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La letteratura inglese delle origini.
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Introduction: The Industrial Revolution was an event which turned Britain into an industrial country, also Britain became the workshop (officina) of the world. There was a full development with social and economic consequences. For example : ● ● ● Technological development > new machines and steam engine and mechanical loom Colonialism > colonies were important because Britain took raw materials from them and then exported finisched goods, which were sold to colonies Development of means of transport Labour (manodopera) Agricultural revolution. The choice of the Splendid Isolation was also important, that means Britain chose to keep aside from wars. This age is characterized by a situation of contradiction and discontent, that lead to the Victorian Compromise was a pact between upper and lower classes in order to prevent the nation from ending up in a social war. We could divide the Victorian age in three different periods: Early victorian period : 1832-1848 Middle victorian period : 1848 - 1870 Late Victorian period : 1870 - 1901 In 1837 Queen Victoria came to the throne and 3 years later married Prince Albert of Saxe Coburg Gotha. The accession of Queen Victoria gave monarchy a new image of duty. National pride and faith in progress were the two keywords of this period, and were celebrated in the Great London Exhibition of 1851. This was a...
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period of a certain middle- class morality, which had a dark side, however in the last decades there was a growing sense of doubt. Religion played an important role in people's lives; Evangelicalism and Methodism encouraged public and political action and created a lot of charities. Philantropy (philanthropists were those who promoted hapiness and well-being for others) led to the creation of societies which addressed every kind of poverty and depended especially on the voluntary efforts of middle-class women. Also, freedom was linked to religion, with optimism over progress and with national identity. Self restraint, good manners and self help came to be linked with respectability and this concept was shared both by the middle and working classes. However respectability was a mixture of morality and hypocrisy since the unpleasant aspects of society (like poverty) were hidden under outward respectability. Sexuality was generally repressed in both its public and private forms and moralising "prudery" gradually let to denunciation of nudity in art; the veiling of sculptured genitals and the rejection of words with a sexual connotation. Important changes : Parliamentary reforms satisfied the middle classes but the working class was still without a voice, exept for the Charist movement (1836). ● ● ● One of the most important changes took place when a network of railways (1863) was build. People could move from the countryside to the industrial towns and the goods coul be distributed over the whole country. In 1834 the "New Poor Law" was enacted. It created the institution of the Workhouses in which poor people, orphans, elderly people, women with childer and people who lost their job were sent. Also, familied were separeted and everyone wore a uniform. The Education Act established the basis of elementary education. Reading was a leisure pursuit, but industrialisation had made it a necessity, so the national education system provided it. British foreign policy was based on free trade and liberalism. China was forced to open to British Trade and the Crimean War was fought from 1853 to 1856 to keep Russia out of the Ottoman Empire in India, then in 1877 Victoria became Empress of India. In 1884, the Third Reform Act extended the right to vote to all male householders (proprietari). In 1901 Queen Victoria died. During the Victorian Age the British Empire achieved its greatest expansion. One quarter of the world's territories belong to the British Empire and one third of all the commercial transaction involved UK. The Victorian Novel : During Victorian Age, the novel became the most important genre, which allowed writers to share their ideals. Charles Dickens was probably the most important writer of this age : he wrote about the contradiction and the dark side of the Victorian Age. During this time, writers and readers shared the same ideas. One reason for this close relationship was the growth of the middle classes : its members borrowed books fron circulating libraries, moreover victorian writers themselves often belonged to the middle class. Early Victorian novelist felt they had a moral ad social responsibility to fulfil (compiere), they drew the portrait of the society as they saw it and they were aware of the evils of their society, such as the terrible conditions of workers and the exploitation of childern. They thought that literature was a vehicle to correct the weaknesses of the age. The narrative technique used the voice of the omniscient narrator, who provided to comment the plot and erect a barrier between right and wrong behaviours. The setting chosen by most novelist was the city, which was the main symbol of the industrial civilisation as well as the expression of anonymous lives and lost identities. The humanitarian novel: Dickens' novels were admired for their tone, combining humor with sentimentalism for the less fortunate. They constitute the bulk (massa - maggior parte) of what is generally called the "humamitarian novel" or the "novel of purpose". The novel of formation: delt with one character's development from early youth to maturity. Womer writers: a great number of novels published during the middle Victorian period were written by women, such as Charlotte and Emily Brontë and George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), who were forced to use male pseudonym in order to see their work in print. The realistic novel: Darwin's evolution theory influenced the structure and the organisation of the realistic novel, which started to follow and evolution pattern. The best representatives of the realistic novel were Thomas Hardy and George Eliot. ● Thomas Hardy spoke of those who had to leave the countryside to move to industrial towns and lost everything and of poorest social groups and their attemps to change their destiny, which always resulted in failure. The psychological novel : Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde tried to capture the duplicity of human nature as the depulicity of the Victorian Age. The colonial literature: the influence of colonialism can be founded in Kipling The White Man's Burden (fardello). He legitimised the belief that is the task of the white man to civilize the backward populations and it was a task given by God. Victorian thinkers: early thinkers Jeremy Bentham had materialistic theories about man's pursuit of happiness (like the achievment of money) > he wasn't supported by Dickens John Stuart Mill thought that society could be changed through social reforms. He was a supporter of education, work and woman's position > he was supported by Dickens Late thinkers ● Charles Darwin had evolutionist theories about man's origins. He thought that only the most suitable could survive > he was supported by Hardy Karl Marx focused his attention on urban proletarian masses.