2 Queen Victoria Queen at age 18 Graceful and self-assuredLongest reign in BritishhistoryMarried German prince, Albert of Saxe-CoburgHad nine children, modest family life provided model of respectabilityHer 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 Britainwas the largest exporter andimporter of goods in the world.It was the primary manufacturer ofgoods and the wealthiest countryin 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 emergedHuge population increaseFrom country side to city lifeBrought poverty, sickness (lack of sanitation), further emergence of social classesTechnological AdvancementsSteam hammers, railroads and railways, steam ships, telegraph, telephone, photography, geology, astronomy
6 These Changes Brought Economic Progress Britain became the greatest economical power in the world1st in manufacturingCreated a strong sense of nationalismGo 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 pollutionLack of hygienic conditionsOvercrowded housesMiserable conditionsShared water suppliesEpidemics “The Great Stink”Cholera, thyphoid = high mortality ratesSmells 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 DarwinTheory of Natural SelectionEvolutionCaused Victorians to questiontheir religion/faithOngoing struggle with scienceand faithConnect to poetry Made Victorians question their religion, poets often explored this idea
9 The Victorians Great moralizers supported: Personal duty Hard work DecorumRespectabilityChastity
10 Victorian = Prude Extreme repression Middle-class Even furniture legs had to beconcealed under heavy clothnot to be suggestive.Middle-classObsessed with gentilityRespectability distinguishedthe middle from the lower classConnect 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.MarryMake the home a “refuge” for husbands
12 So…What has “Victorian” come to mean? Improved standards of morality and decencyThe prosperity of the nation as a wholeImmense industrial and scientific developmentAn 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 valuedPointed out problems in their societyImplicitly critiqued / exposed society’s problems or misdirections
14 Major Themes Role of Women Religion Struggle for independenceReligionUncertain faith / search for inner peace and reconciliation with God and Man in the modern worldSpiritual peace in an industrial worldRestraint / respectabilityIsolation / alienation / despair
15 Alfred, Lord Tennyson Most popular Victorian poet Narrative poems Extensive use of classical and medieval legendsFavorite of Queen VictoriaMost quoted writer ineveryday 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 studyPeople from historical past reveal their thoughts/loves as if they are speaking aloudTells of a key momentin the life of a personPoems show dislike ofanyone who wastes lifeinstead of working hard
17 Elizabeth Barrett Browning Married to Robert BrowningPoetry was much more popular than hisAt the time: “Finest woman poet in English Literature”Wrote love sonnetsValued for their lyric beautyInteresting Fact:Her father never wanted her (or any of his children) tomarry. Robert wrote her a letter stating how much heloved her poetry, and they finally eloped together aftermany 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 lifetimeDid not make an impact untilmany years laterThe “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.