Friday, May 7, 2010

Victorian Literature

Apparently I have really been on a Victorian literature kick lately. I didn't even realize it until I made that list of books read recently. This is partly due to the classes that were available in the last year. (There were no Restoration classes, or 18th century...)
I think that my favorite time period of British literature now has a bit of competition!
The Victorian era is so interesting for so many different reasons. The era is almost as politically stimulating as the restoration. And socially, it might be more.

Women were really fighting for their education, and some battles they even won. Women were allowed to attend Cambridge for the first time during this period! Given, they still couldn't obtain a degree (booo!). But it was a step in the right direction.

This is a large part of why I chose to write about George Eliot as opposed to Jane Austen. (I had to pick one of those two because that is the class that I took--Jane Austen and George Eliot)
Austen is just too damn conservative for a woman writer. And she never tried to make a living as a writer either.
Eliot, well she was a different story. But her views on women's rights are super convoluted and confusing! She obviously lived outside of the feminine norm, and so do most of her female characters in her novels, but the level of respect that she holds for women is the confusing part.
Similar to Mary Wollstonecraft, I think George Eliot, or rather Mary Anne Evans, didn't respect women who adhered to the norm, but struggled with it herself.
Since this is sort of what I am writing my senior thesis on, it has been on my mind for quite some time now...
I may have to go back and read some more restoration literature again after this. Get back to my roots :) And be highly entertained and perplexed by Libertine ideals...

Oh, random though though-- I think that the reason that I am also fascinated with Victorian literature is because so much of it challenges the societal norms just as libertine literature did during the restoration. It is also a period where genres are largely expanded on, again, similar to that of the lat 17th and early 18th century when the novel started (arguably earlier...) The two period are very similar yet so very very different.

1 comment:

  1. Hello!

    victorian literature is my fav, I love reading Hardy's novels again and again, like i never get tired of analysing them ever! Dickens on the other hand has been labeled the king of that era in ficitional porse, so i wont add more!
    in poetry Matthew Arnold's poems summarize why that era is called the 'age of doubt'.. mm lots of things to say! but thanks for this post!
    p.s. english is not my first lang!