From The period between 1837-1901 was known as the Victorian era. In the history of the United Kingdom it was the period of Queen Victoria’s reign. The era was preceded by the Georgian period and succeeded by the Edwardian period. Known as the Pax Britannica, it is often characterized as a period of peace. But in fact, Britain was always at war during this period. In the early part of the era there were two parties, the Whigs and the Tories. They were led by many prominent statesmen including Lord Melbourne, Sir Robert Peel
Lord Derby, Lord Palmerston, William Gladstone, Benjamin Disraeli and Lord Salisbury. The Victorian era was a time of population growth in England. One reason for the increase was that there was no catastrophic epidemic or famine in England or Scotland during that period. There were also some significant development in technology. These developments in technology offered a lot of opportunities for the people in England. Besides it there were appearing scientific beliefs, like Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, and those things were changing how people in England thought about themselves and how they interacted with the world around them. The technological and industrial progress helped Britain become the most powerful country in the world. Victorian Britain was interested in theater and the arts, music, drama and opera.
The literature of the period
Victorian literature is literature written in England during the reign of Queen Victoria. Victorian Era is seen as the connection between Romanticism of the 18th century and the realism of the 20th century. Writers from the United States and the British colonies of Australia, New Zealand and Canada were influenced by the literature of Britain and are often ranged as a part of Victorian literature, although they were gradually developing their own differential voices. During the Victorian period novel had been the ruling genre. The novels of the age mostly had a moral strain in them. The characters were rounded and the protagonist usually belonged to a middle class society who struggled to create a shelter for himself in the industrial and commercial world. Arguably the most well-known Victorian writer was Charles Dickens. His novels describe the life and conditions of the poor and working class in the Victorian era of England, when people lived by strict rules. Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, at Portsea, near Portsmouth on the southern coast of England. Charles was the second born of eight children and first son of the family. His father was John Dickens, a navy clerk with a great love for literature, and his wife Elizabeth. Charles Dickens drew a portrait of them in Mr and Mrs Micawber in . His father was well paid, but his lavishness often brought the family to financial difficulty or disaster. In 1817 Charles left Portsmouth and spent his childhood years in Chatham. A happy childhood in Chatham ended with a move to London in 1822. From 1822 he lived in London. Charles had been removed from school and at the age of twelve he worked with working-class men and boys in a factory that handled “blacking,” or shoe polish. During this period, his father was imprisoned for debt and the rest of the family moved to live near the prison, leaving Charles to live alone. This experience of lonely difficulty was the most significant event of his life and it was described in a number of his novels. When his father set free from prison and repaid his debts, Charles returned to school. But in 1827, at the age of fifteen, he had to leave school and work as an office boy, then a shorthand reporter in the lawcourts and finally, like other members of his family, a parliamentary and newspaper reporter. During his free hours he greatly extended and deepened his knowledge of London, London street life, and London popular amusments.
In 1829, Dickens met his first love, Maria Beadnell, but Maria’s parents disapproved of the love affair and ended the relationship by sending her to school in Paris.
During 1830 or 1831 he had begun to get work, at first as a supernumerary, on his uncle’s paper and then in 1832 he was taken on to the systematic staff of a new evening paper, the True Sun. He rapidly obtain a reputation as an outstanding parliamentary reporter and pursued at the same time an energetic social life. In December 1833 Dickens’s first published literary work appeared in the Monthly Magazine; it was a little story of middle-class manners called ‘A Dinner at Poplar Walk’. Over the next year it was followed, in the same periodical by several other stories in a similar mood, for the sixth of which Dickens first used the pen-name Boz. Dickens evidently adopted it from the nickname “Moses”, which he had given to his youngest brother Augustus Dickens. When pronounced by anyone with a head cold, “Moses” became “Boses”—later shortened to Boz. In January 1835 the Morning Chronicle began an evening edition, under the editorship of George Hogarth. He had become acquainted with George Hogarth’s family and had become attracted to the eldest daughter, Catherine. He became engaged to her during the summer of 1835. Catherine was small and pretty like Maria, with blue eyes and brown hair. He first won fame in 1836 with the antics of the cockney sportsmen portrayed in The Pickwick Papers, which was issued in 20 monthly parts. Though the first few episodes were not successful, the introduction of the Cockney character Sam Weller in the fourth episode marked a strong climb in its popularity. The final part sold 40,000 copies. On 2 April 1836, after a one-year engagement, and between episodes two and three of “The Pickwick Papers”, Dickens married Catherine Thomson Hogarth. Together they had ten children. The early years of their marriage were evidently quite happy. Dickens was in love with his young wife and she was very proud of her famous husband.
After Pickwick ‘s success, Dickens started publishing his new novel, Oliver Twist. He was also now editor of Bentley’s Miscellany, a new monthly magazine. He continued publishing his novel in his later magazines, “Household Worlds” and “All the Year Round”. In 1842, Dickens and his wife made their first trip to the United States and Canada. During his American visit, Dickens spent a month in New York City, giving lectures, raising the question of international copyright laws and the pirating of his work in America. His trip to America ended with a trip to Canada: Niagara Falls, Toronto, Kingston and Montreal where he appeared on stage in floaty comedies. When he came back he wrote American Notes. American Notes is a lightening account of a great writer’s encounter with the New World. American Notes sold well but attracted little favourable comment in Britain. In 1843 Dickens began work on the first of his Christmas stories: “A Christmas Carol”, “The Chimes”, “The Cricket on the Hearth”. He was influenced by the experiences of his own youth and by the Christmas stories of other authors including Washington Irving and Douglas Jerrold. The most popular of these is “A Christmas Carol”. In 1857, Dickens hired professional actresses for the play “The Frozen Deep” written by him. Dickens fell in love with one of the actresses, Ellen Ternan. Dickens was 45 and Ellen 18 the same age as his youngest daughter. This love was to last the rest of his life. Dickens’ life with Catherine seemed even more insufferable after meeting Ellen. In 1858 he made the decision to separate from his wife, Catherine. When Catherine left, never to see her husband again, she took with her one child, leaving the other children to be raised by her sister Georgina who chose to stay at Gad’s Hill. After separating from Catherine, Dickens undertook a series of very popular and profitable reading tours. He went to tour a number of provincial English cities, as well as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, and Dublin. His first reading tour, lasted from April 1858 to February 1859.
On 9 November 1867 he went to the United States for his second American reading tour. In early December, the readings began from Boston. He performed 76 readings. While in America, Dickens published a strange first-person narrative, ‘George Silverman’s Explanation’ and ‘Holiday Romance’, four stories for children. In 1869 his doctor advised him against giving further readings. The strain to his system was too great. And Dickens decided to plan a long farewell tour in London. England, Scotland, and Ireland. This began in London.
In April 1870 Dickens started his new novel, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”. It was the fifteenth novel of Charles Dickens. Dickens was working on Drood in his little Swiss house in the garden at Gad’s Hill on the morning of 8 June 18. During dinner he collapses. Dickens died of a fatal stroke on June 9, 1870, leaving the novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished. Dickens didn’t leave any notes outlining the plot so no one will ever really know what he intended. His wish was to be buried in Kent. He wanted a simple funeral service, devoid of any ceremony. But after his death it was decided that a more suitable resting place for him would be in Poets Corner, in Westminster Abbey. He was buried on 14 June, in the strictly private ceremony. The day of his burial was made a day of national mourning in England.