The Victorian Era
The Victorian Era
If there is a single word that defines this era, it would be “contradiction,” or possibly “tension.” After taking a look at the historical background of the era, we will be examining three dominant thinkers whose controversial ideas rocked the Victorians’ world — and continue to shake our own: Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud. In the realms of human evolution, human economics, and the human psyche, these three figures contributed to the skepticism of the era — and in many ways could have emerged at almost no other time than this rich and fabulous period of English literature.
Please check the course lesson plans to look for weekly breakdowns of assignments, including due dates!
- Please annotate pp. 830-837, The Language of Literature.
- Please read the biography of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, p. 839 and p. 853.
- Please read the biography of Robert Browning, p. 854 and p. 860.
- Please read the article, “The Growth and Development of Fiction,” pp. 868-869.
- Please read the biography of Charles Dickens, p. 870-871.
- Please read about the Bronte sisters, pp. 886-887.
- Please read the biography of Gerard Manley Hopkins, p. 947 and p.951.
Please read Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem “The Lady of Shalott,” pp. 840-845.
Please read Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “Ulysses,” pp. 846-847.
In light of Hopkins’ poetic project, please read the modern poem “Junk,” by Richard Wilbur.
See the PowerPoint for “The Lady of Shalott“
- It seems an unusual choice for an English poet like Hopkins, so entranced by Anglo-Saxon poetic tools, to use such a distinctively French set of words in “The Windhover”: minion, dauphin, falcon, achieve, mastery, beauty, valor, buckle, dangerous, chevalier. Obviously, Hopkins (who could have chosen synonyms for all these words if he so chose) had a reason for choosing these words. Why these words?
- What linkage do these words — especially falcon, minion, dauphin, chevalier — have in common?
- To whom are they applied?
- Let’s deal with the obvious issue first: What poetic tradition is Wilbur openly borrowing from?
- What specific features of structure and sound is Wilbur using here?
- What is his purpose in doing so? What point is he making about the ancient and the modern? How do these “tools” of poetic tradition enable Wilbur to get his point across?
Resources for the Media-Minded