The Victorian Age The Norton Anthology of English Literature

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1830-1901
Queen Victoria
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 Responsible for bringing England to its highest point
 John Stuart Mill stated “we are living in an age of
transition”
 Became the center of Influence in the world
 England transformed into an Industrial Center with,
resources of steam power, railways, iron ships, looms,
and printing presses
 In literature, the Victorian period was a “richly
complex example of a society struggling with the
issues and problems we identify with modernism”
 Time of economic distress
 Reform Bill 1832 – right to vote for all males owning
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property worth 10 pounds
Included low middle classes but not working class
Reform Bill – beginning of new age, economic gain
1837 – fall from prosperity, series of bad harvest,
unemployment
Corn Laws –refers to wheat and other grains—law
regulated tariffs on imported products
1846 Corn Laws repealed, system of free trade
initiated
“The Cry of the Children “ (1843)
• Addresses the horrifying
conditions of child labor.
• Children five to twelve years old
working in the coal mines.
• Owners of mine and factories
working under the “economic
theory of laissez-faire, which
assumed that unregulated working
conditions would ultimately benefit
everyone.
Aurore Lucile Dupin, later
Baroness Dudevant
(1 July 1804 – 8 June 1876),
best known by her pseudonym
George Sand
 considered a feminist
authored literary and political
criticism.
 Her novels:
Valentine
Indiana 1838
Lelia 1833
Mauprat 1837
Consuelo 1843-44
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Sand
 Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert
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encouraged free trade
Factory Act insured child labor was regulated limiting
hours and enforcing improved working conditions
Prince Albert opened the Great Exhibition in Hyde
Park, giant glass greenhouse with exhibits of modern
industry and science
Church Divided into 3 major divisions: Evangelicals,
Low Church and High Church
Darwin, The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man
 1887-1897 considered the Jubilee years – time of
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serenity and security
London – center of civilization
Proliferation in commodities, inventions, products
that were changing into a more modern society
1867, new Reform Bill extending the right to vote to
working classes
Development of trade unions
 Reform bills gave men right to vote, but not women
 Educational and employment opportunities still
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limited
Woman’s Question debates on women’s roles ignited
Custody Act of 1839
The Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857
1848 – establishment of first women’s college in
London
Lower classes of women worked in factories
Tennyson’s home
Farringford, in the village of
Freshwater, the Isle of Wright
Alfred Lord Tennyson with his wife
Emily and sons: Arthur Hallam and
Lionel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred,_Lord_Tennyson
 Poetry invoked visual impression with emotions
 Creating a picture
 Beautiful cadences
 Alliteration
 Vowel sound
 “Tone becomes the sign of the feeling” (997)
 Wrote series of books
for improving women’s
duties
http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/womenLit/literary_market/Stickney_Ellis_L.htm
• Criticized trivial and ridiculous
plots written by some women
• Praised the realism of some
novels
• Emphasis placed on realistic
story telling.
• Her Novels:
Silas Marner (1861)
Adam Bede (1859)
The Mill on the Floss (1860)
Daniel Deronda (1876)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Eliot
 Charlotte Bronte – Jane Eyre
 Emily Bronte – Wuthering Heights
 Anne Bronte –
 Pseudonyms Acton, Currer & Ellis Bell
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