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Victorian Literature

Victorian Literature

Queen Victoria reigned for such an extensive period that she gave her name to an entire age: the Victorian Era. Literature during that period in the 19th century came to be dominated by the novel, although many substantial poets and playwrights also created lasting works. Differing in style from the earlier Romantic period, Victorian literature tended towards idealism and moral improvement.

Perhaps most representative of Victorian literature is Charles Dickens, whose first novel, Pickwick Papers, appeared in 1836, the year before Victoria ascended to the throne. Many of Dickens novels sought to not only highlight the abuses of early industrialism, but also provide morality tales. Dickens was not only an extremely popular writer, but also a favorite author of the Queen.

William Thackeray is best remembered for Vanity Fair, which is also representative of the Victorian novel, which tended to present recent history. Later Victorian novels are found in the works of Thomas Hardy, whose last novel, Jude the Obscure, appeared in 1895, and in many ways marks the end of Victorian literature.

Victorian poetry frequently sought to recapture the romantic spirit of medieval England. Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Robert Browning are major Victorian poets, while Oscar Wilde produced satirical drama.

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