The Victorian Age

(a Second Wave of Romanticism)

and Fin de siecle

Historical Background
• • • • New material developments Advancement in commerce—growth of markets, new mechanical devices Great Exhibition—1851, era of prosperity Evils of Industrial Revoln—slums, exploitation of labour (esp. children) Painful fight of the enlightened few for social reform

Historical Background
Intellectual developments • Impatience with new ideas on the one hand; numerous intellectual activities on the other • Science & religion—Darwin (Origin of Species 1859) • Socio-pol. theory—Herbert Spencer, JS Mill (utilitarianism—Bentham, grtst happiness of the grtst number, ‘poetry is misreprnsn)

Literary Features
• Morality, propriety—revolt against the grossness of the earlier age, deference to convention (Tennyson and Dickens best examples) • Revolt against convention (Carlyle, Arnold, Thackeray, Browning). Strengthened with age: Pre-Raphaelites (no morality except the author’s regard for his art)

Arnold’s meditative poetry & Carlyle • New religious and ethical thought — Oxford Movement (Newman) — marked widespread discontent with Church of England . politics — scepticism in In Memoriam.Literary Features • New ideas in science. religion.

Italian (Browning. cheap printing and paper—demand for the novel • International influences—AmericanBritish writers’ interaction. Arnold).Literary Features • Education—compulsory. German influence (Carlyle. Meredith) . enormous reading public. Swinburne. Morris.

Alfred Tennyson • • • • Early poems—Timbuctoo The Lady of Shalott. The Lotos-Eaters Morte d’Arthur. Locksley Hall The Princess—theme of the ‘new’ woman (ladies’ academy & a mutinously intellectual princess at the head) • In Memoriam (1850)—long series of meditations on life & death • Maud . Ulysses.

supposedly drowned. returns to find wife married. regretfully retires without making himself known •Drama in later years (e.g. discontent with the artifices of his time . Becket) Later poems—sharper tone.Alfred Tennyson •Idylls of the King—tales of King Arthur and the Round Table •Enoch Arden—seaman.

Tennyson’s Style • Subject—earlier. content to mirror the feelings / aspirations of the time • Craft—Great care and skill. Ornate description. No deep thinker. later ethical interest. sumptuous imagery (created a lovely image by carefully amassing detail) . Mix of sound and sense (great musical quality) • Keatsian descriptive power. pictorial effect. lyric and legendary narrative.

influence of Shelley • Paracelsus — hero’s unquenchable thirst for that breadth of knowledge which is beyond the grasp of one man – Browning’s predominant ideas: life without love a failure. more than human conjecture.Robert Browning • Pauline — introspective poem. is behind everything . God’s will.

Rabbi Ben Ezra.Robert Browning • Strafford—play • Sordello—obscure—relationship between art and life (hero a Mantuan troubadour) • Bells & Pomegranates – poems & plays includg Pippa Passes (play) • Group of dramatic poems where he perfected the dramatic monologue – Men & Women. Caliban Upon Setebos. Andrea del Sarto. Abt Vogler . Dramatis Personae – Fra Lippo Lippi.

. though right were worsted. wrong would triumph. Never doubted clouds would break. Sleep to wake. Held we fall to rise. Never dreamed.Robert Browning • The Ring & the Book—discursive story of the murder of a young wife Pompilia by her worthless husband. are baffled to fight better. told by nine different people • Asolando – last work One who never turned his back but marched breast forward.

sometimes rugged. noble dignity & verbal music • Variety of metrical forms • Cleverly manipulated rhythmic effects • Didn’t care for beauty of description for its own sake. angular style • At its best.Browning’s Style • Obscurity. beauty of expression often captured in a single image .

Elizabeth Barrett Browning • Woman of acute sensibilities • Fervent supporter of noble causes (like Italian independence) – – – – Prometheus Bound The Seraphim & Other Poems Sonnets from the Portuguese Aurora Leigh .

stoicism. spiritual emptiness • Apostle of sanity & culture . not of high quality • Classical themes in meditative & even melancholy cast (this is a modernist strain) • Alienation. Thomas Arnold (poem Rugby Chapel) • Poems not numerous. despair.Matthew Arnold • Son of the famous headmaster of Rugby School.

Dover Beach. Scholar Gipsy • Poetic dramas – Empedocles on Etna. Merope • Narrative poems – Tristram & Iseult. The Forsaken Merman.Arnold: Poetry • Lyrics – Marguerite poems. Sohrab & Rustum • Elegies – Thyrsis. Scholar Gipsy .

cosmopolitan view of European literature as a basis for comparative judgements • Attacks provincialism & lack of real knowledge • Develops idea of criticism as a disinterested & flexible mode of thought that has application outside literature .Matthew Arnold: Prose • Prose—critical essays—are of greater value • Essays in Criticism – best prose (includes The Function of Criticism at the Present Time) • Advocates a broad.

Culture as “pursuit of perfection. the other powerless to be born.” “getting to know . the best which has been thought and said in the world”) – Literature & Dogma “Wandering between two worlds.” . . One dead. .Matthew Arnold: Prose • Wrote freely on theological & political themes – Culture & Anarchy (consideration of the dilemmas of English society.

) – wrote too much over wide variety of topics.Other Poets • Edward Fitzgerald – best-known for translation of the Rubaiyats of Persian poet Omar Khayyam • Arthur Hugh Clough – poems charged with the deep-seated despair & despondency of Arnold’s works • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Am. general standard low • Whitman .

simplicity & spirit of devotion of Italian painting before Raphael & Italian Renaissance • Others – Ch. William Morris. Swinburne • DG Rossetti’s poem “The Blessed Damozel” Medievalism Pictorial realism & Symbolic overtones Union of flesh & spirit Sensuousness & religiousness • Robert Buchanan: “Fleshly School of Poetry” – – – – . W.Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood • 1848—painter poets like D. H. G. Hunt & John Millais formed PRB • To return to the truthfulness. Rossetti. Rossetti.

then Hablot K. Browne – Phiz) – Boz-Phiz tie up. explains Dickens’s caricatures – Enormous popularity • Oliver Twist (1837.Charles Dickens • • • • • early reading interest in theatre family’s poor financial conditions Sketches by Boz — series about London life First novel The Pickwick Papers serialized (1836) (illustrator: Seymour. serialized in Bentley’s Magazine) • Nicholas Nickleby (1838) .

Charles Dickens • • • • • • • • Master Humphrey’s Clock The Old Curiosity Shop Barnaby Rudge (historical) American Notes & Martin Chuzzlewit (unpopular in US) Christmas Carol Dombey & Son (Autobiography of a Steam Engine) David Copperfield (after this. Great Expectations. decline in his art) Bleak House. A Tale of Two Cities. Little Dorrit. The Mystery of Edwin Drood . Hard Times. Our Mutual Friend.

hasty & ill-considered work – staginess of plot. Workhouses—Oliver T • New manufacturing system—Hard Times • Court of Chancery—Bleak House – Spread of benevolence rather than politicl upheaval – Contrived poetic justice – Exaggerated characters like the Gradgrinds .• Popularity Dickens’ : Features of Novels – large number of novels. unreality of characters. loose style – yet rich & enduring tales • Social Reform – no systematic social or political theory – aroused public interest in contemporary evils • Boarding schools—Nicholas N.

• Imagination – Multiplicity of characters & situations – Lower & middle classes esp. creative humour • Not subtle humour. in & around London • Humour & pathos – Broad. Sometimes boisterous • Satire sometimes develops into burlesque – Pathos often cheap & third-rate • Depended on devices such as elaborate descriptions of the death of children • Described the horrible as in the death of Bill Sykes • Painfully melodramatic as in Madame Defarge • Mannerisms – Flat characters representing one mood or one phrase • Uriah Heep (’umble) • Barkis (willing) . humane.

adventures of Becky Sharp) • The Yellowplush Correspondence William Makepeace Thackeray • The Book of Snobs (Snobs Thackeray’s pet abhorrence) • Fitzboodle Papers (biting observations of human weakness) • The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon (picaresque novel) • Pendennis (partly autobiographical. The Virginians (sequel to Henry Esmond) • Poetry . The Newcomes. satire.• Born in Calcutta • Contributions to Punch & Frazer’s Magazine • Vanity Fair (satire. moralizing) • Henry Esmond (historical).

William Makepeace Thackeray • Debt to Fielding • Early neglect. as Fielding • Reacting against popular novel of the day. against romanticizing of rogues – Adopted Fielding’s method – To view his characters steadily & fearlessly – To record their failures as well as merits – Characters rounded but no flattery (clever people are rogues. virtuous are fools) • Humour & Pathos – Sneering cynicism. genius blossomed slowly. satire potent method of revealing truth – Quiet & effective pathos. seldom sentimental . esp.

Ellis. no humour The wonder & beauty of the romantic world .Brontes • Charlotte. Villette Plots largely restricted to author’s own experiences High seriousness. improbable plot – Main characters conceived deeply • • • • Shirley. vital heroine told with frankness – Weak. Emily. Acton Bell) Charlotte Bronte • 1st novel: The Professor • Jane Eyre – Love story of the plain. Anne (Currer.

desolate moors Chief characters conceived in gigantic proportions Passions have an elemental. unflinching realism • Poems – No Coward Soul is Mine – Cold in the earth. poetic force Series of climaxes. and the deep snow piled above thee Anne Bronte • Agnes Grey • The Tenant of Windfell Hall .Emily Bronte • Wuthering Heights (1847) – – – – The very spirit of the wild. sustained intensity of the novel carried to unbelievable peaks of passion – Stark.

Eliot & Meredith) . imagination.Brontes: Their Importance • The romantic movement in poetry felt in the novel • as against the detached observation of Jane Austen • Brontes painted sufferings of the individual • New conception of the heroine as a woman of vital strength & passionate feelings • Emotion. intellect • Poetic language. lyrical tone • Concern with human soul (later followed by G.

S. Mill and other liberals • Life-partnership with George Henry Lewes (so morally defensive??) .George Eliot • Mary Ann Evans • Serious moralist – – – – duty is the supreme law of life humble life is interesting and exalted daily choices have moral significance there is no escape from reward / punishment due to one’s action) • Association with Herbert Spencer. J.

but typical. under the same universal moral law .George Eliot • Early novels fresh – 1st Adam Bede – Scenes of Clerical Life • Later turned to “scientific” and conscious art – Romola (historical) – Felix Holt (social revolt) – Daniel Deronda (Hebrew race) • Later successes – Mill on the Floss – Silas Marner • Characters not individual.

“Novels of Character and Environment” • Emphasis on impersonal & negative power of Fate over working class people .Thomas Hardy • Trained as architect • Problematic religiosity (agnostic and belief in ‘absence’ of God?) • Novels set in “partly real. real newspaper events used as detail • Himself called his finest novels. partly dream” county of Wessex • The epoch just before the railways and industrial revolution • Pessimistic and bitterly ironic tone • Eye for poignant detail.

finally marries Gabriel Oak) • The Return of the Native (Clym Yeobright returns from Paris to Egdon Heath.• Desperate Remedies. marries wrong person. and drowns). social commentary. failure and ambition themes . A Pair of Blue Eyes • 1st success: Far From the Madding Crowd (Wessex. not tragic. tragedies) – modernist elements: nature/society battle (Eustacia wants to leave the Heath. defy Fate. Bathsheba Everdene tries to manage farm herself. marries Eustacia Vye. Under the Greenwood Tree (Wessex). title from Gray’s Elegy.

Themes -class. religion. The Life and Death of a Man of Character. drunkard Michael Henchard auctions off his wife and daughter. marriage.• The Mayor of Casterbridge (tragedy. decline in fortunes) • The Woodlanders • Tess of the d’Urbervilles (controversial for it challenged the sexual mores of the day) • Jude the Obscure (Jude a lower-class young man dreams of becoming a scholar. 18 yrs later he is Mayor. scholarship. reunited with wife and “daughter” who falls in love with Donald Farfrae. and the modernization of thought and society) . Wessex.

she goes to work again as a day laborer on other farms. claiming to be a reformed sinner and begging her to marry him. who is "a spiritualized image of Tess. eventually reaching Stonehenge. has been in Brazil. John Durbeyfield. a black flag ascends a flagpole. he returns to England to find Tess and renew their love. Tess knows he perceives her as an innocent country maiden but. Angel tells Tess he will come to her if he decides he can endure living with her. finally consummating their marriage while hiding in a guest house. sends Angel away. In Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Teresa "Tess" Durbeyfield.Tess of the d’Urbervilles • The title character is a beautiful country girl. she agrees to the marriage. in despair. and bears a child whom she names "Sorrow. my very self!" he declares "The woman I have been loving is not you" but "another woman in your shape. learns that he is descended from a medieval noble family. John Durbeyfield dies. At this point. against Alec's wishes. At length. Spied by the cleaning woman. she takes a job at a dairy forty miles away." The baby. During a chance encounter with an amateur genealogist (the local parson). they fall in love. material longing and family betrayal. Although the two are from different social classes." At this stage. When she protests "I thought you loved me. and attracts the unwanted attentions of the playboy son of the household. Tess briefly returns to her family. Hardy manages to suggest the ambiguities of time and change and divine power versus human reason. forced to travel the countryside with all their possessions searching for lodgings and employment. weeping. beautifully dressed but miserable. lonely existence. having appended the ancient name to their real surname of "Stoke" to create the illusion of "old" connections). 'Liza-'Lu. thinking her "offense" to be exactly the same as his. performing backbreaking field work all winter and waiting for Angel to relent. Alec d'Urberville. however. and goes back to her room. Here. after Angel asks forgiveness for a past sexual indiscretion of his own. Tess's father. During these months. finding this unbearable. The two separate a few days later. freeing Tess to make a new start. Tess meets Angel Clare. When Alec scoffs at her misery and insults her husband. through the central themes of sex. but. Alec d'Urberville re-enters her life. The elder Durbeyfields. then forms the wild hope that the murder will somehow purify her in Angel's eyes. the virtuous younger son of a minister. afraid of losing his love and admiration. they are forced to move on. finds it extraordinarily difficult to tell him her secret. While employed as a milkmaid." Soon after. After much thought. Angel is completely unable to reconcile his love for Tess with his changed perception of her. signalling the completion of Tess's execution. She returns home shortly afterward. She goes after him and they flee together. as Angel and 'Liza-'Lu watch outside the walls of a prison. To her horror. the police arrive to make their arrest. On the wedding night. looking for a way to wring an advantage from their illustrious ancestry. the daughter of uneducated (and rather shiftless) peasants. • • • • • • • . In hopes of leaving her disgrace behind. The family then loses the lease on their cottage and is made homeless. Angel Clare. she stabs him to death. Tess begins working at the d'Urberville house. Tess rebuffs him with loathing and continues her difficult. He discovers her living in a seaside hotel with Alec d'Urberville. meanwhile. soon dies. In the last scene. certain he has been deceived by an artful hussy. the d'Urbervilles. Tess. decide to send a very reluctant Tess to "claim kin" with the local nouveau-riche d'Urberville family (who in fact have no connection to the original d'Urbervilles. In a rape or seduction (the scene is open to interpretation). where a disease nearly kills him. she finally finds the courage to make her confession. Angel is so deeply mortified that his attitude toward her changes completely. In the spring. Tess becomes pregnant. class perceptions. Tess asks Angel to take care of her younger sister. and Angel repeatedly urges Tess to marry him. Alec d'Urberville re-appears and a desperate Tess finally agrees to become his mistress so that she can support her family.

Drummer Hodge. related specific historical conflicts to a wider historical scheme. The Man He Killed . esp.• Wessex Poems • Poems about Emma (guilt at his neglect of his wife) • War poems (second Boer War 1899-1902. no clearcut opinion of war. and First World War). diversity of attitude. in The Dynasts (epic closet drama of the Napoleonic Wars) – The Going of the Battery.

Hardy: Modernism • • • • • • • • Class-inflected. pessimism. skeptical. closure Unusual distortion and simplification characteristic of expressionism Tendency to mix sharply contrsting artistic modes in a single work . self-implicating tendencies Highly ambiguous language Resistance to conventional attitudes Insistence on the possibility of achieving a defiant freedom to choose and refuse Doubt. intellectual crisis Denial of resolution.

Prose Writers .

Johnson. Goldsmith. Addison. Bacon.Macaulay • Writing for recreation • Balladic poems • French and English history – History of England • No accuracy of fact • Immensely pleasurable style • Essays on Bunyan. Byron • One-sided criticism • Brilliant style and wealth of allusion .

heroism as a matter of power. Priest (Luther. King (Cromwell. Poet (Dante. friendship with Emerson • Time of industrial revolution.Carlyle • Scottish. poetry. not materialistic view of the world • Heroes and Hero Worship – Leaders in religion. not of physical or moral courage • The French Revolution – Not historical in the modern sense. Rousseau. war and politics—Divinity (Odin). Napoleon) – development of human intellect – History as the biography of a few heroes. Burns). Shakespeare). German influence • Connections in the US. Prophet (Mahomet). pictorial and dramatic . but transcendental. Knox). Man of Letters (Johnson.

and faith-systems.• Sartor Resartus – tailor repatched – commentary on the thought and life of a German philosopher Teufelsdröckh. serious and satirical. Ironically metafictional. . • Where can one find truth? The imaginary "Philosophy of Clothes" -.meaning is to be derived from phenomena. as cultures reconstruct themselves in changing fashions. author of ‘Clothes: their Origin and Influence. power-structures. continually shifting over history.’ • Simultaneously factual and fictional. speculative and historical.

detailed plan to make a nation wealthy by increasing the health and happiness of human beings) • Sesame and Lilies (on books & womanly character) .Ruskin • Social reformer. but not very successful at that • Sensitiveness and sincerity • Art criticisms – Seven Lamps of Architecture – Modern Painters (Ruskin’s admiration of Turner) – Stones of Venice • Political economy – Unto This Last (political economy is merely commercial.

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