Locksley Hall (1842) - University Presbyterian Church

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Victorian Era: Faith As Seen Through
Poetry
Session # 1
Vince Tollers
University Presbyterian Church
January-February, 2016
January 3, 2016
Challenging Changes
• Religious Reforms
– Anglicans: Oxford Movement
– Roman Catholicism legalized
– Explosive growth of Protestantism
– Religious studies
• Science
• Industrialization
– Social justice
• War
Why Literature?
• Public looked to Tennyson, Dickens, and other
writers to answer large, new questions of the
Era
• Poetry focused—easier to cover in these
sessions
• Explosive publication of poetry, essays, and
novels
Purpose of Literature to Victorians
To teach and delight
I was once a graduate student in Victorian
literature, and I believe as the Victorian
novelists did, that a novel isn't simply a vehicle
for private expression, but that it also exists
for social examination. I firmly believe this.
Margaret Atwood
Scheduled Topics
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
January 3
January 10
January 17
January 24
January 31
February 7
February 14
Introduction and Change
Science
Education
God and Christ
Nature
Sense of self
Romance/love (St. Valentine’s
Day)
Background
• Monarchs
• Leading characteristics
• Dateline of poets and
novelists
Monarch and Events
Victoria: 1937-1901
1830–48: stressful growth--first
railways and Reform Parliament
1848–70: prosperity, optimism, and
stability
1870–1901: breakdown of internal
and external compromises
Edward VII: 1901-10
1901-19 modernism meets
indolence and indifference
George V: 1910-36
WWI (1914-19) Old World ends
Victoria and Albert
Mourning Widow
At 21, Victoria
married her cousin
Albert and bore him 9
children—all of whom
assumed thrones
across Europe. When
Albert died at age 42,
she mourned him for
the next 40 years—
setting a somber
official tone.
Edward VII and George V
•Edward, the 2nd longest monarch in waiting
•George, reigned through WWI
Edwardian and Georgian Times
(1901-19)
• Rise of women and working class
• Great economic disparity—social unrest
• Foreign threats to “sun never sets on British
Empire”
• WWI ended this leisured world for the wealth
– “Downton Abbey”
– “Upstairs, Downstairs”
Leading Characteristics of the Age
Famous Quotes
“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or
what’s a heaven for?” (Browning)
“'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have
loved at all” (Tennyson)
“The history of the world is but the biography of
great men” (Carlyle)
“The best which has been thought and said” (Arnold)
English
Churches
Central to Industrialism
James Watts’ steam engine 1775
Morals and Manners—
Romanticism, Realism, and Naturalism
Morality Continues Today
Transitions of Types
• Romanticism (1830s-70s) gave way to Realism
(after 1870s) and Naturalism (after 1880s)
– Morality and “the ideal” less popular
– Coarser, fuller treatment of life
– New topics considered openly, e.g.,
•
•
•
•
Colonialism
The Woman Question
Lower class life
Sexuality
Romantic View
Domestic Bliss: “Angel in the House”
I worshipp'd Kate with all my will.
In idle moods you seem to see
A noble spirit in a hill,
A human touch about a tree.
Coventry Patmore
Realistic View
Domestic Horror Repulses Readers
In the preface to Jude the Obscure (1895), Thomas
Hardy writes: “For a novel addressed by a man to
men and women of full age; which attempts to
deal unaffectedly with the fret and fever, derision
and disaster, that may press in the wake of the
strongest passion known to humanity [as in
sexuality], and to point, without a mincing of
words, the tragedy of unfulfilled aims, I am not
aware that there is anything in the handling to
which exception can be taken.”
Naturalistic, Sometimes Crude View
• T
The Victorians—
of all classes—
were sexier than
is generally
assumed.
Major Writers and Genres
• Poetry and fiction flourished
– New readers, new subjects, new outlets
– First financially successful: Scott, Dickens,
Tennyson
• After 1880s, New Theatre flourishes: Ibsen,
Shaw, Wilde
– Stage filled with bawdry, burlesques, reviews
William Blake
1757
1827
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
1806
1861
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
1809
1892
Edward Fitzgerald
1809
1883
Charles Dickens
1812
1870
Robert Browning
1812
1889
George Eliot
1819
1880
Matthew Arnold
1822
1888
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
1828
1882
Christiana Rossetti
1830
1894
James Thomson
1834
1882
Edward Swinburne
1837
1909
Thomas Hardy
1840
1928
Gerard Manley Hopkins
1844
189
Henley
1849
1903
Robert Louis Stevenson
1850
1894
Oscar Wilde
1854
1900
Francis Thompson
1857
1907
A. E. Housman
1859
1936
William Butler Yeats
1865
1939
Rudyard Kipling
1865
1936
T. S. Eliot
1888
1965
Wilfred Owens
1893
1918
W. H. Auden
1907
1973
Scheduled Topics
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
January 3
January 10
January 17
January 24
January 31
February 7
February 14
Introduction and Change
Science
Education
God and Christ
Nature
Sense of self
Romance/love (St. Valentine’s
Day)
Change
When you are a kid, you think nothing will
change. When you are old, you think nothing
should change except in retrograde. In
between lots of us want to be the change.
Art Menius
Chapel Hill News
November 25, 2015
Victorians and Modern US Patterns
• Population explosion
• Migration from farms to cities
• Industrialization/Technological/scientific
advances
– Changing sense of time
• Religion not meeting new needs
England: 1740-2011
• Population (in millions)
1740
1800
1851
6
10
17
1901
31
2011
63
Increased population
and the Enclosure Acts
led to massive rural to
urban migration
US: Today vs 1940
• Population: total: (2014): 318 m; (1940): 132 m
– Rural/urban: (2014): 2% Lowest since 1850
– Southern Diaspora and Depression drove
Americans to urban centers
US Parallel: Today vs 1940
• Technology
– Cellphones (1983); Phones: (1940)25%
• Education
– High school (2014): 91%: 1940: 50%
– College (2014): 34%
1940: 6% (urban)
1.3% rural-farm
View of Time Shapes Our Response
– Personally
– Religiously
– Nationally
– Cosmically
Views of Jesus Change Over Time
• 5th-6th C BC
• 2nd C AD
• 17th C
• 19th C
• 1980s >
Jewish writers shape Genesis 1 & 2:
creation stories tell their history
Christian writers reshape stories
to make Jesus central
Theologians: Life starts at evening
on Saturday, October 22, 4004 BC.
(Bishop Ussher of Armitage, Ireland)
European Scholars Search for
historical Jesus as a man
Jesus Seminar: Jesus vs myths
Knowledge Leads to Change
• Various religious emphases—focus on God, Jesus, Mary
• Languages—clearer meaning
• Archaeology—great finds
• History—view of time determines expectations
• Methodology—questions determine answers
– Scientific approach: great advances in 19th C
Victorians on Time/Change/Faith
• Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1842)
• Matthew Arnold (1849)
• Thomas Hardy (1890s-1900)
• William Butler Yeats (1919)
Causes/Types of Change
• Great people (Carlyle)
• Progression of events/ scientific principles
(Tennyson and Buckle/Green)
• Cyclical (Arnold and Yeats)
• The gods (Hardy)
Turning to the Poets
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-92)
•Locksley Hall (1842) – Faith in future
•Ulysses (1842)- Life of action
Locksley Hall (1842)
• Jilted by Amy, who married a loutish wealthy
lord, the poem seeks then rejects solace in
– Nature
– Escape to an island paradise
• Has faith and hope in an orderly progression
of events
Locksley Hall (continued-1)
For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;
Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight dropping down with costly bales;
Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain'd a ghastly dew
From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue;
Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm,
With the standards of the peoples plunging thro' the thunder-storm;
Till the war-drum throbb'd no longer, and the battle-flags were furl'd
In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.
There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.
Locksley Hall (continued -2)
So I triumph'd ere my passion sweeping thro' me left me dry,
Left me with the palsied heart, and left me with the jaundiced eye;
Eye, to which all order festers, all things here are out of joint:
Science moves, but slowly, slowly, creeping on from point to point:
Slowly comes a hungry people, as a lion, creeping nigher,
Glares at one that nods and winks behind a slowly-dying fire.
Yet I doubt not thro' the ages one increasing purpose runs,
And the thoughts of men are widen'd with the process of the suns.
What is that to him that reaps not harvest of his youthful joys,
Tho' the deep heart of existence beat for ever like a boy's?
Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and I linger on the shore,
And the individual withers, and the world is more and more.
Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and he bears a laden breast,
Full of sad experience, moving toward the stillness of his rest.
Locksley Hall (continued – 3)
The poet rejects escaping to the Orient and places his faith
in the Mother-Age
Mated with a squalid savage—what to me were sun or clime?
I the heir of all the ages, in the foremost files of time—
I that rather held it better men should perish one by one,
Than that earth should stand at gaze like Joshua's moon in Ajalon!
Not in vain the distance beacons. Forward, forward let us range,
Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change.
Thro' the shadow of the globe we sweep into the younger day;
Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay.
Mother-Age (for mine I knew not) help me as when life begun:
Rift the hills, and roll the waters, flash the lightnings, weigh the Sun.
O, I see the crescent promise of my spirit hath not set.
Ancient founts of inspiration well thro' all my fancy yet.
Howsoever these things be, a long farewell to Locksley Hall!
Ulysses (1842)
• The hero, away at the Trojan Wars, etc. for 20
years, returns to his wife and son.
• Restless with the tame world “that knows not
me,” Ulysses sets out with his men “to sail
beyond the sunset…until I die.”
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees….
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
….Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset,
….Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Next Week: Science and Industry
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