Loading presentation...

Present Remotely

Send the link below via email or IM


Present to your audience

Start remote presentation

  • Invited audience members will follow you as you navigate and present
  • People invited to a presentation do not need a Prezi account
  • This link expires 10 minutes after you close the presentation
  • A maximum of 30 users can follow your presentation
  • Learn more about this feature in our knowledge base article

Do you really want to delete this prezi?

Neither you, nor the coeditors you shared it with will be able to recover it again.


The Victorian Age

No description

Roberta Nobili

on 14 December 2013

Comments (0)

Please log in to add your comment.

Report abuse

Transcript of The Victorian Age

Socio-historical background
The Victorian Compromise
The particular situation which saw prosperity and progress on the one hand and poverty, ugliness, injustice on the other. The Victorians were aware of the evils of their age but thought they were temporary.
Cultural background
key values:
earnestness, morality, decency, sobriety, virtue, decorum (the Victorian family) -> hypocrisy
utilitarianism: social philosophy developed by Bentham: utility lay in "ensuring the greatest happiness of the greatest number" -> democratic reforms, but also a materialistic view of man (factual education in schools: useful facts against emotions), materialism and vulgarity.

Literary background
The years of optimism -Early Victorians
: Romantic attitudes (love for nature and interest in society): Tennyson and Browning, The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (D. G. Rossetti: subjective feelings and beauty, medievalism)
: pre-eminence of the novel to express aspirations, hopes and fears:
spread of popular literature, new printing technology: monthly instalments in periodicals -> the social-realistic novel entertained the readers and opened their eyes as to the injustices, inhumanity and institutions of the Victorian age (DICKENS)
The Romantic novel: the Brontee sisters
The essayists: Arnold and Ruskin's exhaltation of beauty against the materialistic and utilitarian society paved the way for the works of Pater and the Aesthetic movement.


Optimism, prosperity, confidence
Advances in technology (railway,telegraph, photograph, electricity) -> The Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park in 1851
Advances in education (The Education Act: free compulsory elementary school - 1870)
Philanthropy for the poor
Some reforms: Mines Act, Factory Act (1833 -prevented children from being employed more than 48 hours a week),Ten Hours' Bill (1847 - limited the working hours to ten a day for all workers), Poor Laws (1834 - refused outdoor relief to those people who could not support themselves by admitting them to a workhouse); II Reform Bill (1867 - right to vote to working men in towns), III Reform Bill (1884 - vote to agricultural workers and miners), Trade Unions Act (1871 - granting legal status to trade unions)
The Empire (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, South Africa)
the wars: The Crimean War (1854-56): Britain, France and the kingdom of Piedmont side with Turkey against Russia- to check Russian expansionism over the Dardanels - Florence Nightingale, 'the Lady with the Lamp', volunteered to lead the nursing team and , once back in England, she formed an institution for the training of nurses), The Boer War (1899-1902):The British against the Dutch Afrikaaners -people of Dutch origin-, who opposed the British expansion in Africa.; the war ended with the conversion of the Boer republics into British colonies (with a promise of limited self-governance)
Pessimism & Doubt
Industrialization brought social problems
(the SLUMS, the exploitation of workers, pollution, a materialistic view of men)
Similarities between the novel and the film:

Both the film and the novel describe a voyage in the heart of horror, in one case the horror of the war, since Coppola expresses a judgement on American intervention in the Vietnam War; in the other the horror of colonization, as Conrad develops the issue of colonial exploitation in the Congo.
They both speak about good and evil that fight in men's soul. Kurtz symbolizes the evil, the black side of human beings when they express their animal instinct through violence and exploitation.

" Apocalypse Now”

Captain Willard is sent into the Vietnam jungle with orders to find Colonel Kurtz who has set up his own army there. As he sails down the river on a patrol boat, he is slowly overtaken by the magnetic powers of the environment, the battles and insanity which surround him. His crew are slowly killed off one by one. As Willard continues his journey he becomes more and more like the man he was sent to kill. In fact, at the end, in the darkest part of the jungle, he meets Kurtz, who is neither a man, nor a soldier, but a cruel savage.

" Apocalypse Now”

Film : USA - 1979
director: Francis Ford Coppola
based on Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness“
starring: Marlon Brando, as Colonel Kurtz; Martin Sheen, as Captain Willard; Robert Duvall, as Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore

" Apocalypse Now”

a company agent who had managed to supply more ivory than the other agents
from " a very remarkable person", "an emissary of pity, and science, and progress” to a sort of idol for the natives
seriously ill
required by the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs to write a report with the noble ideals that had initially brought him to Africa, but which he ended with the postscript: "Exterminate all the brutes!"
died whispering the ambiguous words: "The horror! The horror!”


the narrative framework: an expedition to bring back an agent named Antoine Kleine, who was ill and died on the return journey

set at the end of the 19th century

the story is told by Marlow, a sailor who, together with the passengers of the "Nellie", is waiting for the tide which will let the ship sail from London: he talks about his first commission for a Belgian company involved in the ivory trade in the Congo. It was there that he heard Kurtz's name for the first time.

"Heart of Darkness”

regarded his Congo Free State as a personal territorial possession
pursued his Congo interests in the name of philanthropy and anti-slavery
stated that the agents of the State had to accomplish the noble mission to continue the development of civilization in Africa gradually reducing the primitive barbarism and fighting sanguinary customs
set up concession companies controlled by his personal representatives
instituted a "labour tax" on natives in the form of forty hours per month of forced labour
Conrad’s short novel
" Heart of Darkness”

one of the earliest attacks on European colonialism as a whole and most disturbing criticisms of the effect of European colonization of Africa
based on the writer's own experiences in the Congo, then ruled by Belgium and exploited by Leopold II
a nightmarish vision of the Empire, and one that is generally considered as a watershed in the literature on this subject

Conrad’s short novel
" Heart of Darkness”

Colonization took two main forms:

The long reign of Queen Victoria was a period of prosperity, technological advance and of imperial expansion for military and commercial reasons
The British Empire reached the height of its power and influence and was seen as the symbol of national greatness

The socio-historical background to Conrad's novel "Heart of Darkness“
the Victorian Age (1837-1901) and the building of the British Empire

the title of the film The APOCALYPSE (which is the final chapter of the New Testament, portraying a war in the heavens, a battle between the forces of good and evil) of humanity can come, if men allow this horror to prevail

" Apocalypse Now”

Differences between the novel and the film:
The film is set in Vietnam, Conrad's novel in Congo.
In the film Kurtz is a soldier, in Conrad he is an agent of the Belgian Company involved in the trade of ivory.
The name of the narrator in the film is Willard, in Conrad it is Marlow.
Willard's task is to kill Kurtz, Marlow's is to carry raw ivory from the heart of Congo to the coast.
In the film Kurtz is believed to have changed mysteriously, in Conrad's novel he has become a sort of idol for the natives.

" Apocalypse Now”

" Apocalypse Now”




The second form of colonization

inspired particularly powerful feelings and thoughts about national identity and race
was directly responsible for the popularity of a number of writers of the period

"colonies of settlement”, which saw massive migration to the white communities in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, where the inhabitants were dispossessed, outnumbered and marginalized by incoming Britons and European immigrants

the situation in Asia, particularly India, and in the continent of Africa, where the local populations were not supplanted but ruled by a minority of Britons, who formed a ruling caste, convinced of their innate superiority and right to rule
the ID or the man who yields to his irrational impulses (Kurtz)

the EGO or the rational, practical man (Marlow)

The two levels of interpretation
of the title "Heart of Darkness”

a journey to the colonies
(a physical journey to equatorial Africa, "Darkest Africa“)

a journey of psychological exploration
(a psychological journey into the self, human dualism and the ambiguity of human nature)

has yielded himself to the appeal of darkness, and has indulged in acts of lust and extreme cruelty

strives to hold on to the feelings of sanity and normality to which he has been accustomed

Kurtz and Marlow

The effect of the Dark Continent

Marlow Kurtz

The idea of racial superiority was linked to moral responsibility:
the 'white man's duty',
or better
'the white man's burden'

the unrivalled chronicler of British imperialism
a convinced believer in Britain's imperial role

The writer who helped to create
the 'myth of the Empire' was Rudyard Kipling

turning point: 1859 Darwin's 'On the Origin of the Species' led to pessimism and loss of faith, to the questioning of religious certainties and beliefs
New theories:
Taine: man is the product of three factors (the race, the environment and the pressures of the past -> heredity and determinism)
Schopenhauer: God and Free Will are human illusions
Marx: socialism.
Anti-Victorian reaction: attack on the materialistic and hypocritical society (need for beauty: Ruskin, Morris; Gautier's 'art for art's sake'; Wilde's plays)

The years of pessimism - Late Victorians
pessimism (Hardy' poems)

Naturalism (the naturalistic, regional novel) -> HARDY
Aestheticism (WILDE)
the Empire (CONRAD)

Ibsen and Shaw (comedies of ideas)
Wilde (the society plays)
Authors & texts
a character made of two sides:
good and evil
They represent the theme of 'the double‘:
He can also be seen as one of the main forerunners of Modernism due to his original use of the shifting point of view and his treatment of time in his novella 'Heart of Darkness' (transitional period)
Presentation by
Roberta Nobili
Full transcript