Victorian Period (1832-1901) in English Literature - Pdf

Mofizur Rahman

Victorian Period (1832-1901) in English Literature - Pdf

History of English Literature
Victorian Period (1832-1901)
Major Works of this periods and Writers
The Victorian Period (1832-1901) in English Literatures

Victorian Period (1832-1901) in English Literature - Pdf, victorian novelists in english literature victorian period literature, literature notes,

Victorian Period

This age is named after Queen Victoria who reigned over England from 1837 to 1901. It may be noticed that though Queen Victoria came to power in 1837, the Victorian Period began in 1832, five years before the accession of Queen Victoria, because the literary features of the new age became obvious during 1832.

The twelve years, from 1848 to 1860, of this age is called the Age of the Pre-. Raphaelites because the artists of that time followed the art forms used before the period of Raphael (1483-1520), the Italian artist. D. G. Rossetti, W. H. Hunt and J. Millais formed this group and later on Christina Rossetti, W. Morris and A. Swinburne joined them.

Originally it was a movement for the painters but eventually these ideals took the shape of a literary. movement. Medievalism, symbolism, sensuousness, truthfulness and simplicity are the main features of the Pre-Raphaelites. The last two decades (1880-1901) of this period is called the Age of Aestheticism.

In reaction against the Victorian moral obsession it was held that art should have its end in itself,which lies in its beauty and formal perfection. These decades also called Decadence because there was a fall and decay of the Victorian spirit and standard in these years.

The important facts which influenced the literature of this period are:

1. The First Reformation Act in 1832, the Second Reformation Act in 1867 and the Third Reformation Act in 1884 gave voting rights to every male and brought about significant changes in social life.
2. In 1833 slaves were declared free.
3. Chimney Sweeps Act in 1840 and Factory Act in 1833 prohibited child labour.
4. Mechanism of railways and ships was improved which helped develop overseas commerce and industry, and thus, brought material affluence.
5. There was a significant progress of women during this time.
6. Agriculture based society was disintegrated asthe result of the development of industry. This had a strong effect on the rural people.
7. The theory of evolution and the concept of communism changed the traditional view of life and religion.
8. The Fabian Society was founded in 1883 to avoid violence in class-struggle. G.B. Shaw was one of the members of this society.

Major Writers of the Period and Their Major Works:-

Thomas Babington Macaulay

Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-59):

  1. History of England (1849-61)

Cardinal Newman

Cardinal Newman (1801-1890)

  1. The Idea of a University
  2. Loss and Gain

John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill (1806-73)

  1. On Liberty(1859)
  2. Utilitarianism (1863)
  3. The Subjection of Women(1869)

Charles Robert Darwin

Charles Robert Darwin (1809-82)

  1. The Origin of Species (1859)
  2. The Descent of Man (1871)

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-92)

* He is best known for his melodious language.

  1. Poems (1833)
  2. In Memoriam (1850)
  3. Maud and other Poems (1855)

Edward Fitzgerald

Edward Fitzgerald(1809-83)

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1859), translated into English from Persian

Elizabeth Cleghorn

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810-1865)

* She is popularly known as Mrs. Gaskell.

  1. Mary Barton (1848)
  2. Cranford (1853)
  3. Ruth (1853)
  4. North and South (1855)
  5. Sylvia's Lovers (1863)

William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-63)

  1. Vanity Fair (1848)
  2. The Virginians (1859)

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens (1812-70)

  1. The Pickwick Papers (1836)
  2. Oliver Twist (1837)
  3. David Copperfield (1850)
  4. Bleak House (1852)
  5. A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
  6. Great Expectations (1861)

Robert Browning

Robert Browning (1812-89)

* He is famous for his dramatic monologues.

  1. Dramatic Lyrics (1842)
  2. Men and Women (1855)
  3. Dramatis Personae (1864)

Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte (1816-55)

  1. Jane Eyre (1847)
  2. Shirley (1849)
  3. Villette (1853)

The Professor (1857)

Emily Bronte

Emily Bronte (1818-48)

  1. Wuthering Heights (1847)

Karl Marx

Karl Marx (1818-83)

  1. Das Kapital (1867)

George Eliot

George Eliot (1819-80)

* Her real name is Mary Ann Evans.

  1. The Mill on the Floss (1860)
  2. Scenes of Clerical Life (1858)
  3. Adam Bede (1859)
  4. Silas Marner (1861)
  5. Romola (1863)
  6. Middlemarch (1871-72)

Herman Melville

Herman Melville (1819-1891)

  1. Moby-Dick (1851)
  2. Bartleby, the Scrivener (1853)

Gustave Flaubert

Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880)

  1. Madame Bovary (1857)
  2. Sentimental Education (1869)
  3. The Temptation of Saint Anthony (1874)

Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold (1822-88)

* He was a poet and a critic, known for his strong moral voice.

  1. “Essays in Criticism” (1888)
  2. Culture and Anarchy (1867) and some poems

Mark Twain

Mark Twain (1835-1910)

*His real name is Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

  1. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)
  2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)

Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

*He was a regional novelist and a poet.

  1. The Return of the Native (1878)
  2. The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886)
  3. Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891)

Henry James

Henry James (1843-1916)

  1. Daisy Miller (1879)
  2. The American (1877)
  3. The Portrait of a Lady (1881)
  4. The Tragic Muse (1890)
  5. The Spoils of Poyton (1897)

Frederick Nietzsche

Frederick Nietzsche (1844-1900)

  1. The Birth of Tragedy (1872)
  2. Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1885)
  3. The Antichrist(1895)

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde (1856-1900)

* He was a poet, novelist and dramatist.

  1. Lady Windermere's Fan (1892)
  2. A Woman of No Importance (1893)
  3. An Ideal Husband (1895)
  4. The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)

George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

* He was a modern dramatist, famous for his 'drama of ideas'.

  1. Arms and the Man (1894)
  2. You Never Can Tell (1998)
  3. Mrs. Warrens's Profession (1898)

George Robert Gissing

George Robert Gissing (1857-1903)

  1. The Nether World (1889)
  2. Born in Exile (1892)
  3. Denzil Quarrier (1892)
  4. The Odd Women (1893)
  5. The Paying Guest (1895)
  6. The Whirlpool (1897)

Charles Dickens: A Critical Study (1898)

Kenneth Grahame

Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932)

  1. Pagan Papers (1893)
  2. The Golden Age (1895)
  3. Dream Days (1898)
  4. The Reluctant Dragon (1898)
  5. The Headwoman (1898)

Rudyard Kipling 

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

  1. The Jungle Book (1894)
  2. Departmental Ditties (1886)
  3. Plain Tales from the Hills (1888)
  4. Soldiers Three (1890)

Main Literary Features of the Age:

1) Victorian literature shifts from the Romantic utopianism to utilitarianism, from the Romantic imagination to reality, from the Romantic common man to middle class.

2) Victorian attitude to nature also changes. To the Romantics it was kind and harmonious; to the Victorians it is harsh and cruel.

3) Prudery and morality become the controlling principles of creative works.

4) It encourages “compromise and construction”.

5) In the early part of the age literature chooses “art for life's sake” as the principle of art and asserts didactic purposes.

6) The mass of writings of this age reflects a highly idealized notion of “proper behaviour”.

7) A dualism of reason and emotion, materialism and mysticism, religion and science or faith and doubt, freedom and restriction is very common in the literature of this period.

8) Poets, novelists and essayists of this age emphasize truth, justice, brotherhood, peace and stability.

9) Dramatic monologue and elegy are popular poetic forms of the age. Isolation, loss of faith, despair and emancipation of women are common themes of poems. Classical myths are retold in poems.

10) The novel becomes the domineering literary form in the Victorian Period. A typical Victorian novel has a long and complicated plot, an omniscient narrator whose comments on wrong and right serve moral purposes. It has a setting in a known city, a child protagonist, social and humanitarian themes, deeper character analyses, irony in the description and justification of all events in the final chapter. Its common subjects are exploitation of women and children, terrible living conditions, industrial civilization, lost identity, etc. A good number of novels written by women raise the feminist issues.

11) Towards the end of this period most of these features of the Victorian Age gradually disappear. A new movement known as the Decadence started. It brings back “art for art's sake”. It emphasizes sensationalism, egocentricity, the bizarre, the artificial, etc. in literature. Swinburne, Dowson, Pater, Morris and the Rossetti's are the writers of this group.

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