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ENGLISH REALISM: THE VICTORIAN ERA (1837-1901)
Transcript of ENGLISH REALISM: THE VICTORIAN ERA (1837-1901)
Realism - a literary movement that started in France in the 1850s as a reaction against Romanticism and which tried to show "life as it was".
In England, this movement coincided (*sutapo) with the "Victorian era", a period ruled by Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
Enormous changes in political and social life: the rise of the British Empire and the Industrial Revolution.
The United Kingdom expanded its borders into America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania and became the first economic and political world power.
"Realism is nothing more and nothing less than the truthful treatment of material." (William Dean Howell)
Romantism vs Realism:
While POEMS dominated the Romantic Period of literature, NOVEL became the most important and popular genre in the Realistic Period.
Authors such as Charles Dickens and George Bernard Shaw created very popular novels/plays.
A branch of realism that emphasizes a specific geographic setting.
It attempts to accurately reproduce the speech, behavior, and attitudes of the people who live in that region.
A branch of realism that attempts to analyze human behavior scientifally.
Human beings - totally subject to the natural laws of the universe.
Aims to depict life as accurately as possible without idealizing or romanticizing it.
The three main branches of
Walter Scott (1771-1832) started out as a writer of Romantic narrative verse and ended up as a historical novelist. He wrote several historical novels, mainly about Scottish history. Ivanhoe (1819).
Realism grew out of a rise in industrialism and urbanization
As a literary movement of the 19th century, “realists based their writing on careful observations of contemporary life, often focusing on the middle or lower classes” .
19th century - sharp contradictions
An age of progress:
- The growth of technological inventions mechanized industry and increased wealth;
- Railways and ships were built;
- Great scientific discoveries were made,
- Education became more widespread;
An age of great social unrest:
- Industrial progress only enriched the property-owning class at the expense of ordinary working people.
- There was too much poverty and injustice: dirty factories, long hours of work, child labour, exploitation, low wages, slums and frequent unemployment.
In 1832, political power was placed in the hands of the bourgeoisie (the wealthiest social class) which ignored the interests of the working class.
The workers fought for their rights and their political demands were expressed in the People's Charter* in 1838. The Chartist Movement was a revolutionary movement of the English workers, the ideas of which attracted writers' attention. They became aware of the social injustices and tried to depict them in their works.
* Tautų Chartija
Representatives of the Realism Period
CHARLES DICKENS (1812-1870)
Walter Scott (1771-1832)
William M. Thackeray (1811-1863)
JANE AUSTEN (1775-1817)
The Brontë sisters - Emily and Charlotte
Oscar Wilde (1854–1900)
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
William Somerset Maugham