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V ictorian L iterature

V ictorian L iterature. (1830-1899). Queen Victoria. Windsor Castle in Modern Times : Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and Victoria, Princess Royal Sir Edwin Landseer 1841-1845. Scholarly Commentary

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V ictorian L iterature

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  1. Victorian Literature (1830-1899)

  2. Queen Victoria Windsor Castle in Modern Times: Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and Victoria, Princess Royal Sir Edwin Landseer 1841-1845 Scholarly Commentary This painting exemplifies the mid-Victorian attraction to glossy images of domestic bliss. This particular work exposes the tension inherent in Victoria's role as Queen, and the conventional duties of wife and mother in nineteenth-century Britain.

  3. Queen Victoria (1819 -1901) • Born at Kensington Palace on May 24, 1819– only child of Edward, Duke of Kent, the fourth son of George III • Became queen at the age of 18 on the death of her uncle, William IV • In 1840, married a German prince, Albert (Prince-consort). After he died in 1861, she sank into a deep depression and wore black every day for the rest of her life. They had nine children • She was graceful and self-assured. She also had a gift for drawing and painting • Throughout her reign, she maintained a sense of dignity and decorum that restored the average person’s high opinion of the monarchy after a series of horrible, ineffective leaders • January 22, 1901:She died after a reign of 64 years – longest in British history

  4. Queen Victoria (1819 -1901) • Worked for the peace and prosperity of her country • Was able to keep at bay any conflict over constitutional matters • Reigned constitutionally avoiding the storm of revolutions • Played a more active role • Became a mediator above political parties • Model for her people: exemplary family life, strictly respectable and decent code of behaviour (Victorianism) • Beloved especially by the middle class who shared her moral and religious views

  5. Queen Victoria (1819 -1901)

  6. Queen Victoria (1819 -1901)

  7. Prince Albert (Prince-Consort) • Son of Duke Ernest of Coburg, Victoria’s maternal uncle – he and Victoria were first cousins, born the same year • Became Victoria’s closest advisor • As chancellor of Cambridge, he modernized the traditional classics-and-theology curriculum with science and technology. Arranged for the design and building of experimental houses to better serve working class families

  8. Prince Albert (Prince-Consort) • A serious patron of the arts, a composer and a painter, an architect and an educator • Organized and oversaw the Great Exhibition of 1851 -- the first World's Fair. • "Machinery, Science, and Taste…are of no country, but belong, as a whole, to the civilized world."

  9. Victorian Period • Enormous changes occurred in political and social life in England and the rest of the world • The scientific and technical innovations of the Industrial Revolution, • The emergence of modern nationalism, and the European colonization of much of Africa, the Middle East, and the Far East changed most of Europe • Far-reaching new ideas created the greatest outpouring of literary production the world has ever seen

  10. Victorian Period

  11. Historical Context : At Home • Britain was a model of industrial success, individual freedom and constitutional government • Upper and industrial middle-classes believed in a policy of “laissez-faire” i.e. non-interference with industry or with national economy in order to promote free trade and free competition (= Liberalism) • triumph of industry (steam engine, steamboats, shipbuilding, trains, iron industry) • scientific progress (electricity, telegraph, gas-lighting, stamp+postalsystem, medicine)

  12. Historical Context : At Home

  13. Historical Context : At Home

  14. Historical Context : At Home

  15. Historical Context: Imperialism • During the Victorian Age the British Empire reached its largest extension: it was called “the Empire where the sun never sets” • British Imperial power was sustained by: • Willingness to gain new territories • Willingness to protect British trade routes and interests against other nations; • Firm belief in the excellence of English culture and institutions

  16. Historical Context: Imperialism

  17. Historical Context: Imperialism

  18. Historical Context: Imperialism • During the Victorian age most British citizens believed in their right to an empire and thought that imperial expansion would absorb excess goods, capital and population • By the mid-1800s, England was the largest exporter and importer of goods in the world. It was the primary manufacturer of goods and the wealthiest country in the world • Because of England’s success, they felt it was their duty to bring English values, laws, customs, and religion to the “savage” races around the world. Colonial expansion was seen as a mission. It was “the white man’s burden”. • They were also extremely proud of their empire and of spreading their civilisation and culture to every corner of the globe (Jingoism=aggressive patriotism)

  19. Historical Context: Imperialism • But at the moment of its greatest power, Britain also discovered that every conquered area or land had new dangers to be controlled or stopped • Britain found itself involved in a contradiction between its imperial ambition and its liberal ideas • This contradiction would lead to the collapse of the British Empire in the 20th century.

  20. Historical Context: Imperialism 1853-1880: Over 2 million Britons emigrated to settle in British colonies – especially Canada and Australia 1839-42; 56-60: Opium Wars with China 1857: Parliament took over rule of India from East India Co. and set up a civil service government 1867: Canadian provinces united into Dominion of Canada 1876: Victoria declared Empress of India 1880s: The Irish question – Home Rule 1899-1902: Boer War in South Africa By 1890, the British Empire contained ¼ of the earth’s territory, and ¼ of the earth’s population.

  21. Historical Context: Imperialism • England grew to become the greatest nation on earth • Empire included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, Kenya, and India • England built a very large navy and merchant fleet (for trade and colonization)

  22. Historical Context: Important Events 1853 - 1880 Over 2 million Britons emigrated to settle in British colonies – especially Canada and Australia 1839 - 1842 Opium War against China 1853 - 1856 Crimean War 1857 Indian Mutiny Parliament took over rule of India from East India Co. and set up a civil service government 1877 Queen Victoria was named “Empress of India” 1899 - 1902 Boers’ War By 1890, the British Empire contained ¼ of the earth’s territory, and ¼ of the earth’s population.

  23. Socio-Cultural Context • Urbanization • Britain became a nation of town dwellers • Extraordinary industrial development • Overcrowding • Poverty – appalling living conditions in slums (squalor, disease, bad sanitation, crime, high death rate) • Terrible working conditions (polluted atmosphere, disatrous effects on health especially on children)

  24. Socio-Cultural Context: The Great Stink • This expression is used to describe the terrible smell in London, coming from the Thames. • The “Miasmas”, exhalations from decaying matter, poisoned the air.

  25. Socio-Cultural Context: Poverty • Poor families, with 4-5 children, lived in houses with 2-3 rooms and without a lavatory • The houses of the rich had water in the kitchen, gas lighting, flushing toilets and were decorated.

  26. Socio-Cultural Context: The Clubs • The clubs had their origin in the coffee houses, but they contributed to increase the difference between social classes. • In fact, only people belonging to high classes could be members of a club.

  27. Socio-Cultural Context • Material progress + wealth emerge from hard work • Appearance is very important • Respectability = a mixture of both morality and hypocrisy, severity and conformity to social standards • Philanthropy = charitable activity addressed to every kind of poverty • Victorian family = a patriarchal unit where the husband was dominant and the wife was the angel in the home

  28. Socio-Cultural Context • The fallen woman • Patriotism • Private life was separated from public behaviour • The Victorian Age was an age of misery, because the process of industrialization had a high social cost

  29. Socio-Cultural Context: Contrasts • On one side, there was PROSPERITY and MATERIAL SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS, ETHICAL CONFORMISM, MORALISM and PHILANTHROPY on the other side POVERTY, UGLINESS, CORRUPTION, INJUSTICE, MONEY and CAPITALISTIC GREEDINESS • This aroused the concern of more and more theorists and reformers who tried to improve living conditions at all levels, including hospitals, schools and prisons. • A Victorian Compromise • A set code of moral values that explained the general tendency to be excessively puritanical and to avoid taking definite positions

  30. Socio-Cultural Context: Frame of Mind • Contained a lot of contradictions caused among other things by the influence of new philosophical trends, religious movements, economic theories and scientific discoveries of the period: • Evangelicalism = good moral Christian conduct • Utilitarianism = only what is useful is good, any problem could be overcome through reason • Evolutionism = theory of evolution of species governed by natural selection and struggle for survival • Determinism = theory which denies human freedom of action, everything is strictly governed by cause and effect

  31. Socio-Cultural Context: Frame of Mind • A Victorian Compromise • A set code of moral values that explained the general tendency to be excessively puritanical and to avoid taking definite positions • People tried to live up to a national spirit of earnestness, respectability, modesty and domesticity. • Common sense and moral propriety, which were ignored by the Romanticists, again became the predominant preoccupation in literary works.

  32. Political Reforms 1832: The Reform Bill extended voting rights to all males owning property worth £10 in annual rent – lower middle classes 1838-48: Chartist Movement “People’s Charter” advocated universal suffrage, secret ballots and legislative reforms 1867: Second Reform Bill: extended right to vote to some of working class 1870-1908: Married Women’s Property Acts – granted women the right to own property –”women were legally recognized as individuals in their own right for the first time in history.”

  33. Political Reforms 1834: Poor Law-Amendment applied a system of workhouses for poor people 1871: Trade Union Act-made it legal for laborers to organize to protect their rights

  34. Social Reforms 1846: Repeal of Corn Laws – elimination of tax on grains – Free trade 1833-78: Factory Acts – restricted child labor, limited work hours, required public education. Abolished slavery/Factory Act-regulated child labor in factories 1834: Poor Law-Amendment applied a system of workhouses for poor people 1857: Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act 1848: Establishment of first Women’s College in London. By the end of Victoria’s reign, women could get degrees at 12 universities and study at Oxford and Cambridge

  35. Technological Advancements 1830: Liverpool and Manchester RR – first public steam railway in the world • Steam ships • Telegraph -- intercontinental cables • Photography • High speed printing • Cast iron for building • Anesthetics – Ether • Others

  36. Science • All accredited geologists agreed that the earth was millions of years old, that strata were layers from different times and that Genesis was incompatible with the findings of modern geology or irrelevant. Many discoveries about dinosaurs throughout the 19th • Astronomy: new planetary and cosmic discoveries • Charles Darwin (1809-82) & Darwinism • Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-95): Huxley advocated broad primary school instruction: reading, writing, arithmetic, art, science, and music.

  37. Religion 1829: Catholic Relief Act – granted Catholics the same political rights as Protestants 1835: Jews are granted the right to vote • 1857: Sir David Salomons elected Lord Mayor of London • 1868: Benjamin Disraeli, a convert to Anglicanism, becomes Prime Minister • The Church of England • Low Church – evangelical, highly individual, abolitionists, Puritanical (Christian Right ) • Broad Church – open to modern advances in science, emphasized inclusion ( Liberals ) • High Church – emphasized tradition, ritual and authority – the Oxford Movement – resistant to liberal ideas (Conservatives)

  38. Religion Evangelical Movement It emphasized a Protestant faith in personal salvation through Christ. This movement swept through England. Led to the creation of the Salvation Army and YMCA. Oxford Movement (Tractarians) It sought to bring the official English Anglican Church closer in rituals and beliefs to Roman Catholicism

  39. Philosophy/Ideology: Utilitarianism John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) A philosopher who introduced two important ideas • Utilitarianism: the object of moral action was to bring about the greatest good for the greatest amount of people • Liberalism: governments had the right to restrict the actions of individuals only when those actions harmed others, and that society should use its collective resources to provide for the basic welfare of others. Also encouraged equal rights for women

  40. Philosophy/Ideology: Utilitarianism • Philosophical Radicalism • All humans seek to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. • Idea of Morality – that which provides the greatest pleasure to the greatest number • Religion – outmoded superstition • Fails to provide for spiritual needs • Attacked by: • Carlyle, Sartor, Resartus (1833-34) • Dickens, Hard Times (1854) • Ruskin, Unto This Last (1860) • John Stuart Mill, Autobiography ( 1873)

  41. Philosophy/Ideology: Marxism • Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. “A theory in which class struggle is a central element in the analysis of social change in Western societies.” • Friedrich Engels • 1844: The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 • 1884: The Origin of the Family Private Property and the State • Karl Marx • 1867-94: Das Kapital • 1848: Co-authored The Communist Manifesto

  42. Philosophy/Ideology: Others Charles Lyell (1797-1875) Showed that geological features on Earth had developed continuously and slowly over immense periods of time Charles Darwin (1809-1882) He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.

  43. Philosophy/Ideology: Others Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) Applied Darwinism to human society: as in nature, survival properly belongs to the fittest, those most able to survive. Social Darwinism was used by many Victorians to justify social inequalities based on race, social or economic class, or gender

  44. Important Aspects of The Victorian Age • Industrial Revolution: The Industrial Revolution started with the introduction of capitalism. • Scientific & Technological Advancement: Introduction of steam hammers, locomotives, Darwinism etc. • Economic Progress: Britain was the first economical power in the world till 1901, as the USA became the leader, but it remained the first in manufacturing.

  45. Victorian Literature • Victorian literature roughly coincides with the reign of Queen Victoria from 1836 to 1901. The period has been regarded as one of the most glorious in English History. • Literature produced during this period reflects the “spirit of the times”: • The summit of Victorian literature is realistic novel. Victorian literature (especially novels) offered a realistic, day-to-day portrayal of social life and represented these issues in the stories of the characters. The representative writers include: Dickens, Thackeray, the Bronte sisters, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy.

  46. Victorian Literature • The novel became the dominant form of literature. They were commonly read aloud in family gatherings. This led to novelists avoiding some topics which would be inappropriate for the entire family. • Readers wanted to be guided and enlightened by authors. • Much of Victorian literature has a positive, eager or earnest response to the innovations of life in the 19th century • Expansion of newspapers and periodicals led to ongoing debates about current political and social issues.

  47. Victorian Literature • Puritan morality of the early and mid Victorian period was reflected in the novels. In Victorian novels the society’s effects on individual are analyzed. • The once-silent female segment of society raised their voices. They could even appear onstage, acting in dramas (a privilege denied to them prior to this time). • Typical middle-class families read together in the evenings • wives or daughters read aloud to the rest of the household • Magazines containing serialized novels and poems • General literacy meant there was an enormous amount of printed material produced during the period • 97 percent of both sexes able to read by 1900

  48. Victorian Literature • 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.

  49. Victorian Literature • 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 life.

  50. Victorian Literature Illustrations • Helped unpracticed readers to follow the story. • 1875 wood engravings gave way to photogravure • 1880s photographs to replace hand-drawn works • Colored illustrations • hand-tinted at first, often by poor women and children working at home • chromolithography soon made colored reproductions of artwork possible. • British publishing • gradually transformed itself into a modern industry • worldwide distribution and influence. • Copies of The Times circulated in uncharted Africa • illustrations torn from magazines adorned bushmen's huts

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