quinta-feira, 28 de novembro de 2013

THE VICTORIAN ERA Organized by Francisco Vaz Brasil

Organized by Francisco Vaz Brasil 

     The Victorian era was a period (1837-1901) of dramatic change that brought England to its highest point of development as a world power. The rapid growth of London, for example, from a population of 2 million when Victoria came to the throne to one of 6.5 million by the time of Victoria's death, indicates the dramatic transition from a way of life based on the ownership of land to a modern urban economy. England experienced an enormous increase in wealth, but rapid and unregulated industrialization brought a host of social and economic problems.  At Victoria Era England had an extraordinary progress
     The early Victorian period (1830–48) saw the opening of Britain’s first railway and its first Reform Parliament, but it was also a time of economic distress. The Reform Bill of 1832 extended voting privileges to men of the lower middle classes and redistributing parliamentary representation more fairly. Yet the economic and social difficulties associated with industrialization made the 1830s and 1840s a “Time of Troubles,” characterized by unemployment, desperate poverty, and rioting.  The Chartists, an organization of workers, helped create an atmosphere open to further reform.  The “condition of England” became a central topic for novelists including Charles Kingsley, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Benjamin Disraeli in the 1840s and early 1850s.
     Although the mid- Victorian period (1848–70) was not free of harassing problems, it was a time of prosperity, optimism, and stability.  The achievements of modern industry and science were celebrated at the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park (1851). Enormous investments of people, money, and technology created the British Empire.  Many English people saw the expansion of empire as a moral responsibility, and missionary societies flourished.  At the same time, however, there was increasing debate about religious belief. 
     In the later period (1870–1901) the costs of Empire became increasingly apparent, and England was confronted with growing threats to its military and economic preeminence.  A variety of socialist movements gained force, some influenced by the revolutionary theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.  The literature of the 1890s is characterized by self-conscious melancholy and aestheticism, but also saw the beginnings of the modernist movement. 
     Literacy increased significantly in the period, Victorian novels seek to represent a large and comprehensive social world, constructing a tension between social conditions and the aspirations of the hero or heroine.  Writing in the shadow of Romanticism, the Victorians developed a poetry of mood and character.  Victorian poetry tends to be pictorial, and often uses sound to convey meaning.  The theater, a flourishing and popular institution throughout the period, was transformed in the 1890s by the comic masterpieces of George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde.  Very different from each other, both took aim at Victorian pretense and hypocrisy.
     The Victorian era became notorious for employing young children in factories, mines and as chimney sweeps. Several Factory Acts were passed to prevent the exploitation of children in the work place.
     The impetus of the Industrial Revolution had already occurred, but it was during this period that the full effects of industrialization made themselves felt, leading to the mass consumer society of the 20th century. The revolution led to the rise of railways across the country and great leaps forward in engineering, most famously by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Another great engineering feat in the Victorian Era London's water supply network was expanded and improved, and gas reticulation for lighting and heating was introduced in the 1880s.  Although initially developed in the early years of the 19th century, gas lighting became widespread during the Victorian era in industry, homes, public buildings and the streets. The invention of the incandescent gas mantle in the 1890s greatly improved light output and ensured its survival as late as the 1960s. Hundreds of gasworks were constructed in cities and towns across the country. In 1882, incandescent electric lights were introduced to London streets, although it took many years before they were installed everywhere.
     Victorian literature is the literature produced during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) and corresponds to the Victorian era. It forms a link and transition between the writers of the romantic period and the very different literature of the 20th century.
     The 19th century saw the novel become the leading form of literature in English. The works by pre-Victorian writers such as Jane Austen and Walter Scott had perfected both closely-observed social satire and adventure stories. Popular works opened a market for the novel amongst a reading public. The 19th century is often regarded as a high point in British literature as well as in other countries such as France, the United States of America and Russia. Books, and novels in particular, became ubiquitous, and the Victorian novelist created legacy works with continuing appeal.
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