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The Victorian Period 1833-1901

Victorian Poetry

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The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence for Britain.[citation needed] Some scholars date the beginning of the period in terms of sensibilities and political concerns to the passage of the Reform Act 1832.

Text of Victorian Poetry

The Victorian Period 1833-1901

Victorian PeriodThe Queen This period is named after Queen Victoria who was crowned queen in 1837 at the age of 18. She ruled for more than 60 yearsthe longest reign in British history.

Victorian PeriodCharacteristics The Victorian age encompassed years of unprecedented economic, technical, and political expansion and dramatic social change. Imperialism was at its peak. A strong middle class arose with a strict moral tone. It was at this time that the tea party became an important feature in middle class Victorian life.

Victorian PeriodCharacteristics The people of this period acted rather prudish, yet this was a time of the largest amount of published pornography. There was a loss of individualism. People believed they could improve themselves through rational thought earnestness. They strived to do their best at all times.

Victorian PeriodCharacteristics This is a very Christian society. They were very nervous about scientific discovery, especially Darwin linking humans and animals. They wanted a strict dichotomy between humans and animals. Humans--have aspects that lift them above beasts such as education, refinement, manners, art, religion, familial love, etc.

Victorian PeriodCharacteristicsAnimals--are things that threaten self control ad need to be repressed. They represent sexuality and that should be repressed. There is a shift from a modest to a passionless society; even if you are married, there was thought to be no pleasure in sex.

Victorian PeriodCharacteristics There is a clear dichotomy between man and woman. Women--domestic, emotional, they are a temptation and a threat. Men--rational thinkers, all business.

Victorian PeriodReforms Reforms were achieved because of a growing social consciousness. Slavery was abolished in the British Empire and child labor laws began to reform working conditions. Britain was coming closer to universal suffrage laws for all. Free trade was more agreed upon to help with famine conditions caused by the potato blight and a ruined wheat crop.

Victorian PeriodRealism In the literature of this time period romanticism continued to influence Victorian writing, but realism increasingly took hold. Realism sought to capture everyday life as it was lived.

Victorian PeriodRealism Instead of turning away from science and industry, as Romanticism had done, realism focused on the effects of the Industrial Revolution, often bringing social problems to public attention.

Victorian PeriodNaturalism Naturalism, an offshoot of realism that viewed nature and society as forces indifferent to human suffering, also became a common writing style. Naturalism sought to put the spirit of scientific observation to literary use by portraying nature as harsh and indifferent to the human suffering it caused.

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Tennyson Tennyson was, the voice and sometimes . . . the conscience of his age. Today he is considered one of the greatest English poets, admired for both his control of language and his ability to evoke a sense of longing and loss.

Tennyson While at Cambridge Tennyson became best friends with Arthur Hallam, who later became engaged to Tennysons sister. Unfortunately, in 1831, while Hallam was traveling in Europe, he died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage. Tennyson was devastated and refused to publish for the next 9 years. He did, however, continue to write and poured his grief into his poetry.

Tennyson He published In Memoriam a collection of elegies for Hallam, and this was a great success. Queen Victoria asked him to become the nations poet laureate, replacing Wordsworth who had just passed away.

Tennyson In 1883,Tennyson was made baron and thus added the title Lord to his name. He was the first poet ever to be made a noble.

Robert Browning (1812-1889)

Robert Browning Robert Browning is best known for his dramatic monologuesa type of poem in which a fictional speaker addresses a silent listener about a critical experience in his or her life. He wrote many plays during this time; however, they were not well received.

Robert Browning In 1846 Robert married Elizabeth Barrett, a poet whose fame greatly exceeded his own at this time. They eloped and moved to Florence. Elizabeth died in 1861, and Robert moved back to England.

Robert Browning He wrote Dramatis Personnae in 1868 about a 17th century Italian murder trial. It was this long poem that won Robert great acclaim.

Robert Browning Brownings dramatic monologues have greatly influenced many twentiethcentury poets. Today, he is admired not only for these complex psychological portraits, but also for his masterly blending of natural speech rhythms.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

Barrett Browning Elizabeth suffered from fragile health, was the eldest of 12 children, and had a tyrannical father. Her father forbade all of his children to marry. However, she secretly married Robert Browning, who was 6 years Elizabeths junior.

Barrett Browning Elizabeth wrote great poetry. Sonnets from the Portuguese have become the most popular love poems in English literature. These 44 sonnets were written to Robert during their courtship. Since they were extremely personal and she did not want people to know she wrote them, she used this title to disguise the personal nature of the sonnets by implying that they were translated from another language.

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)

Arnold Of all the great Victorian poets, Matthew Arnold strikes twentieth century readers as the most modern. The persistent theme of his poems peoples isolation and alienation from nature and from one anotherhas been echoed by many writers and thinkers of our own age.

Arnold It was his belief that the role of literature was to inspire and rejoice the reader: that is convey a charm and infuse delight. In his poetry Arnold deals with the loneliness of humankind in an indifferent universe.