Victorian

The Victorian period in English history ran from 1837, when Queen Victoria took the throne, to 1901, when she died. Since regnal years rarely coincide perfectly with literary periods, sometimes people refer to the period from roughly 1832 (when the Reform Bill was passed, a major event in nineteenth-century British history) until around 1900.

The major British authors of the Victorian era include the novelists Charles Dickens, the three Brontë sisters, George Eliot, Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell, Anthony Trollope, Thackeray, and Hardy; the poets Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, ???; and more miscellaneous writers like Lewis Carroll, G. K. Chesterton, John Ruskin, Carlyle, Arthur Conan Doyle, William Morris, Walter Pater, and Oscar Wilde.

Avoid the vulgar error of calling Jane Austen a Victorian novelist: she died in 1817, two years before Victoria was born and fully twenty years before she took the throne. If you have to call her anything, she's Romantic; you might feel safer with a less contentious designation, like "early nineteenth-centry."


From the Guide to Literary Terms by Jack Lynch.
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Note: This guide is still in the early stages of development.
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