The Victorian era (1830-1900) - Commack Schools

The Victorian era (1830-1900) - Commack Schools

Victorian England 1832-1901 Great Exhibition Hall 1851 represents 19th century progress! This view of 19th century London shows the darker side of progress, the Industrial Revolution at its height. Queen Victoria as a young girl and as queen. Her reign lasted over 63 years, the longest of any British monarch. Like Elizabeth I, she gave her name to this period of British history and literature.

Queen Victoria took the crown at 18. Queen Victoria She was a popular queen, the first to take residence in Buckingham Palace. She spoke English, French, German, Italian, and Hindustani. She became queen when the monarchy was unpopular with the people, but she won

them over with her modesty, practicality, personality, and style. Victoria met Prince Albert, a cousin who was a minor German Prince, when she was 16. Four years later at age 20 and already queen, she fell in love with him and married. Some believe he married her only to gain social status; however, their marriage was a happy one. They parented 9 children. He died in 1861 and from that time on she dressed only in black. For the next 40 years until her death, she ordered that a fresh suite of clothing be laid out for him daily. She started the tradition of a bride wearing white at her wedding. Marria

ge Queen Victoria at 20 and as a widow. The Queen on the morning or her coronation. After Alberts death she wore widows black and a widows bonnet in public, never a crown. THE VICTORIAN ERA (1830-1900)

Positiv Queen Victoria turned England into worldses leading military/economic power Period of intense change: Railroads Postal system Improvements in medicine, sanitation Govt-supported schools

Political reforms (more could vote) Increase in industry Negativ Changes to traditional eswere British society disturbing and frightening: *Increased urban poverty *Challenge to British Empires power through foreign wars

*Workers fighting for power *Women entering work force THE WORLD OF J&H Britain in 1880s: social, economic, spiritual changes Jekyll and Hyde represents 1. Natural man: free of civilizing influences of society and religion

2. Darwinism 3. Freuds studies in psychoanalysis 4. Symbolic representation of the threats of innovations in economics, science, workings of the mind Historical/Cultural Context Calvanism - strict form of Protestant religion founded by Swiss reformer John

Calvin 16th century-associated with moral restraint and demanded austerity and a grim respectability we have come to associate with Victorian times Predestination-the Elect were certain people-known only to God-who would be granted entry to Heaven Historical/Cultural Context Appearance is an important feature of the story-the faade which conceals the

reality is often important in this work of prose note how the appearance of buildings often reflects the nature of the inhabitants The story is a psychological exploration of evil and forces the reader to examine the nature of morality through its conflicting characters Jekyll and Hyde who are, as we know, representations of different moral extremes within the Victorian Social Classes

Victorian society was highly stratified. Social classes did not mix, and behavior, especially among members of the upper class, was expected to be exemplary at all times. The unrealistically rigid morality of upper class Londoners led many to live double lives. Breakdown of Victorian Society

At the end of the 1800s, Britain was experiencing a period of intense social, economic, and spiritual change, after many decades of confident growth and national self-fulfillment. Population doubled creating a demand for housing, food and clothing. Irish potato famine created a flood of new immigrants. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde perfectly captured some readers fears that their carefully built society was hypocritical. Breakdown of Victorian Society The sun never sets on the British

Empire. England was a imperial nation gaining control of countries around the world. During Victorias reign, 25% of the worlds population, was part of the British Empire. Imperialism: policy of extending a nations authority be acquiring territory or by dominating their politics and economy. Hegemony: dominating over groups with or without the threat of force. British Empire during Victorias reign, controlled one quarter of the worlds

population, about 458 million people. It covered 14.2 million square miles, about a quarter of Earths total land area. This is the reason why the English language was at one time the language of business, law, and government. Victorian Society Social conventions for WOMEN remain similar to those of the Bennet sisters. Women were to marry and provide homes. A working class woman, if married, could be a servant and if unmarried, a teacher or governess. Many women did not marry simply because there were not enough men. This led to the creation of the phrase redundant women.

Legal changes were to their advantage. Although they still could not vote, WOMEN had the right to retain their own property after marriage, to sue for divorce, and to fight for the custody of their children in a separation. Victorian literature expresses a world of ideas in a culture comfortable enough with itself to ponder and debate these. Comfortable: 100 years of peace 1815 (Napoleon, Waterloo) to 1914 (WWI) Industrial Revolution expanded the middle class By 1860s all men except agricultural workers had the right to vote

1860-1900 literacy rate went from 40% to 90% (marriage certificates) Obsessed with being gentile, decorous amounted to prudery A young women of personality and charm, Queen Victoria was influenced by the prudery of the time. Some say the queen often used the expression We are not amused whenever a conversation took a ribald turn. Language in particular reflected the

uptight prudishness of the era. Since it would be improper to refer to body parts, a family at the dinner table would be embarrassed to ask for a thigh or a breast from a plate of chicken, so they used the euphemistic dark and white meat. Victorian Poets Wordsworth said the A poet is a man speaking to other men. Poetry was an individual experience and spoke of that experience. Robert Shelley, a Victorian, expanded the role of the

poet when he said Poets are the acknowledged legislators of the world. Poetry confirmed what the Victorians valued or pointed out problems in their society. Their poetry often related to societys problems or misdirection. Victorian Social Consciousness These poets questioned the cost of exploiting the earth and human beings to achieve comfort for the few. They protested or made

fun of the codes of decorum or manners as well as authority. The attitudes of the poets toward their world will change as we read. The beginning of the era is similar to the Romantics. The world was orderly and natures beauty was a reflection of Gods plan and goodness. Alfred Lord Tennyson represents this beginning. His poetry assures readers. . .that everything was part of a benevolent plan in which eventually all losses will be made right. He saw God in his world. He also looks to the past to the lives of several mythical characters to find ideals of human behavior. The Victorian created the concept of smog, called the storm cloud of the 19th

century. John Ruskin describes . . .the sky is covered with greasy cloud; now raincloud, but a dry black veil, which not ring or sunshine can pierce; partly diffused in feeble mist, enough to make distant objects unintelligible, yet without any substance, or wreathing, or color of its own. . . . It looks partly as if it were made of poisonous smoke. . . . But mere smoke would not blow to and fro in that wild way. It looks more to me as if it were made of dead mans souls. By the middle of the 19th century, other writers seemed less certain about a spiritual or divine presence in the world. Matthew Arnold writes that the sea of faith had ebbed. There was no certainty or if there was, what was certain was that existence was not governed by a benevolent

intelligence that cared for its creatures. Thomas Hardys The Darkling Thrush is the grimmest of these questioning poems. It was written on January 31st 1899 and marked the close or death of the 19th century. Victorian Social Consciousness Victorian authors continued to reflect their social concerns in their writing. In his novels, Charles Dickens attacked the hollowness, glitter, superficiality as well as the poverty and cruel conditions of those like Tiny Tim and the orphan Oliver Twist. Many of Dickens's most memorable

scenes showed decent people neglected, abused, and exploited. Dickenss last novel, Our Mutual Friend, features a family called the Veneerings. They are bran-new people in a bran- new house in a bran-new quarter of London. Veneer is a thin surface layer, as of finely grained wood, glued to a base of inferior material. Cherry, ebony walnut veneers are used in making furniture often instead of solid

wood; therefore the craftsman conceals, something common or inferior, with a deceptively attractive outward show. So what sort of people do you suppose the Veneerings were? Victorian Drama Oscar Wilde was the Victorian playwright who, like Dickens, poked fun at those who were socially pushy or insincere. He makes delicious fun of the idle, often phony upper class in his play, The Importance of Being Earnest. This

play is called a comedy of manners. If you enjoy watching Boston Legal, you are watching a contemporary comedy of manners. All in all, Victorian literature is about change and a cultures reaction to change. The telegraph, telephone, photography (Victoria was the first royal to have her portrait taken rather than painted) the advent of the automobile and electric lighting changed not only the way people lived, but their view of the world in which

they lived. Darwin unsettled the world by offering another view of creation while Nightingale, who founded the first modern nursing school, gave women a role model. Information from Jekyll+and+Hyde+powerpoint.ppt quotes taken from: Hyde-Intro-PPT

Elements of Literature: Literature of Great Britain. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.: Austin, Texas, 1993. Images from:

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