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The Victorian Period. Poetry Novel The Victorian Period ” IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age.

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Presentation on theme: "The Victorian Period. Poetry Novel The Victorian Period ” IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Victorian Period

2 Poetry Novel

3 The Victorian Period ” IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness” (Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities 1859)

4 The Victorian Period Dark and turbulent times  dark poems ”The Condition of England” question Issues of gender, class, empire, faith...

5 MY LAST DUCHESS

6 Robert Browning, My Last Duchess (1842)

7 Form and style? Themes?

8 My Last Duchess, ROBERT BROWNING That's my last Duchess painted on the wall, Looking as if she were alive. I call That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf's hands Worked busily a day, and there she stands. Will 't please you sit and look at her? I said 'Frà Pandolf' by design, for never read Strangers like you that pictured countenance, The depth and passion of its earnest glance, But to myself they turned (since none puts by The curtain I have drawn for you, but I) And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst, How such a glance came there; so, not the first Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 't was not Her husband's presence only, called that spot Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps Frà Pandolf chanced to say, 'Her mantle laps Over my lady's wrist too much,' or 'Paint Must never hope to reproduce the faint Half-flush that dies along her throat:' such stuff Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough For calling up that spot of joy. She had A heart -- how shall I say? -- too soon made glad, Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er She looked on, and her looks went everywhere. Sir, 't was all one! My favour at her breast, The dropping of the daylight in the West, The bough of cherries some officious fool Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule She rode with round the terrace -- all and each Would draw from her alike the approving speech, Or blush, at least. She thanked men, -- good! but thanked Somehow -- I know not how -- as if she ranked My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame This sort of trifling? Even had you skill In speech -- (which I have not) -- to make your will Quite clear to such an one, and say, 'Just this Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss, Or there exceed the mark' -- and if she let Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse, -- E'en then would be some stooping; and I choose Never to stoop. Oh, sir, she smiled, no doubt, Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands As if alive. Will 't please you rise? We'll meet The company below then. I repeat, The Count your master's known munificence Is ample warrant that no just pretence Of mine for dowry will be disallowed; Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed At starting, is my object. Nay, we'll go Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though, Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity, Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!

9 Form and Genre Dramatic Lyric Iambic pentamenter, rhyming couplets Monologue Gothic

10 My Last Duchess, ROBERT BROWNING That's my last Duchess painted on the wall, Looking as if she were alive. I call That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf's hands Worked busily a day, and there she stands. Will 't please you sit and look at her? I said 'Frà Pandolf' by design, for never read Strangers like you that pictured countenance, The depth and passion of its earnest glance, But to myself they turned (since none puts by The curtain I have drawn for you, but I) And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst, How such a glance came there; so, not the first Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 't was not Her husband's presence only, called that spot Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps Frà Pandolf chanced to say, 'Her mantle laps Over my lady's wrist too much,' or 'Paint Must never hope to reproduce the faint Half-flush that dies along her throat:' such stuff Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough For calling up that spot of joy. She had A heart -- how shall I say? -- too soon made glad, Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er She looked on, and her looks went everywhere. Sir, 't was all one! My favour at her breast, The dropping of the daylight in the West, The bough of cherries some officious fool Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule She rode with round the terrace -- all and each Would draw from her alike the approving speech, Or blush, at least. She thanked men, -- good! but thanked Somehow -- I know not how -- as if she ranked My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame This sort of trifling? Even had you skill In speech -- (which I have not) -- to make your will Quite clear to such an one, and say, 'Just this Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss, Or there exceed the mark' -- and if she let Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse, -- E'en then would be some stooping; and I choose Never to stoop. Oh, sir, she smiled, no doubt, Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands As if alive. Will 't please you rise? We'll meet The company below then. I repeat, The Count your master's known munificence Is ample warrant that no just pretence Of mine for dowry will be disallowed; Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed At starting, is my object. Nay, we'll go Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though, Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity, Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!

11 Themes Power Gender Art/reality Class Psychological realism (neurosis?)

12 THE CRY OF THE CHILDREN

13 Elizabeth Barrett Browning ”ethical poetry is the highest of all poetry forms… poetry should be able to ecompass argument and persuasion” Poet as prophet (”the only truth-tellers now left to God”, Aurora Leigh) Political poetry: to effect change not least via social reforms (abolitionism, child protection…) Sentimental genre (cf. Uncle Tom’s Cabin) Very popular and appreciated in her lifetime (almost became Poet Laureate in 1850) Modern critics critical of explicit message and affective purpose

14 THE CRY OF THE CHILDREN

15 Elizabeth Barrett Browning The Cry of the Children (1844) Direct reaction to social conditions (child labour report) Powerful appeal to emotions (sentimentalism) but also realistic elements Constructed around different voices addressing ”ye”, ”O, my brothers”: the poet and the children themselves Series of contrasts

16 Elizabeth Barrett Browning The Cry of the Children (1844) Humankind vs animal and vegetal world Myth and reality (the Nation as it sees itself and as it is) Old/young Mother/fatherland and brothers Life/death City/countryside Human/mechanical world God/capitalism and industrialisation

17 "Pheu pheu, ti prosderkesthe m ommasin, tekna;" [[Alas, alas, why do you gaze at me with your eyes, my children.]]—Medea.

18 Stanza 1: Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers, Ere the sorrow comes with years ? They are leaning their young heads against their mothers, — And that cannot stop their tears. The young lambs are bleating in the meadows ; The young birds are chirping in the nest ; The young fawns are playing with the shadows ; The young flowers are blowing toward the west— But the young, young children, O my brothers, They are weeping bitterly ! They are weeping in the playtime of the others, In the country of the free.

19 Stanza 2: Do you question the young children in the sorrow, Why their tears are falling so ? The old man may weep for his to-morrow Which is lost in Long Ago — The old tree is leafless in the forest — The old year is ending in the frost — The old wound, if stricken, is the sorest — The old hope is hardest to be lost : But the young, young children, O my brothers, Do you ask them why they stand Weeping sore before the bosoms of their mothers, In our happy Fatherland ?

20 Stanza 3: They look up with their pale and sunken faces, And their looks are sad to see, For the man's grief abhorrent, draws and presses Down the cheeks of infancy — "Your old earth," they say, "is very dreary;" "Our young feet," they say, "are very weak !" Few paces have we taken, yet are weary— Our grave-rest is very far to seek ! Ask the old why they weep, and not the children, For the outside earth is cold — And we young ones stand without, in our bewildering, And the graves are for the old !"

21 Stanza 5: Alas, the wretched children ! they are seeking Death in life, as best to have ! They are binding up their hearts away from breaking, With a cerement from the grave. Go out, children, from the mine and from the city — Sing out, children, as the little thrushes do — Pluck you handfuls of the meadow-cowslips pretty Laugh aloud, to feel your fingers let them through ! But they answer, " Are your cowslips of the meadows Like our weeds anear the mine ? Leave us quiet in the dark of the coal-shadows, From your pleasures fair and fine!

22 Stanza 8: Ay ! be silent ! Let them hear each other breathing For a moment, mouth to mouth — Let them touch each other's hands, in a fresh wreathing Of their tender human youth ! Let them feel that this cold metallic motion Is not all the life God fashions or reveals — Let them prove their inward souls against the notion That they live in you, or under you, O wheels ! — Still, all day, the iron wheels go onward, As if Fate in each were stark ; And the children's souls, which God is calling sunward, Spin on blindly in the dark.

23 Stanza 11: "But, no !" say the children, weeping faster, " He is speechless as a stone ; And they tell us, of His image is the master Who commands us to work on. Go to ! " say the children,—"up in Heaven, Dark, wheel-like, turning clouds are all we find ! Do not mock us ; grief has made us unbelieving — We look up for God, but tears have made us blind." Do ye hear the children weeping and disproving, O my brothers, what ye preach ? For God's possible is taught by His world's loving — And the children doubt of each.

24 Stanza 13: They look up, with their pale and sunken faces, And their look is dread to see, For they think you see their angels in their places, With eyes meant for Deity ;— "How long," they say, "how long, O cruel nation, Will you stand, to move the world, on a child's heart, — Stifle down with a mailed heel its palpitation, And tread onward to your throne amid the mart ? Our blood splashes upward, O our tyrants, And your purple shews your path ; But the child's sob curseth deeper in the silence Than the strong man in his wrath !”

25 Family connections established through mothers, brothers, father: emotional charge

26 DOVER BEACH

27 Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach (1867)

28 Dover Beach, Matthew Arnold The sea is calm tonight. The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits; on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. Come to the window, sweet is the night-air! Only, from the long line of spray Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land, Listen! you hear the grating roar Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, At their return, up the high strand, Begin, and cease, and then again begin, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring The eternal note of sadness in. Sophocles long ago Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow Of human misery; we Find also in the sound a thought, Hearing it by this distant northern sea. The Sea of Faith Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled. But now I only hear Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, Retreating, to the breath Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear And naked shingles of the world. Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.

29 Dover Beach, Matthew Arnold The sea is calm tonight. The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits; on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. Come to the window, sweet is the night-air! Only, from the long line of spray Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land, Listen! you hear the grating roar Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, At their return, up the high strand, Begin, and cease, and then again begin, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring The eternal note of sadness in. Sophocles long ago Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow Of human misery; we Find also in the sound a thought, Hearing it by this distant northern sea. The Sea of Faith Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled. But now I only hear Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, Retreating, to the breath Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear And naked shingles of the world. Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.

30 Dover Beach, Matthew Arnold The sea is calm tonight. The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits; on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. Come to the window, sweet is the night-air! Only, from the long line of spray Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land, Listen! you hear the grating roar Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, At their return, up the high strand, Begin, and cease, and then again begin, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring The eternal note of sadness in. Sophocles long ago Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow Of human misery; we Find also in the sound a thought, Hearing it by this distant northern sea. The Sea of Faith Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled. But now I only hear Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, Retreating, to the breath Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear And naked shingles of the world. Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.

31 Dover Beach, Matthew Arnold The sea is calm tonight. The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits; on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. Come to the window, sweet is the night-air! Only, from the long line of spray Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land, Listen! you hear the grating roar Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, At their return, up the high strand, Begin, and cease, and then again begin, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring The eternal note of sadness in. Sophocles long ago Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow Of human misery; we Find also in the sound a thought, Hearing it by this distant northern sea. The Sea of Faith Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled. But now I only hear Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, Retreating, to the breath Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear And naked shingles of the world. Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams, So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.

32 Far from Milton and Pope’s attempts at justifying the ways of God to men Chaos and Night Universal community to individual love Rythm of poem emphasizes theme

33 THE VICTORIAN NOVEL: JANE EYRE

34 Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)

35 Currer Bell Victorian novel – gender, – class, – Empire – Between Romanticism and Realism

36 Jane Eyre and Class "Master! How is he my master? Am I a servant?"

37 Jane Eyre and Class The governess Jane as in-between classes (cf. Reed household 24-25) Money and status (// Rochester) Liminality allows the novel to explore aristocracy and underprivileged

38 "You ought to be aware, Miss, that you are under obligations to Mrs. Reed: she keeps you: if she were to turn you off, you would have to go to the poorhouse." I had nothing to say to these words: they were not new to me: my very first recollections of existence included hints of the same kind. This reproach of my dependence had become a vague sing-song in my ear: very painful and crushing, but only half intelligible. Miss Abbot joined in — "And you ought not to think yourself on an equality with the Misses Reed and Master Reed, because Missis kindly allows you to be brought up with them. They will have a great deal of money, and you will have none: it is your place to be humble, and to try to make yourself agreeable to them.” (25)

39 “Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God's feet, equal — as we are!” (252)

40 Jane Eyre as gender critique

41 Image of inequality (”master”, ”Women feel…”) Marriage as an institution (Bertha burning Rochester’s bed, tearing Jane’s veil) Passion and desire for women

42 It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it. Millions are condemned to a stiller doom than mine, and millions are in silent revolt against their lot. Nobody knows how many rebellions besides political rebellions ferment in the masses of life which people earth. Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow- creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex. ( )

43 Jane Eyre and Imperialism

44 "The mad woman in the attic" Rochester St. John Rivers Jane

45 "One night I had been awakened by her yells... it was a fiery West Indian night.... "'This life,' said I at last, 'is hell! -- this is the air -- those are the sounds of the bottomless pit! I have a right to deliver myself from it if I can.... Let me break away, and go home to God!'... "A wind fresh from Europe blew over the ocean and rushed through the open casement: the storm broke, streamed, thundered, blazed, and the air grew pure.... It was true Wisdom that consoled me in that hour, and showed me the right path.... "The sweet wind from Europe was still whispering in the refreshed leaves, and the Atlantic was thundering in glorious liberty.... "'Go,' said Hope, 'and live again in Europe.... You have done all that God and Humanity require of you. (303-4)

46 “My vocation? My great work?... My hopes of being numbered in the band who have merged all ambitions in the glorious one of bettering their race -- of carrying knowledge into the realms of ignorance -- of substituting peace for war -- freedom for bondage -- religion for superstition -- the hope of heaven for the fear of hell?"

47 In the deep shade, at the further end of the room, a figure ran backwards and forwards. What it was, whether beast or human being, one could not... tell: it grovelled, seemingly, on all fours; it snatched and growled like some strange wild animal: but it was covered with clothing, and a quantity of dark, grizzled hair, wild as a mane, hid its head and face. [JE, p. 295]

48 Jane/Bertha Does the gender text obscure the imperialist subtext? Is Bertha Jane's double or her Other? "In this fictive England, she must play out her role, act out the transformation of her "self" into that fictive Other, set fire to the house and kill herself, so that Jane Eyre can become the feminist individualist heroine of British fiction." (Spivak) Bertha's violent rebellion against patriarchy (coming to voice: “shouting out till they could hear her a mile off” 417) Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys

49 ”READER I MARRIED HIM”

50 "Reader I married him" Transcending power of love? Capitulation to patriarchal forces? “In Jane Eyre … love transcends barriers of class, race, and religion” (Pinion) “The narrative [goes] from revolted marginality to quiescent socialisation, reblending the contradictions which it initially exposed” (Politi)

51 Genre Bildungsroman Romanticism (individualism, intuition) Realism (psychological, fictional autobiography, social realism) Gothic, (dreams, desire, madness, instability of identity) Fairy Tale (Cinderella, The Ugly Duckling, Blue Beard)


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