English Literature - Context - The Victorian Period

Contextual information and key writers from the Victorian Period of English Literature.

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The Victorian Period
Years: 18321900
Conflict between those in power and the common masses of labourers and the
Shocking life of sweatshops and urban poor is highlighted in literature to insist
on reform
Country versus city life
Sexual discretion (or lack of it)
Strained coincidences
Romantic triangles
Heroines in physical danger
Aristocratic villains
Misdirected letters
Bigamous marriages
Novel becomes popular for first time and is mass produced for the first time
Political novels
Detective novels (Sherlock Holmes)
Serialized novels (Charles Dickens)
Poetry: easier to understand
The use of the dramatic monologue increases
Drama: comedies of manners
Magazines offer stories to the masses
Literature begins to reach the masses
Historical Context:
Paper becomes cheap magazines and novels cheap to mass produce
Unprecedented growth of industry and business in Britain
Unparalleled dominance of nations, economies and trade abroad
Key Literature/Authors:
Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson,
George Eliot, Oscar Wilde, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charles Darwin, Charlotte
Bronte, Robert Browning


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