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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” –Charles dickens.

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Presentation on theme: "“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” –Charles dickens."— Presentation transcript:

1 “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” –Charles dickens

2  The Victorian Age—the era when “the sun never set on the British Empire”, a time when the upper classes of Britain felt their society was the epitome of prosperity, progress, and virtue—Dickens’s words, however, apply to his own Victorian age.  The Victorian Era was a time of contrasts—poverty as well as prosperity, degrading manual labor as well as technological progress, and depravity as well as virtue.

3  The last seventy years of the 19th century were named for the long-reigning Queen Victoria.Queen Victoria  The beginning of the Victorian Era may be rounded off to 1830 although many scholars mark the beginning from the passage of the first Reform Bill in 1832Reform Bill  Victoria was only eighteen when her uncle William IV died and, having no surviving legitimate children, left the crown to his niece.

4  Although by the 19th century Britain was a constitutional monarchy and the queen held little governing power, Victoria set the moral and political tone of her century. She became a symbol of decency, decorum, and duty.  Three years into her reign, Victoria married her first cousin Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Prince Albert, although he had no actual power in the government, became one of Victoria’s chief advisors and a proponent of technological development in Britain.Prince Albert  Together the couple had nine children who married into many of Europe’s royal and noble families. Victoria and Albert were considered the model of morality and respectable family life.

5  As an advocate of Victorian progress in science and industry, Prince Albert commissioned The Great Exhibition of 1851, a type of world’s fair where all the countries in the British Empire had displays and Britain could show off its prosperity to the rest of the world. Great Exhibition of 1851  Prince Albert’s Great Exhibition of 1851 focused attention on the technological advances made during the Industrial Revolution.

6  The 1850s were to many a time of optimism, with the promise of prosperity from industry seemingly so close. So too was England proud of its science and technology, as is evidenced by the Crystal Palace, centerpiece of the Great Exhibition of  The Crystal Palace was designed using modern architectural principles and materials, and its role in the Great Exhibition was to showcase English "progress" made possible by science and industry.

7  Queen Victoria embodied ideals of virtue, modesty, and honor. In fact, the term Victorian has in the past been almost a synonym for prim, prudish behavior.  However, at the same time, London and other British cities had countless gaming halls which provided venues not just for gambling but also opium dens and prostitution. With the influx of population into the cities, desperate working class women turned to prostitution in attempts to support themselves and their children.opium densprostitution

8  In addition, working conditions in factories were deplorable.  With no safety regulations and no laws limiting either the number of hours people could be required to work or the age of factory workers, some factory owners were willing to sacrifice the well-being of their employees for greater profit.  Children as young as five worked in factories and mines.

9 The 1833 Factory Act outlawed the employment of people under age eighteen at night, from 8:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. and limited the number of hours those under eighteen could work to twelve hours a day.1833 Factory Act

10  For the first time, textile factory owners were forbidden to employ children under the age of nine. Children under age eleven could not work more than nine hours a day. The 1833 Factory Act also stipulated that children working in factories attend some type of school.

11  The Industrial Revolution completely changed the lifestyle of Victorian Britain.  Hostility was created between the upper and lower class  There was a huge boost in the middle and working class as a result of industrialism

12  Despite the fact that the Reform Bills of 1832 and 1867 changed voting rights by granting a political voice to many among the working class who had not enjoyed any such voice before, women were not included in these reforms.  In fact, despite its having been an era of great social change, the Victorian period (particularly its early and middle periods) saw little progress for women's rights. Women had limited access to education, could not vote or hold public office, and could not (until 1870) own property.

13 By 1907, clothing was increasingly factory-made and often sold in large, fixed price department stores. Custom sewing and home sewing were still significant, but on the decline. New machinery and materials changed clothing in many ways. -New materials from far-flung British colonies gave rise to new types of clothing -Chemists developed new, cheap, bright dyes that displaced the old animal or vegetable dyesChemistsdyes

14  The scientific and technological advances celebrated at the Great Exhibition of 1851 led to another crisis in Victorian England: a crisis of faith and doubt.  In 1859, Charles Darwin published his On the Origin of Species which introduced natural selection.  Debates about the age of the earth for some called into question the Genesis account of creation.

15  At the same time, a conviction that Britain had a duty to spread Christianity around the world became one reason, or to some an excuse, for British imperialism.  A desire to expand industrial wealth and to have access to inexpensive raw materials led to the British occupation of countries around the globe.  Although the United States and other European countries participated in this type of imperialism, the British Empire was the largest and wealthiest of its time. imperialismBritish Empire

16  Along with their desire for material gain, many British saw the expansion of the British Empire as what Rudyard Kipling referred to as “the white man’s burden,” the responsibility of the British to bring their civilization and their way of life to what many considered inferior cultures. Rudyard Kipling referred to as “the white man’s burden,”  The result of this type of reasoning was often the destruction of local cultures and the oppression of local populations.

17  As of 1837 roughly half of England's population was literate; that figure continued to grow throughout the Victorian period (due especially to reforms that mandated at least minimal education for everybody).  Because of advances in printing technology, publishers could provide more texts (of various kinds) to more people.  The Victorian period saw enormous growth in periodicals of all kinds. Many famous novelists, like Charles Dickens, for example, published their work not in book form at first but in serial installments in magazines.

18  During this period of time, theatre became the most popular form of entertainment  The number of theatres built in England doubles between 1850 and 1860, and on a given night in London alone, 150,000 people attend the theatre.  Oscar Wilde revived the comedy of manners with plays such as Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde

19  Although Queen Victoria symbolized decency, decorum, and duty, Victorian society spanned a wide spectrum of prosperity and poverty, education and ignorance, progress and regression  Victorian society wrestled with conflicts of morality, technology and industry, faith and doubt, imperialism, and rights of women and ethnic minorities.  Many Victorian writers addressed both sides of these conflicts in many forms of literature.  Typical forms of Victorian literature include novels, serialized novels, lyric poetry, verse novels, dramatic monologues, non-fiction prose, and drama.


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