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Thread: victorian literature

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    Exclamation victorian literature

    I would like to know which were the main ideas of victorians. Any help would be highly appreciated!!

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    Oh, this has been covered quite a lot before, you may find it profitable searching for old posts (though admittedly I never seem to find much that way). Maybe you should explain what you are looking for in a bit more detail too?

    However, you could do much worse than to look to Darwin, Marx and Freud, the three of them only shook the whole foundation of Victorian society completely, that old industrial revolution was noticed a wee bit too.

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    Asa Nisi Masa mayneverhave's Avatar
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    Victorian literature, in a broad sense, was a reaction against Romantic literature, which was, in turn, a reaction against the Neo-Classical Restoration period, and so on.

    Important figures include Tennyson, Wilde, Browning, Arnold, Hopkins (arguably), the Bronte sisters, Houseman, George Eliot, Rossetti, and Dickens (ewww).

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    Victorian writers, much like writers and authors today, were writing for that terrible stuff we call money, not for some strange altruisitic ideal. Dickens wasn't writing about London because he wanted to change it, but merely because he knew that it would sell. You could even argue that he was anti-Semitic, in that he had Fagin hanged, but no, it was just that it was good salacious stuff. Don't forget that the Victorians, with all their prurience, still invented photographic pornography, and you could hardly accuse that of altruism! Moolah, Dyengi, Cash, Shekels, Wedge, call it what you will.......
    Dafydd Manton, A Legend In His Own Lunchtime!! www.dafydd-manton.co.uk

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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Maybe for the more early Victorian period and (probably) female authors: what is a good marriage and relationships in general. Rules and conventions concerning it. (Bront addressed this, but also Hardy, Auste is not Victorian, but 19th century)

    Gothic fiction was also a big genre. Frankenstein and Dracula being the main survivors (if I am right). The supernatural in general was very important to them.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'me ne se vide ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scne VII)

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    Dreaming away Sapphire's Avatar
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    I have got the book "Jude the Obscure" by Hardy (as Kiki mentioned) in front of me and the cover says
    The novel that shocked the Victorian world
    So I guess, if you want to know what was "shockable" in those days, this book might be the one to read It was not written untill 1894 though, so that's quite late into the Victorian era. Plus it is argued not to be Hardy's best book. I do not know about the latter, as I have not read anything else that he wrote.

    Any way, it was just a thought. For "the main ideas of the victorians" I think you just have to open a history book and read about that era... A book on literature in Victorian times would probably clear things up .
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire View Post
    [color="blue"]I have got the book "Jude the Obscure" by Hardy (as Kiki mentioned) in front of me and the cover says

    So I guess, if you want to know what was "shockable" in those days, this book might be the one to read It was not written untill 1894 though, so that's quite late into the Victorian era. Plus it is argued not to be Hardy's best book. I do not know about the latter, as I have not read anything else that he wrote.
    I would like to argue with the person who thinks that this is not Hardy's best novel, it is an outstanding work and one of his best, if not the very best thing he ever wrote.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neely View Post
    I would like to argue with the person who thinks that this is not Hardy's best novel, it is an outstanding work and one of his best, if not the very best thing he ever wrote.
    You beat me to it Neely, I was going to say the same thing .

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    Dreaming away Sapphire's Avatar
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    I am sorry, I can't help you there. It is something I remember being told once, maybe just in a general discussion, maybe in literature class (though I doubt it, we didn't read anything from the Victorian era). The message stuck to my brains, not the messenger.
    If it ever comes back to me, I'll let you know.

    Ok, found this: top 100 books BBC. 2 Of Hardy's books are on it, not Jude the Obscure.
    I understand this doesn't say much, just that there are people out there who either love his other books more or have not read Jude yet...
    Last edited by Sapphire; 03-12-2009 at 06:38 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayneverhave
    Victorian literature, in a broad sense, was a reaction against Romantic literature, which was, in turn, a reaction against the Neo-Classical Restoration period, and so on.
    Agreed, and I feel that so many readers blend the two far too much! I believe that Romanticism gave rise to the Victorians, and seemed a necessary prerequisite, but every new trend will contradict the former, which distinguishes the differences.

    As dafydd manton mentioned, Victorian literature, as opposed to Romantic literature, seemed much more for profit rather than creating art for art's sake; there exist a few exceptions, but very few. In this time of the Industrial Revolution, everything ended up so much more Earth-based, rather than ethereal, as we see in Romanticism. Perhaps I have studied more Victorian poetry than actual fictional literature, but before Victorianism, everything had bases in mythology, allusions, dreams, memories, aesthetics, and the art of using words (of what sounded good). After Romanticism met the grave, the farthest the mind would travel would not reach the metaphysical, but only distant lands; on the contrary of everything seeming Earth-based in Victorianism, there existed many intense emotions and no shame in expressing them - take any Dickens or Hardy novel, for example.

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    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire View Post
    I am sorry, I can't help you there. It is something I remember being told once, maybe just in a general discussion, maybe in literature class (though I doubt it, we didn't read anything from the Victorian era). The message stuck to my brains, not the messenger.
    If it ever comes back to me, I'll let you know.

    Ok, found this: top 100 books BBC. 2 Of Hardy's books are on it, not Jude the Obscure.
    I understand this doesn't say much, just that there are people out there who either love his other books more or have not read Jude yet...
    I think that was in the top 200 though.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire View Post

    Ok, found this: top 100 books BBC. 2 Of Hardy's books are on it, not Jude the Obscure.
    I understand this doesn't say much, just that there are people out there who either love his other books more or have not read Jude yet...
    Yes you're right it doesn't say much, in fact it says very little. The general public offer no benchmark to judging quality as can been seen with many of the "top" selections like Jeffery Archer? There is nothing wrong with a list for a bit of fun, just to see what the public does think, that's fine, but of course critically it is completely worthless.

  13. #13
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    Question What the Victorians invented...

    Am I allowed to mention the Viking/old Northern enthusiasms or is that a bit too niche? Walter Scott's 'The Pirate, Morris's 'Sigurd the Volsung' and 'The Lovers of Gudrun'... It's all exciting stuff!

    Penguin xxxxx

  14. #14
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    I agree. The middleages were a big hit: from buildings to writing... And then of course all the things about the germanic tribes with that...

    Maybe also celtic background?

    I suppose there is something like early Victorian and late Victorian. So the reaction against romantic literature earlier mentioned was a part of the later period (1860?). Bront for example and a few others still wrote with a lot of emotion for emotion's sake. But as time went on there were issues coming from the Industrial Revolution that could not be ignored.
    The romantic period really started in Germany and took it to the extreme. By the time it had really filtered through in England, it was severely toned down. But even then, it is still romantic literature, and part of the Victorian era (after 1837).

    Other than that the Victorian era covers a vast period and so encompasses at least three different 19th century style periods: Romanticism, Realism, Naturalism. Which of course does not mean that the Victorian era did not have its own themes: marriage, society (chianging it), middleclasses, Industrial Revolution, poverty; which occur all through those different style periods.

    I would agree that, as time went on, there was more emotional restraint going on. but to call the whole of Victorian literature a reacton against Romanticism I think is a bit far...
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'me ne se vide ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scne VII)

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    Literature Fiend Mariamosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neely View Post
    Yes you're right it doesn't say much, in fact it says very little. The general public offer no benchmark to judging quality as can been seen with many of the "top" selections like Jeffery Archer? There is nothing wrong with a list for a bit of fun, just to see what the public does think, that's fine, but of course critically it is completely worthless.
    Yes I agree with Neely on this one.

    The two Hardy books on this list were 'Tess of the d'Ubervilles' (which I haven't read, but is on my list) and 'Far From the Madding Crowd'.
    In my opinion I would put 'Jude the Obscure' and 'Mayor of Casterbridge' over the latter of those two anyday. Although this is just my opinion.. as part of the general public.
    -Mariamosis

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