Saturday, May 27, 2006

Module 1: Activity 1

The Victorian Period
As stated on your podcast, the Victorian Period lasted from 1832-1900. This time period is named for the literature that was written during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_literature). As you also stated, this was a period that consisted of beauty. The beauty ranged from that of paintings to the very beauty of city life. In direct contrast with the beauty of this period, was the conflict between those in power and the poor. I believe you described it as the time period where "the rich were getting richer, and the poor were getting poorer." The writers of the Victorian Period chose to illuminate the problems and trials facing the poor, and they gave light to the shocking fact of children being forced to work in sweatshops. This also was a time period where a great deal of change took place. This change was brought forth as a result of the Industrial Revolution and caused the literature and writing to be concerned with social reform (http://classiclit.about.com/od/victorianliteratu/a/aa_victorian.htm).
Many social changes happened during the Victorian Period. Historically, reading literature had only been something for the privileged or the learned. However, with the growth of universal education and with British society slowly becoming literate, reading literature was becoming more accessible and desirable for the common person (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_literature). With the broadening of their audience, authors could now sell their works to the public at large instead of only selling to rich individuals. Writers now to worry about catering the varied tastes of the general public. For this reason, authors decided to use a series of short episodes, in weekly or monthly installments, in order to reach the wider audience. They contained cliffhangers that grabbed the reader's attention and made purchasing the next publication a must (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_literature).
Some of the most important authors of the Victorian Period were Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Robert Browning, the Bronte sisters, Lord Alfred Tennyson, and Oscar Wilde. The novel had become the leading form of literature, and the Victorian Period is classified as the high point in British literature. Charles Dickens was and still is the most popular and read author of this time, and succeeded at writing novels better than any other writer. He was a self-made man who worked extremely hard at giving the people exactly what they wanted. The Bronte sisters were others who managed to create masterpieces of fiction, although not immediately appreciated by the Victorian critics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_literature). Authors would compare and contrast the country life to that of city life, and during the Victorian Period, sex was beginning to make its way into the literature.
Works Cited
"Victorian literature." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 22 May 2006. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. 27 May 2006. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_literature>
"Victorian Period: A Time of Change." About. 2006. About, Inc. 27 May 2006. <http://classiclit.about.com/od/victorianliteratu/a/aa_victorian.htm>

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