Philosophy and Values of the Victorians/

Characteristics of Victorian Literature

 

Values

Major Ideas

Literary
Form/  
Structure

Literary Content/ Themes

Literary
Genres/ Styles

Key Authors

Earnestness

Expansion of Empire

Narrative over Lyric

Isolation/ Alienation

Dramatic
Monologue

Lord Tennyson

Respectability

Glorification of War

Meter and Rhythm over Imagery

Lack of communication

Novel
Elegy
magazines

The Brontes

Oscar Wilde

Evangelism

Industrialism

Objective; reflective

Pessimism and despair

Drama: Comedy of Manners

Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning

Evolution and Progress

Economic Prosperity

Melancholy or meditative, even in love poems

Loss of faith

Rigid standards of personal behavior

Charles Dickens

Hypocrisy?

Reform

Moral issues, didactic

Didactic

High moral tone

Thomas Carlyle

Protestant work ethic

 

Contemporary subjects

 

 

Charles Darwin

Restraint

 

Longer over shorter forms

 

 

Matthew Arnold

Utilitarianism

Strong emphasis on duty

 

More common expressions

 

 

Dante Gabriel and Christina Rosetti

 

 

Medieval subjects and forms

 

 

 Rudyard Kipling

 

Romantic/Victorian Contrasts

 

Romantic Era

Victorian Era

Idealism

Visionary/Utopian

Sober/Utilitarian

View of Nature

Kind/Harmonious

Harsh/Cruel

Focus

Inward/Individual
Common man
Imagination

Introspection

Outward/Nation
Middle class
Reality
Work

Philosophy

Transcendentalism

Utilitarianism

More Victoriana

Key Metaphor

Struggle or strife

Key Theme

Theory of evolution leads to crisis of faith  
Intellectual and spiritual doubt antidote is work

Growing social
consciousness

Reform movements child labour, safety, hours
Women demand emancipation, enfranchisement, evolution

Victorian Trinity

Religion, science, morality

Nationalism

Britain first great modern industrial nation

Poets

Feel alienated, betrayed estranged from life and love so isolate themselves no groups or friends