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The Victorian Era Poetry.

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Presentation on theme: "The Victorian Era Poetry."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Victorian Era Poetry

2 Queen Victoria Queen at age 18
Graceful and self-assured Longest reign in British history Married German prince, Albert of Saxe-Coburg Had nine children, modest family life provided model of respectability Her reign brought great change to Britain

3 Growth of the British Empire
British Empire included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, Kenya, and India. By the mid-1800s, Great Britain was the largest exporter and importer of goods in the world. It was the primary manufacturer of goods and the wealthiest country in the world. Because of England’s success, the British felt it was their duty to bring English values, laws, customs, and religion to the “savage” races  propaganda for Britain’s ruthless and abusive colonization

4 An Era of Change Industrial Revolution Technological Advancements
Factory system emerged Huge population increase From country side to city life Brought poverty, sickness (lack of sanitation), further emergence of social classes Technological Advancements Steam hammers, railroads and railways, steam ships, telegraph, telephone, photography, geology, astronomy

5 The Industrial Revolution

6 These Changes Brought Economic Progress
Britain became the greatest economical power in the world 1st in manufacturing Created a strong sense of nationalism Go Britain! COLONIZE! Fed propaganda, benevolent maternal figure TRUTH: these countries were robbed of resources and left in terrible poverty; distracted Britains from what was really happening.

7 But this all came with a price
Excessive pollution Lack of hygienic conditions Overcrowded houses Miserable conditions Shared water supplies Epidemics “The Great Stink” Cholera, thyphoid = high mortality rates Smells were awful (from decaying matter) Connect to poetry  despair / critique of finding natural beauty in a modern world surrounded by terrible conditions, critiques of industrialism

8 Another Important Influence
Charles Darwin Theory of Natural Selection Evolution Caused Victorians to question their religion/faith Ongoing struggle with science and faith Connect to poetry  Made Victorians question their religion, poets often explored this idea

9 The Victorians Great moralizers supported: Personal duty Hard work
Decorum Respectability Chastity

10 Victorian = Prude Extreme repression Middle-class
Even furniture legs had to be concealed under heavy cloth not to be suggestive. Middle-class Obsessed with gentility Respectability distinguished the middle from the lower class Connect to poetry  Poets = outward conformity, but poetry often has underlying tones of unrest

11 Decorum Private lives were dominated by an authoritarian father.
Women were subject to male authority. Marry Make the home a “refuge” for husbands

12 So…What has “Victorian” come to mean?
Improved standards of morality and decency The prosperity of the nation as a whole Immense industrial and scientific development An attitude of proper behavior (and lack of humor) Unquestioning acceptance of authority and “proper” behavior

13 What about the poets? Through their poetry…
Confirmed what Victorians valued Pointed out problems in their society Implicitly critiqued / exposed society’s problems or misdirections

14 Major Themes Role of Women Religion
Struggle for independence Religion Uncertain faith / search for inner peace and reconciliation with God and Man in the modern world Spiritual peace in an industrial world Restraint / respectability Isolation / alienation / despair

15 Alfred, Lord Tennyson Most popular Victorian poet Narrative poems
Extensive use of classical and medieval legends Favorite of Queen Victoria Most quoted writer in everyday English speech. Illustrates the age in his feeling for order and his tendency to moralizing and to self-indulgent melancholy. REVEALS conflict with religion and science.

16 Robert Browning Raised DRAMATIC MONOLOGUES to new heights
Made it a vehicle for deep psychological study People from historical past reveal their thoughts/loves as if they are speaking aloud Tells of a key moment in the life of a person Poems show dislike of anyone who wastes life instead of working hard

17 Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Married to Robert Browning Poetry was much more popular than his At the time: “Finest woman poet in English Literature” Wrote love sonnets Valued for their lyric beauty Interesting Fact: Her father never wanted her (or any of his children) to marry. Robert wrote her a letter stating how much he loved her poetry, and they finally eloped together after many exchanges. They lived a happy marriage.

18 Gerard Manley Hopkins Most complex
New style: “sprung rhythm” (natural rhythms in which people speak) Work was never published in his lifetime Did not make an impact until many years later The “terrible sonnets” – show him torn between his love of the world and his obligation to God. Endured many “black hours” of spiritual anguish and frustration.

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