Victorian Age Persuasive Essay

The Victorian Age 1832-1900 Even idleness is eager now, eager for amusement; prone to excursion-trains, artmuseums, periodical literature, and exciting novels. (George Eliot) General Info About the Time • 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
A Time of Change • London becomes most important city in Europe • Population of London expands from two million to six million • Shift from ownership of land to modern urban economy • Impact of industrialism • Increase in wealth • World’s foremost imperial power • Victorian people suffered from anxiety, a sense of being displaced persons in an age of technological advances. Queen Victoria (1819-1901) Reign: 1837-1901 • The longest reign in British history • Became queen at the age of 18; graceful and self-assured & had a gift for drawing and painting • Throughout her reign, she maintained a sense of dignity and decorum that estored the average person’s high opinion of the monarchy after a series of horrible, ineffective leaders • 1840-Victoria married a German prince, Albert, who became not king, but Prince-consort • After he died in 1861, she sank into a deep depression and wore black every day for the rest of her life The Growth of the British Empire • 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) • Imported raw materials such as cotton and silk nd exported finished goods to countries around the world • 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 The Early Victorian Period 1830-1848 • In 1830, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway opened, the first public railway line in the world. • By 1850, railway lines connected England’s major cities • By 1900 , England had 15,195 lines of railroad and an nderground rail system beneath London. • The train transformed England’s landscape, supported the growth of commerce, and shrank the distance between cities. The Industrial Revolution • Factory systems emerged • The shift in the English economy moved away from agriculture and toward the production of manufactured goods • Great Exhibition of 1851-Prince Alberthoused in the Crystal Palace (made of glass and iron) exhibited hydraulic presses, locomotives, machine tools, power looms, power reapers, and steamboat engines The Crystal Palace • Erected to display the exhibits of modern industry and science at the 1851 Great Exhibition One of the first buildings constructed according to modern architectural principles • The building symbolized Victorian industry the triumphs of Social and Political Reform • 1832-First Reform Act-extended the vote to most middle-class men • 1833-Britain abolished slavery/Factory Act-regulated child labor in factories • 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 The Reform Bill of 1832 • Transformed English class structure • Extended the right to vote to all males owning property • Second Reform Bill passed in 1867 Extended right to vote to working class The Time of Troubles 1830’s and 1840’s • • • • • Unemployment Poverty Rioting Slums in large cities Working conditions for women and children were terrible The Mid-Victorian Period 1848-1870 • A time of prosperity • A time of improvement • A time of stability • A time of optimism Religious Movement in Victorian England • Evangelical Movement: 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): sought to bring the official English Anglican Church closer n rituals and beliefs to Roman Catholicism Religious Debate • Evangelical movement emphasized spiritual transformation of the individual by conversion and a moral Christian life. • Their view of life was identical with Dissenters. • The High Church emphasized the importance of tradition, ritual, and authority • The Oxford Movement led by Newman • The Broad Church was open to modern ideas. Challenges to Religious Belief • Science – Huxley – Darwin- the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man • Higher Criticism – – – – Examination of the Bible as a mere text of history Source studies Geology Astronomy Thoughts… John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) – Utilitarianism: the object of moral action was to bring about the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. Utilitarianism failed to recognize people’s spiritual needs – 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 • Charles Lyell (1797-1875): Showed that geological features on Earth had developed continuously and slowly over immense periods of time •Charles Darwin (1809-1882):
Introduced the survival of the fittest theory • Adam Smith- 18th century economist, held that the best government economic policy was to leave the market alone—to follow a laissez faire or ? let it be? policy of little or no government intervention • 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 The Late Victorian Period 1870-1901 • • • • • • • • Decay of Victorian values British imperialism

Boer War Irish question Bismarck’s Germany became a rival power United States became a rival power Economic depression led to mass immigration Socialism The Role of Women • The Woman Question • Changing conditions of women’s work created by the Industrial Revolution • The Factory Acts (1802-78) – regulations of the conditions of labor in mines and factories • The Custody Act (1839) – gave a mother the right to petition the court for access to her minor children and custody of children under seven and later sixteen. • The Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act – established a civil divorce court • Married Women’s Property Acts
Educational Opportunities for Women • First women’s college established in 1848 in London. • By the end of Victoria’s reign, women could take degrees at twelve university colleges. Working Conditions for Women – Bad working conditions and underemployment drove thousands of women into prostitution. – The only occupation at which an unmarried middle-class woman could earn a living and maintain some claim to gentility was that of a governess. Victorian Women and the Home • Victorian society was preoccupied with the very nature of women. • Protected and enshrined within the home, her role was to create a place of eace where man could take refuge from the difficulties of modern life. Literacy, Publication, and Reading • By the end of the century, literacy was almost universal. • Compulsory national education required to the age of ten. • Due to technological advances, an explosion of things to read, including newspapers, periodicals, and books. • Growth of the periodical • Novels and short fiction were published in serial form. • The reading public expected literature to illuminate social problems. Literary Culture • Typical middle-class families read together in the evenings – wives or daughters read aloud to the rest of the ousehold • 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 The Golden Age • English novel – Most popular form – new books, especially fiction, were still a luxury – Publishers inflated prices • readers would rent novels and narrative poems • commercial circulating libraries • larger and steadier income than individual sales • Also popular: – Poetry – serious nonfiction – ? Improving? works on: • Religion • Science • Philosophy • economics. Visual Aid 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 Reader’s Taste • Readers’ tastes varied according to: – class – income – education. • Upper-class The well-educated but unintellectual – small portion of the Victorian reading public. • Working-class – literacy rates • far below the general standard – increased as » working hours diminished » housing improved » public libraries spread. Working-class Tastes The appetite for cheap literature steadily grew • religious tracts • self-help manuals • reprints of classics • newspapers • sensational entertainment: – “penny dreadfuls? • Varney the Vampire – ? shilling shockers” • serials, • bawdy ballads • police reports of lurid crimes The Middle Class • largest audience for new prose and poetry • produced the authors to meet an ncreasing demand for books: – Edify – Instruct – entertain Serialization • 1860s most novels were serialized in weekly or monthly magazines • allowed for an author to alter the shape of his narrative based on public response to earlier installments. • Later changed to Three volume works • publishers and libraries required authors to produce “three deckers? , • ” long novels packaged in three separate volumes that tripled rental fees Victorian Drama • More prominent in the ? late? (1871-1901) period • European drama is very heavy and serious – Chekhov – Ibsen • English drama is lighter – Gilbert & Sullivan – Oscar Wilde
Literary Responsibility Close relationship authors shared with their public had its drawbacks: • writers had to censor their content • meet the prim standards of “circulating library morality. ” • Any hint of impropriety was aggressively ferreted out by publishers and libraries. – Even revered poets such as Tennyson and Barrett Browning found themselves edited by squeamish publishers. • The abuses of the past came under closer scrutiny – literature becomes the vehicle that helps to reform social inequalities. • period was a time of sustained peace – domestic issues could be addressed. Victorian Literature • Four types of writing were opular during the Victorian Era: – Realist – Naturalist – The Novel – Poetry Realism • The attempt to produce in art and literature an accurate portrayal of reality • Realistic, detailed descriptions of everyday life, and of its darker aspects, appealed to many readers disillusioned by the ?progress? going on around them. • Themes in Realist writing included families, religion, and social reform Naturalism • Based on the philosophical theory that actions and events are the results not of human intentions, but of largely uncontrollable external forces • Authors chose subjects and themes common to the lower and middle classes Attentive to details, striving for accuracy and authenticity in their descriptions The Novel • Major authors: – Dickens – Brontes – George Eliot – Thomas Hardy Emily Bronte • Considered a ? woman’s genre? – Female protagonists – Large female audience Charlotte Bronte • Most novels serialized Charles Dickens • The novel was the dominant form in Victorian literature. • Victorian novels seek to represent a large and comprehensive social world, with a variety of classes. • Victorian novels are realistic. • Major theme is the place of the individual in society, the aspiration of the hero or heroine for love or social position. The protagonist’s search for fulfillment is emblematic of the human condition. • For the first time, women were major writers: the Brontes. Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot. • The Victorian novel was a principal form of entertainment. Poetry • Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892): Most popular Victorian poet. He wrote narrative poems • Robert Browning (1812-1889): raised the dramatic monologue to new heights— making it a vehicle for deep psychological probing and character study • Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861): with Robert, one of literature’s greatest love affairs. Wrote love sonnets valued for their lyric beauty
Victorian Poetry • A reaction to, as well as a subdued continuation of Romanticism • Passion is more tempered, more ? grownup? • Perfection of the dramatic persona, in which the author speaks to the reader in another’s voice – Sought to represent psychology in new ways. • • • • • • • • • 1848: 1850: 1851: 1860: 1876: 1877: 1886: 1888: 1901: Women begin attending University of London Life Insurance introduced Gold discovered Florence Nightingale founds school for nurses Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone Thomas Alva Edison patents the phonograph Wimbledon opens Jack the Ripper stalks London’s East End Queen Victoria dies

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