Está en la página 1de 2

The Victorian Compromise The word Victorian, comes from Queen Victoria, that ruled for a century, becoming

the symbol of this period. Victorian Age was characterized by contradictions and problems: on the one hand, there was a state of welfare and progress, a period of stability and richness, but on the other hand, the lower class supported a difficult condition: poverty, injustice and social unrest. This period marked the triumph of the industrial middle classes, with their confidence in progress, their belief in the theory of laissez-faire in economics and utilitarianism in philosophy, their generic philanthropism and sentimentalism, their conventional religious faith and their morality observant of exterior forms and conventions characterised by a prudery that often bordered on the ridiculous. This is what has been called Victorian compromise, that is the utilitarian compromise of a large section of English society that saw industrial development only as a source of prosperity and progress, while it tended to ignore the many social conflicts and problems raised by it. Victorian Values The upper and middle class introduced a few of values to show how should be the society and not how it was in reality. They tried to find solutions to their problems or just to escape from them. The new society is based on: personal duty, responsibility, charity and hard work. The respectability in the upper and middle class had a particular mean: was a mixture of morality and hypocrisy and it was guaranteed just through good manners, comfortable house and regular attendance at church. Philanthropy: was the consequence of the hypocrisy of the society. It was organized as a movement to support the lower class, the fallen women and the stray children. Family: the idea of the family was patriarchal. The husband had the power and authority on all the members of the family, while the wife had the only aim to take care of the house, the children and their education. In fact, Victorians showed a strange prudery: they rejected every forms of sexuality in public and private life. They supported the idea of female chastity and the single women with a child were punished from the law and considered fallen women. They became outcast and were emarginated from the society. This rejection of sexuality influenced the everyday vocabulary, from which was prohibited every sexual connotation, and the art, in which was denunciated the nudity. Patriotism Racial superiority influenced this idea: the British believed on the English superiority on every else races, divided by physical and intellectual differences. They supported the idea that British had a divine power and political supremacy on colonial population, that had the right to impose their superiority. This contradictorily period developed its basis in philosophical and religious movements. Evangelicalism Wesley founded this movement, based on a strict code of behaviour about Sunday observance and the dedication on humanitarian and social causes Utilitarianism Bentham theorized this idea of utilitarianism, according to which, the reason is the solution of every problems. This movements were based on usefulness, happiness and painless life. It influenced by Epicureanism and its tetrapharmacon. Empiricism The utilitarian ideology was attacked by Empiricism, founded by some intellectuals as Dickens or Mill. This movements supported the idea that the legislation had the function in helping men to develop their natural talents. The art and education guaranteed the triumph of mental energy. In fact, they supported the promotion of a series of law and reforms about popular education, trade unions cooperatives, the universal suffrage Darwinism The triumph of scientific discovery introduced a new idea of the Universe and its creation, different from religious one. It became popular the belief of the universe as a being in changing and ruled by the chance. Darwin, through his On the origin of the Universe, introduced the idea that the human beings were the results of a evolution from the apes, and that only the strongest could survived, while the weakest must die. Historical background Queen Victoria Queen Victoria was 18 year-old when she was crowned. At the first time, there was scepticism about the survival of the monarchy. She was helped by Prime Minister Melbourne, and she married her cousin Albert, to who she was devoted. She had nine children, and for 20 years, she ruled England with her husband. After Alberts death, she was devastated: for 4 years, she reigned her country, wearing black dress till her death. She embodied the perfect idea of the Victorian Age: she had great practicality and modesty. She rather a sober domesticity focused on motherhood, family and respectability. During her reign, in

England the triumph of progress had a great role in the society, and it guaranteed the development of an efficient system of government and a consolidated democracy. The Victorian England was created on Queen Victorias personality. She introduced the First Reform Act and through this one, England showed an achievements in its constitutionally society, differently from the other European countries, in which the storm of the revolution destroyed everything. Queen Victoria became the symbol of the middle class for her strict code of behaviour and her prudery. She never overruled Parliament and, she always tried to mediate the two political parties: Liberals and Conservatives. Chartism was an important organization to develop the Peoples Charter, introducing for social reforms. Social reforms The power was concentrated on middle-class hands through the expansion of the industry and trade, but meanwhile, the lower class decided to organize their self in Trade Unions, that were legalized by the Government, creating the Labour Party, a group of workers. The Victorian Age had some problems with the overcrowded urban environment. The low- class people lived in an area called Slums because of squalor, disease and crime in this quarters. There wasnt a state of welfare, but the rate of death was really high. And the polluted atmosphere because of the Factory activities, had disastrous effect on children and lower-class peoples health. The Government introduced a plan to resolve some problems, guaranteeing services as water, gas and lighting, places of entertainment (pubs, music balls, stadiums and shops), as prisons, police station and schools, hospitals and town hall for helping people and preventing their safety. British empire The power of English colonies was increased in this period, through a series of wars to protect their interest and to conquer new areas like Asia, Africa, Central America and Oceania. The British citizen supported the English imperial expansion, being proud of their empire and viewing this as a mission. The Crimean War and Florence Nightingale The Crimean War was fought to protect Turkey from Russian invasion. England tried to contain Russian expansion over the Dardanelles. England won but the expedition wasnt a success. Florence Nighingale had an incredible role in this war: she was born in Italy, from rich English family. She studied in a hospital in Paris and during the war, becoming nurse, she went in a Turkish hospital to take care of the soldiers. She introduced new methods of nursing, and for the first time, the soldiers received good cures during the war. Socialism Karl Marxs ideas about a new social organization and distribution of wealth, became important in English environment. The new democratic electorate didnt satisfy the traditional parties: Liberals and Conservatives. The difficult situation of the economic depression and the political contrasts guaranteed the search of some radical solutions as the birth of the Fabian Society, a socialist group that rejected the revolutionary movements, and preferred patient and calm action, as Quintus Fabius Maximus. Through this group, the Labour Party was born. American Civil War The American political situation was difficult in this period because of the split between north and south. Although in the North there was an incredible progress and industrial development, in the south the economy was based on the work in the cottons and tobaccos field. The population in America increased through the immigration of a big number of people from Europe. Also, there were an incredible number of black slayer in South, where the slavery was legal. After the election of Lincoln, belonging to the Northern group of intellectuals and writers, Republican Party, the pressure on the South increased, especially because of the slayer and the request to abolish it. The civil war ended with the 13th amendment of the black mens freedom. Even if they conquered the liberty, they were poor, homeless: some migrated in the North, while others continued to work for their old masters. A violent racist movements frightened black families, that were separated from the white people in the public services as bus, public toilets, schools and transports. Although the bad condition of Southern economy, in the North there were a industrial and financial progress, and in California, the discovery of gold, guaranteed the expansion in the West. American Renaissance New England was considered the America cultural centre. In fact, in this period a movements called New England renaissance born, and it wasnt the rebirth of old themes and features, but it indicated the beginning of the truly American literature. Ralph Waldo influenced this first period, with his Transcendentalism, in which there were some key-ideas as: All reality is seen as a unity, a good way to express the melting pot of that country; the contact with nature guaranteed to reach the truth; the over-soul is a spiritual concept that link everything and the men is the expression of the over-soul (individualism).

The Victorian Novel 3 victorian groups: Early-Victorian novel: social and humanitarian themes, expressing the ideas of the age. Mid- Victorian novel: Romantic and Gothic traditions, psychological vein Late Victorian novel: the European development of Naturalism About novel, there was a common interests between readers and writers, because of the growth of the middle-classes in the literature consume. The Victorian novels were published in instalments in the periodicals, and this long-novel allowed to the readers to stay in constant contact with the writer. Novels became the main form of entertainment and in fact, the novelists had a social and moral responsibility in the society: they tried to reflect about the social changes, the struggle for democracy, the evils of the society and its injustices, without radical criticism. They were realistic and told about the reality how it was. Women were the most important readers and writers of this period. After Carlyle Past and Present, the novelists used their works to denounce the evils of the society and its problems caused by industrialization. Their novels examined the social conditions, expressing the inequalities between poor and rich. The themes are social and is focused on the employed-employee relations. They called for a more compassionate and Christian contact and relations. They didnt propose a revolutionary idea of change, but they told about the reality and show the need for a more responsible attitude of the rich to the poor. Short fiction This type of narrative introduced the formula of anecdote and the main part of the fiction: plot, character, symbol. Through Poe works, the detail became subordinate: compression, concentration and subordinate were qualities of the short story. Most common features of the novelist: Voice omniscient narrator, set: city, symbol of the industrialization; plot long and complicated; analysis of the characters. Horror story Horror stories are set in remote places, to emphasize the qualities of mystery and suspense. This stories can be based on rational or supernatural events. They talk about the relationship between life and death. Dramatic monologue A new type of poem: an individual, who isnt the poet, speaks the poem in a specific situation at a critical moment. His main unintention is to reveal his true character. This is the ideal form to reveal self-deception, pride, heartlessness, vanity and egotism, evading romantic subjectivity and express the device of an invented character.