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Introduction to Literature of the Xix Century

Introduction to Literature of the Xix Century

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Published by radgull
INTRODUCTION TO THE BRITISH LITERATURE IN THE 19TH CENTURY
INTRODUCTION TO THE BRITISH LITERATURE IN THE 19TH CENTURY

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Published by: radgull on Dec 20, 2009
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07/10/2013

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www.myplaceforenglish.blogspot.com ENGLISH PHILOLOGY STUDIES 
INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE OF THE XIX CENTURY 
 
Chronology.
 The literature in the XIX century is usually divided into two periods:Romanticism and the Victorian Time. There are to options to mark the beginning of 
Romanticism
:
From 1780 (American independence) till 1882 (Reform Bill whichwidened the franchise).
From 1789 (French Revolution) till 1850 (death of Wordsworth). The
Victorian Time
takes place starts around 1832/1850 and ends in1901 (with the death of Queen Victoria and the end of the Boer War).
 
Social panorama
 There was a general clime of dissatisfaction because:
 The Hannoverian Dynasty was very corrupted and extravagantand followed an autocratic system.
 There was an archaic excise system: the working class had topay this direct taxation on diary products to finance the warbetween England and France.
 The enclosures, by which the low classes (farmers, smallholders) were not allowed anymore to take their cattle tobreeze to communal fields. This situation provoked theemigration to industrial towns.
 There was no theatre going because Puritanism considered it areprehensible past time.
 The social gradations, which were similar to those of a feudalsystem, were very marked.But there were also improvements such us:
Relating to custom, the gentlemen were allowed to appear inpublic without wigs and ladies' dresses were allowed to outlinethe body.
In architecture and furniture, there was simplicity of lines.
 The discover of the steam power.WWW.MYPLACEFORENGLISH.BLOGSPOT.COM
 
www.myplaceforenglish.blogspot.com ENGLISH PHILOLOGY STUDIES
 The opening of New Worlds (with expeditions like those of  James Cook, who discovered Australia, Tasmania, the SandwichIslands...). These expeditions were important for themetallurgical industry, due to the need of nautical gear.
 The opening of canals, especially in the Midlands, improved thecommunication system (better postal system and dealt of periodicals; easier transmission of culture).
 The large-scale productions or big publishing like the atlases orthe Encyclopedia Britannica.
 The literary men were real men of letters, devoted to Literature:writing began to be a vocation.
Political panorama
 There was a clime of unrest and dissatisfaction due to:
o
 The French Revolution, which provoked confrontedopinions against and for in England.
o
 The Napoleonic Wars.But there were also improvements like:
o
 The Trade Unionism.
o
 The abolition of slave trade.
o
 The reform of the cruel penal system.
o
 The reduction of the hours of child labour.
o
 The creation of the Mechanics Institutes (in which workerscould get education after work).
o
 The Reform Bill.
o
 The Utilitarian School of Philosophy, based on the idea of “what is the use”, defended by Jeremy Bentham, JamesMill and John Stuart Mill: this school was only interestedon things of use, a kind of dealing with machines insteadof with humans.
o
 The socialist experiment of the Community of NewLanark, directed by Robert Owen: the idea was thatworkers needed to work in right conditions in order of WWW.MYPLACEFORENGLISH.BLOGSPOT.COM
 
www.myplaceforenglish.blogspot.com ENGLISH PHILOLOGY STUDIESgetting a bigger production and then the benefits wereshared between them.
Literary panorama
In the Renaissance, England had received its literary influence fromItaly. During the XVIII century, France was the model. In the XIXcentury the influence came from Germany.England found in Germany a theoretical basis to what had alreadybeen going on for years: it was a time of rebellion, tendency towardsbreaking the rules and the rejection of Classicism and conventions.Romanticism didn't begin in a sudden, but after a period of transition.It was born with poets of the XVIII century like Blake and McPherson(“Ossian Poems”; tendency towards Scandinavian mythology), but thepublishing of “The Lyrical Ballads” by Wordsworth (1798) isconsidered as the started point because the main characteristics of Romanticism are expressed in this poem. The first generation of poets (Wordsworth, Colleridge) were influencedby the French Revolution. The second generation (Shelley, Keats,Byron) were influenced by the battle of Waterloo in 1850 (defeat of Napoleon). Anyway, both generations are united by a common faith inpoetry.
General characteristics of Romanticism
o
Authors use the language or ordinary men and women, incontrast with the artificial and conventional language of the XVIII century.
o
Return to imagination, legend and human heart.
o
Poetry is more than a correct versification of philosophicaltruth as it had been in the previous century.
o
Imagination takes the place of reason.
o
 The poet regains the leadership.
o
 The poet is a guide, a prophet and a seer because he hasmore sensitivity than the rest.
o
 The poet is not a mere embellisher of everyday life, butthe one who gives life its meaning.
o
Poetry is not just a gentleman's hobby, but a vocation.WWW.MYPLACEFORENGLISH.BLOGSPOT.COM

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