use of the form of novel to
express their ideas.
Utilitarianism and Dramatic Monologue
Utilitarianism功利主义: the ethical doctrine that
virtue is based on utility, and that conduct
should be directed toward promoting the
greatest happiness of the greatest number of
Dramatic Monologue戏剧独白: a single speaker is
saying something to someone, even it only to
himself. But whereas the speaker of a lyric
usually seems to be the poet. The speaker of a
dramatic monologue is a fictional character or
an historical figure caught at a critical moment.
The Chartist Movement
Chartist Movement: From 1836 to 1848, the
English workers got themselves organized in
big cities and brought forth the People’s Charter.
In which they demanded basic rights and better
living and working conditions.
Chartist Literature
 The
predominant theme in early Victorian
literature, especially in the writings of the
working class writers (the chartists) and the
critical realist. The bulk of Chartist literature
appeared in different Chartist Publications.
They were welcomed by the vast masses as the
voices of their own hearts.
Celtic Renaissance:
 The creative outburst in Ireland late in the
nineteenth century, continuing into the twentieth.
William Butler Yeats and others sought dignify
culture by producing art related to Irish
Influential writers
 Charles
Dickens ,
 Sisters Bronte (Charlotte
Bronte, Emily Bronte and Anne
 Jane Austen,
 William M. Thackeray
 Robert Browning and Tennyson
 Charles
Dickens’s creation:
The first period:
 1836
Sketches by Boz
 1836-37 The Pickwick Papers
 1837-38 Oliver Twist
 1838-39
Nicholas Nickleby
 1840-41
the old Curiosity Shop
 1841
Barnaby Rudge
The Second period
 1842
American Notes 《美国杂记》
 1843-45
Martin Chuzzlewit 《马丁·朱述尔维特》
 1843
A Christmas Carol
 1844
The Chimes 《钟声》
 1845
The Cricket on the Hearth《炉膛上的蟋蟀》
 1846-48
Dombey and Son
 1849-50
David Copperfield
The Third Period
 1852-53
Bleak house
 1854
Hard Times
 1855-57
Little Dorrit
 1859
A Tale of Two Cities
 1860-61
Great Expectations
 1864-65
Our Mutual Friend
 1870
Edwin Drood (unfinished)
The points of views
1. His exposure and criticism of evils in society
 Dickens is one of the greatest critical realist writers
of the Victorian Age.
 His serious intention to expose and criticize in his
works all the poverty, injustice, hypocrisy and
corruptness he sees all around him.
 At the same time, he hopes to call people’s attention
to the existing social problems, thus effecting some
reform or amelioration.
2. Ambivalent 矛盾的 view on London
 In his works, Dickens sets out a full map and a
large-scale criticism of the 19th century London.
He presents London with ambivalence
(contradictory feelings of both love and hatred)
and an extraordinary vividness—fog, smoke,
pale dusty sunshine, shabbiness破旧, variety,
intimacy 亲密and vastness.
Artistic features of his works
A master story-teller—a great entertainer
and a great artist.
With the very first sentence, he engages the
readers’ attention and holds it to the end;
instalment helps him cultivate an ability to
sustain interest through all kinds of literary
devices, such as suspension, coincidence,
dramatic dialogues and melo-drama情节剧,
2. Characters—the most distinguishing
feature of his creation; both types and
individuals; impressive—not because
true to life, but larger than life;
3. Humor and Pathos 痛苦– life itself a
mixture of joy and grief; life delightful
because it is at once comic and tragic;
bright merriments and dark gloom at the
same time, mingling tears and laughter
as in real life.
The creation of Sisters Bronte
Scene: vast, rough, untouched moorland
The works of sisters:
Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre
Emily Bronte: Wuthering Height
Anne Bronte: Agnes Grey
 3.Charlotte
 Rochester:
Bronte: Jane Eyre
a grim-looking, energetic, quicktempered, but an understanding middle-aged
man. Jane Eyre: has a burning spirit and a
longing to love and be loved, Jane Eyre
struggles for recognition of her basic rights
and equality as a woman. It‘s an individual
conscious struggle towards self-realization.
She gets joy through the sacrifice of herself or
her weakness overcome.
Jane Austen’s creation
Sense and Sensibility
 Pride and Prejudice
 Mansfield Park
 Emma
 Northanger Abbey
 Persuasion
William m. Thackeray’ Creation
The Book of Snobs (1846-1847) 《势利者集》
Vanity Fair (1847-1848) 《名利场》
The History of Pendennis (1849-1850) 《潘登尼斯》
The History of Henny Esmond (1852) 《亨利埃斯蒙德》
The Newcomers (1853-1855) 《纽科姆一家》
The Virginians (1858-1859) 《维吉尼亚人》
Alfred Tennyson
1. Alfred Tennyson’s creation:
 Poems by Two Brothers, 1827《哥俩集》
The Princess, 1847《公主》
In Memoriam A. H. H. 1850《悼念哈勒姆》
Maud, 1855《毛黛》
Enoch Arden, 1864《伊诺克·阿登》
Idylls of the King, 1859-1885《国王之歌》
2. Poet Laureate (Wordsworth, Southey)
3. His work’s characters:
 He is a real artist.
He has the natural power of linking visual pictures with
musical expressions, and these tow with the feelings.
He has perfect control of the sound of English, and a
sensitive ear, an excellent choice and taste of words.
His poetry is rich in poetic images and melodious
language, and noted for its lyrical beauty and metrical
His works are not only the products of the creative
imagination of a poetic genius, but also products of a
long and rich English heritage
Robert Browning
1. His works:
Paracelsus, 1835《巴拉塞尔士》
Strafford, 1837《斯特拉福》
Pippa Passes, 1841《比芭走过》
Dramatic Lyrics, 1842《戏剧抒情诗》
Dramatic Romances and Lyrics, 1845《戏剧传奇及抒
Men and Women, 1855《男男女女》
Dramatic Personae, 1855《登场人物》
The Ring and the Book, 1868《环与书》
2. his features: perfects "dramatic monologue", keeps
readers thoughtful and enlightened.
His work’s characters:
 His name of Browning is often associated with
the term: ”dramatic monologue”.
 Although it is not his invention, it is in his hands
that this poetic form reaches its maturity and
 His poem is not easy to read. His rhythms are
often too fast, too rough and unmusical.
 The syntax is usually clipped and highly
 The similes and illustrations appear too
 The allusions典故 and implications暗示 are
sometimes odd and farfetched.
Mathew Arnold
The Strayed Reveler 1849 《离群的浪子》
Poems 1853 《诗集》
Poems: Second Series 1855 《诗集》
New Poems 1867 《新诗集》
Essays IN Criticism 1865 《批评专集》
Culture and Anarchy 1869 《文化与无政府状态》
Literature and Dogma 1873 《文学与教条》
George Eliot(1819-1880)
pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans, was born into an estate
agent’s family in Warwickshire, England.
Main works: Westminster Review
Translation : Leben Jesu (Life of Jesus)
Das Wesen des Christentums (The Essence of
Scenes of Clerical Life 《教区生活场景》
Adam Bede 《亚当·比德》
The Mill on the Floss 《弗洛斯河上的磨房》
Silas Marner 《织工马南》
Romola 《罗慕拉》
Felix Holt, the Radical 《菲利克斯·霍尔特》
George Eliot’s works characters
She seeks to present in the development of a soul
and to reveal the motives, impulses and hereditary
influences which govern human action.
 She is interested in the development of a soul, the
slow growth or decline of moral power of the
 In her works, she shows a particular concern for the
destiny of women, especially those with great
intelligence, potential and social aspirations, in her
mind, the pathetic tragedy of women lies in their
very birth.
Some exercises
A:1 Graham Greene
 2. Iris Murdoch
 3. Aldous Huxley
 4. John Fowles
 5. Kingsley Amis
 6. Washington Irving
 7. James Fenimore Cooper
 8. Edgar Allan Poe
 9. Henry David Thoreau
 10. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
 a. Under the Net
 b. Brave New World
 c. The Power and the Glory
d. The French Lieutenant’s Woman
e. “The Raven”
f. The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon
g. the Leather-Stocking Tales
h. Walden
i. “The Song of Hiawatha”
j. Luck Jim
1—5 c a b d j 6-10 f g e h i
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