Term 1, II English A Lecturer Dr.

Daniela Davidescu Brown

COURSE ON VICTORIANISM UNITS 1- 2 GENERAL PRESENTATION OF 19TH C. BRITAIN

A. Introductory notes 1.‖ Any cultural period suffers distortion from a generalised indictment (accusation) however speciously formulated.‖ (Jerome Hamilton Buckley)

So, Victorianism makes no exception. No matter how many studies have been written by who knows how many specialists, half true, half idealised perspectives on the 19th c. cultural period in Great Britain mingle in various degrees.

2. The aim of this course: An attempt to offer you a general themathic presntation of a complex controversial period of British culture which is mainly associated with the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901)

religious fragmetations.Christian morality that put a stress on the virtues of family responsibility and happiness. Social cultural context of the 19th c Britain a.obedience to the law .the idea of honesty.a.Empress of India./ The influence of Queen Victoria (1837-1901)./ The course will try to explain the British literary phenomena within the larger context of British culture: 2Dealing with influences from previous periods. B. philosophical doctrines and artistic style.He was the patron of the arts. architecture and photography will be provided for the literary event to be better understood as a part of a whole range of thoughts and occurrences contained within Victorianism . c./ The course is not meant to go into deep analysis of a particular literary text ( the seminar will) b. dealing with socio historical events. She brought to the British monarchy such 19th-century ideals as: A devoted family life . public and private respectability. 1876.In 1813 she married Prince Albert ./ Examples from the painting. . In 1851 he patronized the Great Exibihion.

b. Australia./ Britain. the leader of the world (Afghanistan. the success of the middle class:  the invention of the telegraph— In 1837 by American F. Between the 1830s and 1880s." Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2000. India. the British were selfconfident in their economic and international political powers. Egypt. HongKong. but in the 1850s. B.the rotary printing press. © 1993-1999 Microsoft Corporation. (James Watt started it in 1769) 4photography.the first railway system in the world and the electric bulb.) c. Canada. Nigeria. All rights reserved. Morse and in Britain by the British physicist Sir Charles Wheatstone and engineer Sir William F./ The industrial revolution: environmental and technological changes. New Zealand. South Africaafter the 1890s).1  generalisation of steam power. . Cooke. THE VACUUM CLEANER 1"Telegraph. their illusion of peace and confidence was broken by:  the Indian Mutiny (1857-9)  the Crimean War (1853-6) (the British and the French helped the Ottoman Turks fight against Russia. Tibet.

/ Religious fragmentation and Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859) 2 Encyclopedia Britannica 2000 CD-Rom . the Cornhill Magazine g. e.‖ The British economist John Stuart Mill was responsible for bringing this philosophy into popular economic usage in his Principles of Political Economy –1848)2 f./ The free market was based by the doctrine of laissez-faire which gave complete freedom to capitalistic enterprise (―minimum governmental interference in the economic affairs of individual and society.d. The factory system and vigorous capitalism offered these newly risen classes a few small domestic comforts and cheaper mass products which mimicked the artistically made objects of the aristocracy. Westminster Review./ The rise of the middle-class and of the working class./ England. the stage of cultural debate  serialised novels  scientific and religious debates  mass literacy  modernisation of education  wide circulation of newspapers and magazines: the Edinburgh Review.

essays on the influence of consumption on production./ The utilitarian doctrine: Adam Smith.Thou shalt not kill.1776 treatise.1.At church on Sunday to attend Will serve to keep the world thy friend: 5. Jeremy Bentham and John Suart Mill  Adam Smith was the 1st to assume that progress is linked to national wealth.  John Stuart Mill: 1844—Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy. that is.No graven images may be Worshipped. The Wealth of Nations.  5Jeremy Benthans 1789 introduction to the principles of moral and legislators develops the prin.The Utilitarian Doctorine refers to the Capital Endevour to convince business as a progress business.the Judicaiary power – Parlament. all From whom advancement may befall: 6. who Would be at the expense of two? 2.Do not adultery commit.Honour thy parents. the definition of productive and unproductive labour.Thou shalt have one God only. .Swear not at all.It is possible for the right thing to be done for the wrong motive‖. Advantage rarely comes of it: h. 4.civilization.‖An action is right if it tends to promote happiness and wrong if it tends to produce the reverse of happiness. but needst not strive Officiously to keep alive: 7. and the precise relations between profits and wages. 3. except the currency. Which bring about individual contentment due to social checks and balancies. They allow for a system to limit it’s power by the presence of various types of power: The Executive Power -Government. for for thy curse Thine enemy is none the worse.

generalised literacy  the Factory Acts-1833-1878 eliminated child labour and overworking  Public Health Acts-1871-1875-some medical assistance to the poor) j. . plot and convincing characters D. especially for women  The decay of religious belief and the obsession of scientific materialism  Exploitation of children and women  Advantageous laws for the rich in the detriment of the poor  Unemployment and social pressure of the working class  In the world of the novel. mirrors and is mirrored by whatever happened in the 19 th c./ Social unrest (the Chartist Movement -1836-1854) C. The Victorian literary world inherits previous artistic elements (see VIII).an agent of oppression. chimney sweepers…). Polluted waters. the serialised strategies made novels lack a coherent structure. Professional diseases (of miners./ Reform Bills and Acts  the Reform Act of 1832 enfranchised all male owners of property worth between 10 to 50 pounds in annual rent  the Education Act by 1870.  Family. Human misery. smog. The undermining consequences of progress  Urban crowds living in filthy slums.i.

V. George Eliot’s Mill on the Floss. Focus on town life and social classes in the novel (Charles Dickens in Hard Times. Anthony Trollope in Barchester Chronicles. a. Hopkins finds the innocence and the sacredness of nature through religious faith and illumination. Thakeray in Vanity fair. Hopkins) VI. Our Mutual Friend. M. Elizabeth Gaskell in Mary Barton.I. William M. Revival of a deep religious feeling (the poetry and creed of G.1855) II. Poetry weaker then the novel III. scientific discoveries and access to technology worried the Victorian writer who felt that his contemporaries bore the miserable sometimes dangerous consequences of a new era or made him depict prophetic triumphs of the future (immediate gloomy realities of technology are described by Dickens or science fictional . Darwinian perspective in social life ( the idea developed by Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species according to which the fittest will survive) and utilitarianism IV.1848 and in North and South. The nostalgia for the pastoral setting seen as a Paradise Lost (Thomas Hardy’s Tess. 6False puritanism and examples are Arthur Clough’s poem the Latest Decalogue and Jan e Eyre./ The industrial revolution. A Tale of Manchester Life. Matthew Arnold looks back to a harmony with nature in his poem In Harmony with Nature.) VII.

Neo-classical and Romantic features : Neo-classical -the stress on reason and duty -society seen as a perfectible mechanism . or George Herbert Wells.perspectives of a dark technological future are represented by Louis Stevenson. Hyde (1886). The writers’ ironical attitude to the Victorians’ self-confidence and authority (Oscar Wilde’s Importance of Being Earnest. The Invisible Man (1897).The Strange Case of Dr.the picaresque structure of the novel (Great Expectations.the individual is responsible for the part he plays in society . Jane Eyre) Romantic -7 -the past revisited(Medieval and Renaissance themes) -the stress on the irationall and feelings -the oresence of outsiders(outcasts.handicapped. The War of the Worlds —1898) VIII.thieves) -society seen as corrupted and the source of all evil -focus upon the individual as a unique being - . Bernard Shaw’s plays) IX. Jekyll and Mr.The Time Machine (1985).

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