Sunday, May 21, 2006

Module 1-Activity 1

THE VICTORIAN PERIOD

The Victorian Period (1832-1900) boasted a time of tremendous change. During this time, the Industrial Revolution greatly impacted English culture. Machines replaced human laborers. Manufacturing and trade took precedence over the importance of owning land. Therefore, huge numbers of people moved to the city looking for work in the factories and mills. A large proportion of the immense urban population lived in the slums and tenement buildings. The Industrial Revolution changed the role of women in English society as well (“The Victorian Age: Topics”).

Women and children sought work in the factories and mills. They worked long hours for low wages. Great debates ensued about the woman’s new role in society, politics, and other social issues. Newspapers and periodicals were widely read. People were compelled to write about the plight of the poor. England experienced a significant economic depression in the 1840s and did not want to relive that time. Because of newspapers, interviews, novels, poetry and even folk song, the government began to regulate working conditions and inspect factories and mines in the 1830s and 1840s. During the Victorian Period, writers explored whether they believed the Industrial Revolution was good or bad? Did it help or hurt society (“The Victorian Age: Topics”)?

Some of the most influential writers of the time that showed the negative side of urbanization were Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Elizabeth Gaskell, Henry Mayhew, and William Booth. One author showed the importance of industrialization, he was C. Duncan Lucas. Other authors wrote in support of women seeking lives outside of the home. These authors include: Charlotte Bronte, George Gissing, and Elizabeth Eastlake. As one can see, women played a significant role in the literary world. One last interesting fact about the Victorian Period was the use of illustration in novels and in poetry. The writer wanted the reader to see exactly what they meant in their writing. Poetry was influenced by great works of art and vice versa. Several writers utilized illustrations in their works quite often, such as: Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, and Robert Browning. Overall, the literary works of the Victorian Period debated social and political issues, explored the world of the poor and working class, and fused poetry with art (“The Victorian Age: Topics”).

“The Victorian Age: Topics.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Norton Topics
Online
. 2003-2006. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 19 May 2006. http://www.wwnorton.com/nto/victorian/welcome/htm

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