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Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

by Dr. Kluwick

by Dr. Kluwick

Kartei Details

Karten 118
Sprache English
Kategorie Literatur
Stufe Universität
Erstellt / Aktualisiert 21.02.2018 / 11.05.2018
Lizenzierung Namensnennung (CC BY)    (Dr. Ursula Kluwick)
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Romantic Period


- freeing literature from its classic constraints

- belief in the power of the imagination --> name from literary genre "romance"

- belief that things could change --> age of revolution

- political: French revolution (Greeted by English liberals --> reign of terror --> repressive measures)

- economic / social: Industrial revolution (new class) --> Urbanization

The Role of Literature in the Romantic period

- Dramatic increase in literacy --> bigger audience --> No longer for small elite

- Technological development, circulating libraries: literature = cheaper / more accessible

- Literature as business

- Conservative and upper class: worried about power of a reading public

- Writers / elite: worried about deterioration of taste

Victorian Period

- Rural to urban

- Industrialization and the global market --> global advantage

- Empire: by 1890, British colonies made up a quarter of global territory

- Inventions: facilitated communication and trade

- Uncertainty of the people

Victorian Period: Key Ideological terms

- moral responsibility and moral purpose

- earnestness

- domestic propriety

- stability

- call to action (social, political, etc.)

- social relations, social responsibility

- national enterprises

Romantic Literature

• Term “literature” acquired modern meaning

• Power of literature to induce change

• Importance of individual expression

• Rejection of classical rules of composition (elegance of diction, precise rules of composition)

Early Victorian Period, ca. 1832-1848

• First Railway

• Reform Parliament

• Rotten Boroughs (depopulated election district that retains its original representation)

• Franchise

• Chartist Movement (Chartism was a working-class movement for political reform in Britain that existed from 1838 to 1857)

• Poverty, Slums


Early Victorian Literature

Condition-of-England novel

• Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-65; North and South), 

• Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881; Sybil, or The Two Nations)

Mid-Victorian Period, 1848-70

• Prosperity and expansion

• Ideal of English energy, wisdom, sense of duty

• Ideal of middle-class domesticity

• Sense of stability, complacency, optimism