victorian intro

The Victorian Period (1833-1901)
A Period of Progress and Decline
Named for Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
An age of reform – economy improved, expansion occurred
Bad conditions in factories became more and more apparent
"All art is at once surface and
symbol. Those who go
beneath the surface do so at
their own peril. Those who
read the symbol do so at their
own peril."--by Oscar Wilde
A method of obtaining and
controlling other countries in order to
increase the size of empires
 British saw themselves as superior
to all other cultures, and that these
non western countries needed
 Done to increase $ in England
 Takeover included Hong Kong,
India, Suez Canal, and Africa
Literature of the Victorian Era
Romanticism still influenced
Victorians, but was much more
Focused more on realism – ordinary
people facing tough day to day issues
HUGE growth in the novel form…
Victorian Literature
The Period is often divided into two parts: the
early Victorian Period (ending around 1870) and
the late Victorian Period.
Writers associated with the early period are:
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), Robert
Browning (1812-1889), Elizabeth Barrett
Browning (1806-1861), Emily Bronte (18181848), Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), Dante
Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), Christina Rossetti
(1830-1894), George Eliot (1819-1880), and
Charles Dickens (1812-1870).
Victorian Literature
Writers associated with the late Victorian
Period include: Oscar Wilde (1856-1900),
A.E. Housman (1859-1936), Thomas
Hardy (1840-1928), Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936), A.E. Housman (1859-1936),
and Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894).
*While Tennyson and Browning represented pillars
in Victorian poetry, Dickens and Eliot contributed to
the development of the English novel.
Poetry of the Victorians
Alfred Lord Tennyson – most popular poet of the era
• Became poet laureate after Wordsworth’s death in
The Brownings – Robert and Elizabeth Barrett
• Married – Elizabeth was more famous at their time of
marriage – well known for love sonnets to her husband
A.E. Housman – frequent subject was life’s
Drama and Fiction
Dramas were few in beginning of the period, b/c government
had restricted theatre before 1843
• One of the most famous of this period was Oscar Wilde’s The
Importance of Being Earnest (1895)
A large amount of fiction during the time was published in
weekly and monthly magazines, readers would buy
magazines to read next installment
Fiction Authors
George Eliot
• Actually Mary Ann Evans, writing under a male pseudonym. Writes
among others, Middlemarch and Silas Marner
Bronte sisters – Emily, Charlotte and Anne
• Emily – Wuthering Heights
• Charlotte – Jane Eyre
Charles Dickens
• Wrote David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Hard Times, etc…
Traits of the Victorian Novel…
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
focus on improving your situation
with a central moral lesson at heart.)
Literary topics:
• (Class “warfare” and manners)
Industrialization and concerns
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