Victorian Literature

Victorian Authors


Victorian Literature

By Angelina Grey

The Victorian era or the Victorian period refers to the period of June 1837 to January 1901, as it was the period when Queen Victoria ruled the British Empire. The Victorian era is known as a period of prosperity and development for the British Empire. The period was marked by industrial development, rise of a larger stronger, as well as more educated middle class.

The era was preceded by the Georgian period and succeeded by the Edwardian period. A major feature of the Victorian period however has been the development in the field of art and culture. This period is characterized by intense and prolific adventurism in the field of literature, especially by novelists and poets.

The 19th century was witness to the growth of the novel as the leading form of literature, as far as the English language was concerned. Pieces by pre-Victorian writers like Walter Scott and Jane Austen, had mastered both closely-observed social satire, as well as adventure stories. Popular works were able to set up a market for novels amongst the reading public. The 19th century is many a time considered to be a high point in British literature, along with other countries like the United States of America, France, as well as Russia. Books, along with novels in particular, became omnipresent, and the Victorian novelists were able to churn out masterpieces, with continuous appeal.

Some of the most illustrated and talented Victorian novelists include Robert Browning, Christina Rossetti, Emily Bronte, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Lewis Carroll, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Benjamin Disraeli, George Eliot, George Meredith, H. G. Wells, Bram Stoker, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Gissing, Thomas Hardy, A. E. Housman, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Philip Meadows Taylor, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Anthony Trollope, George MacDonald, G.M. Hopkins, Oscar Wilde and William Thackeray.

Victorian novels, used to be influenced by the large extensive novels of responsiveness of the preceding age. As it is, they often were more of idealized portraits of the difficult lives, where hard work, perseverance, love and luck would win out in the end. They portrayed a scenario, where virtue would be rewarded and the evil would be suitably punished. This formula was a striking feature of the earlier Victorian fiction. The situation, however, became more complex, with the progress of the century. By the 1880s and 90s, books became more realistic and at times even grimmer.

As it is, the Victorian age continues to be a major chapter in the long and illustrious history of the English language. The works of the period are often very relevant in contemporary times.

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