From the Age of Industrialisation To The First Half of The 20th Century

Timeline created by sofial17
  • Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

    Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
    One of the most influential writers of the 19th century. He worked as a parliamentary reporter, journalist, and editor. Dickens wrote classic novels, including, "Oliver Twist" (1837) and "David Copperfield" (1850), which provide a picture and a denunciation of his time. The protagonists are children who, through their suffering and adventures, convey a moral message. Like Verga, Dickens gives a picture of how children were badly treated by adults and how poverty could drive people to crime.
  • Accession of Queen Victoria

    Accession of Queen Victoria
    Victoria became Queen at the age of 18 and ruled for 64 years. She made Buckingham Palace the official royal residence in London. She believed in strict Christianity and discipline. Queen Victoria and her Prince Consort Albert (with their 9 children) embodied the Victorian family and provided a model of respectabilty. Queen Victoria's reign was characterised by social reforms and economic and scientific progress. Under her reign, Britain became the most powerful country in the world.
  • The Victorian Double Standard

    Victorian society was especially organized around class and gender. The "doctrine of separate spheres" stated that men and women were different and played different roles: men were strong, independent, and belonged to the public sphere, while women were weak, dependent and belonged to the private sphere.
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    The Victorian Age

    It was a rather contraddictory period: an age of change, progress, reforms, but also of poverty and unjustice. It was a religious age but it was also an age of scientific progress. The period was characterised by the predominance of middle-class values (duty, responsability, respectability). Family was at the core of this society and the ideal woman was a devoted wife and mother, "The Angel in the House " (by C. Patmore, 1854).
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    High Victorian Age

    A period characterised by reforms, religious controversies, prosperity, and faith in progress. It was also called "The Age of Machinery" because of technological improvements. Industrialisation had negative effects on the poorer classes, while brought wealth for the ruling classes. As for literature, this era was also named "The Age of Fiction" because middle-class enjoyed reading novels, especially realistic novels, which dealt with progress and reforms.
  • "Oliver Twist" (1838)

    "Oliver Twist" (1838)
    The novel tells the adventures of an orphan who grows up in a workhouse near London. A workhouse was a 19th-century institution for poor people where children were mistreated. One day, Oliver is punished and sent to work at a funeral house because he had dared to ask for more food. Oliver escapes to London where he joins a gang of pickpockets. After a series of adventures, Oliver is eventually saved by Mrs Maylie (who turns out to be his aunt) and goes on to live "happily ever after".
  • "David Copperfield" (1849-1850)

    "David Copperfield" (1849-1850)
    The novel narrates the story of a boy from childhood to maturity (Bildungsroman). As a child, David is abused by his stepfather, Mr Murdstone, who first, sends David to a boarding school, and then, after David's mother's death, he sends David to work in a bottling warehouse. David escapes from the factory in search of his aunt Betsey. David goes back to school and works hard to find success as a writer. When Dora, his first wife dies, David marries Agnes, his longtime friend and true love
  • Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

    Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
    A Scottish writer, notable for such novels as "Treasure Island" (1883) and "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1886). Since his childhood, Stevenson suffered from respiratory illness and for this reason, he travelled a lot and finally settled in Samoa. As a young man, he studied law in Edimburgh and lived as a bohemian, against his father's will, who also disapproved his marriage with an American separated, older woman, Fanny Osbourne.
  • The Great Exhibition

    The Great Exhibition
    It was the first World's Fair, an exhibition of culture and industry, which took place at The Crystal Palace, a giant glass-and-iron structure in Hyde Park, London. It celebrated national pride and optmistic view in progress. In five months, the exhibition was visited by more than 6 million people.
  • Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
    An Anglo-Irish playwright, novelist, and poet, Wilde was a leading figure of the Aesthetic Movement ("art for art's sake"). He distinguished himself as a classical scholar and a poet, but also for his wit and extravagant behaviour: he dressed exotically, wore his hair long, decorated his rooms with lilies, sunflowers, and peacock feathers. He was accused of homosexuality and sent to prison for two years (here he wrote "De Profundis"). "The Picture of Dorian Gray" was his first and only novel.
  • Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

    Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
    Charles Darwin, an English naturalist and biologist, presents his theory of evolution and natural selection (only the strongest species survive)--"The Origins of the Species" (1859). New scientific discoveries undermined Victorians' religious beliefs and Darwin's theories reshaped how the human being was understood, thus redefining the Victorian way of thinking.
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    European Aestheticism and Decadentism

    The Aesthetic Movement focused on the doctrine of "art for art's sake," that is, art aims only at beauty and it has no political or didactic purpose. Unlike the Victorians (who believed that literature had a moral role and provided a model for correct behaviour), the bohémien kept away from the masses and believed that beauty was the most important element in life. A "New Aestheticism" rose by mid-1800s and it became a cult associated with "Decadentism" (Baudedaire, Flaubert, Mallarmé).
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    Britain's Imperial Expansion

    In 1877 Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India and she ruled over a quarter's of world land surface, from Canada to Africa to Australia: "an empire over which the sun never set". Victorians felt the moral obligation to civilise their colonies ("the white man's burden") and saw the imperialist expansion as a mission.
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    Late Victorian Age

    The last years of Queen Victoria's reign are characterised by an urban society and a great power abroad. Thanks to reforms in education (The Education Act made compulsory elementary education, 1870), literacy spread among the lower classes. However, the stability of Victorian society began to shake. Thinkers and writers protested against the harm caused by industrialisation in man's life and they looked for new forms of progress.
  • Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)

    Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)
    A well-known First World War poet, Sassoon served with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and received a Military Cross for saving a soldier. After being wounded, he wrote a letter to protest against politicians and military authorities who did not want to end the war ("A Soldier's Declaration," 1917). He was criticized for his "little patriotism." After the war, he joined the Labour Party, lectured on pacifism, and wrote novels, including an authobiographical trilogy, "The Memoirs of George Sherston."
  • "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" (1886)

    "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" (1886)
    A short novel about the dualism of human nature. Mr Utterson, a lawyer, tries to figure out why his respectable old friend Dr Jekyll is protecting a cruel man, Edward Hyde. One day, Utterson finds Hyde's body in Dr Jekyll's lab and an envelope from his friend, who explains that he had made a potion able to separate the good and bad aspects of his personality, but It soon turned out that Dr Jekyll could not control his experiments and the change of self became automatic, becoming Hyde permanently
  • "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1891)

    "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1891)
    It tells the story of a handsome young man who sells his soul for eternal beauty. The story is set in 19th-century London. Day after day, Dorian Gray's portrait begins to show an ageing man, while the man does not change physically. Dorian carries on an immoral life (he even kills the artist who made the picture and two characters commit suicide because of him). Full of guilt, Dorian decides to kill the man in the portrait--which mirrors his soul--but he kills himself instead.
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    The Half of the 20th Century

    It was marked by two world wars and social and economic challenges. In the 1920s Britain faced mass unemployment and by 1931 it fell into the Great Depression. "Modernism" in the arts meant a break with the past and the search for new forms of expression and experimentation. Beauty and aesthetics were replaced by abstraction and symbolism. Modernist works reflect a sense of loss, disillusionment, and fragmentation; their readers are required to interpret their meaning.
  • Queen Victoria's death

    Queen Victoria's death
    Her death marked the end of the Victorian Age. She redefined British monarchy and became an icon of the time. Cities, lakes, roads, and mountains across what was then her empire were named afer her. She left detailed instructions for her funeral, breaking the royal protocol: she wanted a military and state funeral, and demanded a white funeral (she was dressed in a white dress and her face was covered by her wedding veil), white ponies and a gun carriage on which her coffin was placed.
  • The Sinking of the Titanic

    The Sinking of the Titanic
    The unsinkable "Titanic," a luxury British steamship, sank on the night between 14th and 15th April 1912, after hitting an iceberg and more than 1,500 people died. The disaster undermined Britain's pride as the world leader in industry and technology.
  • "Suicide in the Trenches" 1917

    "Suicide in the Trenches" 1917
    It is a poem from Sassoon's collection "Counter-Attack and Other Poems" (1918). It draws from Sassoon's personal experience and it describes the horrors of trench warfare, which drive a young soldier to commit suicide. The poem blames the soldier's death on the people back at home who encourage young men to go to war untrained and unprepared for the brutality of war.