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Constructing the Victorians HUM 2212: British and American Literature I Fall 2012 Dr. Perdigao October 3, 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Constructing the Victorians HUM 2212: British and American Literature I Fall 2012 Dr. Perdigao October 3, 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Constructing the Victorians HUM 2212: British and American Literature I Fall 2012 Dr. Perdigao October 3, 2012

2 Secrets and Lies Elizabeth Barrett Browning Sonnets from the Portuguese “43” Love for Robert Browning Love, conventional style Secret under surface “Secret” relationship, marriage, nickname Feigned translations, “too personal” for Robert Browning Sleeping Beauty, fairy tale Poem 43 out of 44 in collection Italian, Petrarchan sonnet, 8 lines, 6 lines abbaabba; cdcdcd Robert Browning, “My Last Duchess” Reconstructing Italian Renaissance Religion, morality, ethics—as central concerns for the Victorians Transgressions with “My Last Duchess” Grotesque, Gothic As more consistent with Victorian prose (Oscar Wilde) than poetry

3 Facebook: A Cautionary Tale Couplets, iambic pentameter Dramatic monologue Reader puts together the story, inside speaker’s thoughts Persona poem Enjambment Loss of control within the poem Reveals secret Disclosure, enclosures “Rappaccini’s Daughter”: control of sexuality Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s father Male crisis, lack of control, over female “other” Painting’s story, like The Castle of Otranto, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Picture of Dorian Gray

4 Assessments Influence of Romanticism, questioning of the tradition Bridging binary oppositions: self and society, personal and political, subjective and objective Developing dramatic monologues, autobiography, autobiographical fictions Individuality, originality, intensity, sincerity of Romantics but also social consciousness (http://www.victorianweb.org/vn/abrams1.html)http://www.victorianweb.org/vn/abrams1.html

5 Assessments Victorian period, representative of the queen: earnestness, moral responsibility, domestic propriety (1019) Poetry versus fiction as defining the period Henry James’ characterization of the novel: “Large loose baggy monsters” Many characters, worlds, plotlines Poetry argued by others to be the high form Story-telling in verse with long poems Twentieth century assessments and characterizations of the Victorian— antiquated, removed, distant Critics argue that the period shows the transition to the modern

6 Modernity “Dover Beach” Modernity Sense of the past, fleeting time Loss of faith, poetical crisis Loss of centers: religion, science, politics Elegy

7 Matthew Arnold ( ) Modern industrial society Periods of writing: 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s Criticism and poetry Wordsworth as influence His lines about his poetry, indicative of changing world Sense of being a “troubled individual in a troubled society” Ideas about poetry from classical models, to bring joy (1371) Unadorned poetry Literary criticism and literature—making of a civilized society (1372) Education and reform in his prose (1373)

8 Alfred, Lord Tennyson ( ) Reassessment of Tennyson’s life and character Fourth of twelve children, family riddled by problems: institutionalization, drug and alcohol addiction Undergraduates at Cambridge, “The Apostles” Connection to Arthur Hallam, engaged to Tennyson’s sister, died in 1833; elegy in In Memoriam (1850) As “character,” like Whitman, cloak and hat The Idylls of the King —Arthurian legend, historical change, civilization’s rise and fall Influence of science, questions about religion Ideas of human progress vs. regression—barbarity, poverty “poet of the countryside”: rural rather than urban life, poet of the past

9 Alfred, Lord Tennyson ( ) “The Lotos-Eaters” Choric song—2, 6 (change) 8—meaning “Ulysses” last lines No longer golden age of men

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12 Pre-Raphaelitism Cultural attitude—taste, style, belief Movement of young artists studying painting at Royal Academy in late 1840s Breaking form study of Renaissance painter Raphael ( )—secret society Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, signing work PRB Dante Gabriel Rossetti as 1 of 3 founders Bright colors, foreshortened perspective, medieval subjects—new ideal of naturalism Raphael—rejected because of conventional perspectives Paint from nature, in open air, photographic quality Questions about representing sacred subjects with naturalistic models

13 Pre-Raphaelitism Reconceiving artists’ relationship to society Connecting paintings and poetry Literary subjects for paintings

14 Christina Rossetti( ) Period of Victoria’s reign Father, exiled Italian patriot, wrote poetry and commentaries on Dante Deterioration of family: father’s health, economic situation, her health Involvement in Anglo-Catholic movement in Church of England Religion—discipline, broken engagements Goblin Market : lyric, narrative fable, ballad, devotional verse (1489) Moral fable for children Connection to Coleridge’s Rime Temptation, sin, redemption Poetry of deferral, deflection, negation, denials, constraints

15 Christina Rossetti( ) Like Dickinson, secret inner space in writing “Song” “The Solitary Reaper” “In an Artist’s Studio”—about Dante Gabriel’s work

16 Victorianisms 1830: Liverpool and Manchester Railway opened, first steam-powered, public railway in the world 1832: The First Reform Bill 1837: Victoria becomes queen 1838: “People’s Charter” issued by Chartist Movement 1846: Corn Laws repealed (abolition of high tariffs on imported grains) 1850: Tennyson succeeds Wordsworth as poet laureate 1851: The Great Exhibition in London 1859: Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species published 1861: Death of Prince Albert 1901: Death of Victoria First Reform Bill—changed class structure, extending right to vote to all males owning property worth 1- pounds or more in annual rent Rights to middle class, not working class

17 Changing Cultures 1830s, 1840s—Time of Troubles 1837 crash Corn Laws—led to exorbitant price of bread, scarcity of food Unemployment, poverty, rioting Chartist movement—extension of right to vote, secret balloting, reforms Social and economic problems due to rapid and unregulated industrialization Working conditions Reactions to changes within the writing Ideas about civilization Optimism about changes as well as anxieties about displacement (1018)

18 Prosperity Time of prosperity under Queen Victoria and Prince Albert—“models of middle-class domesticity and devotion to duty” (1024) Factory Acts—restricted child labor and limited hours of employment “The Age of Improvement” Crystal Palace: modern architectural principles—functionality rather than ornamentation Technological progress and prosperity

19 The Great Exhibition, London, 1851

20 The Crystal Palace

21 The “Woman Question” Limitations to women—could not vote or hold political office Petitions for women’s suffrage introduced in early 1840s but not given right to vote until 1918 Until Married Women’s Property Acts ( ), married women could not own or handle their own property ( ) Could divorce only if adultery as well as cruelty, bigamy, incest, or bestiality were present

22 The “Woman Question” The “Woman Question”—concerning inequalities Educational and employment opportunities limited Texts—novels and prose—advocating women’s new roles: Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure (1895), drawing on Mill’s On Liberty (1859), ideas consistent with Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) The Custody Act of 1839 gave mother the right to petition the court for access to minor children and custody of children under 7 (raised to 16 in 1878) The Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857: civil divorce court, protection order for wife to allow rights to her property Still only utilized by upper class due to expenses but changed laws concerning women’s rights (1032) Factory Acts ( ): regulated conditions of labor in mines and factories, reducing the 16 hour day and banning women from mine work Prostitution, for some, only means, “The Great Social Evil,” “fallen woman”

23 Dualisms Works as governess, popularity in fiction— Jane Eyre (1847) “New Woman” by the 1890s Emancipation of women Changing ideas about the family—traditional roles of women as wives, mothers, and daughters (1607) Characterizations of women: tenderness of understanding, unworldliness and innocence, domestic affection, submissiveness (1608) The “angel in the house”( ): women’s purity and selflessness John Ruskin’s “Of Queens’ Gardens” (1865), divisions between genders, difference Mona Caird—marriage as socially constructed, could be reinvented to guarantee equality and freedom for both man and woman Marriage as “Utopian impossibility” (1631); importance of economical independence (1631)

24 Bicyling into Oblivion Mid-Victorian period—1/4 women in England had jobs; others worked as prostitutes Domestics, seamstresses, factory workers, farm laborers, prostitutes “New Woman” satirized as bicycle-riding, cigarette-smoking, mannish creature; “Gibson Girl” (Charles Dana Gibson) Walter Besant in The Queen’s Reign, changing roles of women Girls “go off by themselves on their bicycles” (1636) Bicycles manufactured in late 1880s No longer “a creature of sweet emotions and pure aspirations, coupled with a complete ignorance of the world, because she already knows all that she wants to know” (1636)

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