The Victorian Age

The Victorian Age (1837-1901)

The Victorian age took its name from Queen Victoria.

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The Victorian era was the age of progress, stability and great social reforms but in the same time was characterised by poverty, injustice and social unrest.

* VICTORIAN VALUES

The Victorians were great moralisers. They promoted a code of values based on personal duty, hard work, respectability and charity.
These values were of equal application to all strata of society, but were given their essential Victorian form by the upper or middle classes.
The idea of respectability distinguished the middle from the lower class. Respectability was a mixture of morality, hypocrisy and conformity to social standards.

  • KEY WORDS:

-Prosperity
-Respectability
-Coal, iron, steam power
-Dark side (Victorian compromise)
-Workshop of the World
-Great Exibition (1851)
-Time off
-Trains

  • THE VICTORIAN NOVEL

During the Victorian Age the novels (romanzi) became the most popular form of literature and the main form of entertainment. They were first published in instalments in the pages of periodicals. The novelists in their works described society as they saw it. They denounced the evils of their society, however their criticism was not radical. A great number of novels were written by women but some women used a male pseudonym because for a woman it wasn’t easy to publish. The woman’s novel was an realistic exploration of the daily lives and values of women within the family and the community.
Also the majority of readers were women because they had more time than men to spend at home.
It’s possible to divideVictorian novels into three groups:

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-Early Victrian novels: (1837-1848)
Main writer was Charles Dickens.
Themes: social and humanitarian.
-Mid Victorian novels: (1840-1870)
Main writers: Bronte sisters and Robert Stevenson.
Themes: Romantic and Gothic traditions and psychological vein.
-Late Victorian novels: (1870-1901)
Main writers: Thomas Hardy and Oscar Wilde.
Themes: sense of dissatisfaction (insoddisfazione) with values of the age.

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