The Victorian Era & One of Its Notable Novelists

Essay details

Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.

What may have been one of Britain’s greatest times took place during Queen Victoria’s reign lasting from 1837 to her death in 1901. This period, commonly known as The Victorian Era, was one of great change and national confidence for the people of Great Britain. Society observed increasing turns to romanticism and mysticism during this time, and there was a definite resistance to the rationalism and theories of the previous era, The Georgian Period. And as great as it was, The Victorian Period was also one of extreme class and rank differences that would very much affect the lifestyles of the people.

Essay due? We'll write it for you!

Any subject

Min. 3-hour delivery

Pay if satisfied

Get your price

The society during the Victorian Era experienced a big political reform too, with the Liberal and Conservative parties always fighting to be the dominant political party in Britain, though it was almost always increasingly the Liberal party winning this argument. During this period, religion also dominated interests hugely, with the Church having much influence and impact over every aspect of life then, as well as being a popular topic of discussion during tea parties and in the morning newspapers.

The Victorian Era was also particularly remembered for the immense urbanization it went through, not forgetting the drastic population increase due to the mass migration from and into Britain. Although it took years for people to completely adjust to certain changes, Britain continuously developed and enhanced itself to become one of the world’s leading powers at that time. Many noteworthy inventions and innovations were created in this period, and Britain witnessed a significant upsurge of productivity in its inhabitants.

With the rise of population, class distinction became more evident, and poor families needed all its members working in order to bring food on their tables. Thus, child labor began, and with it was the increase of deaths among children who wouldn’t survive the harsh working conditions in factories and mines. After the Irish Potato Famine, many of the remaining people in Ireland migrated to Britain, hoping for a better life. Unfortunately, their hopes would come crashing down as employment and good housing decreased due to the huge number of people moving into Britain. If you weren’t from a middle class or higher family, it was tough to be happy and enjoy life in England at that time.

Although there were many families living in poverty, the middle class was definitely the largest among all classes. On one hand, mass leisure activities, such as concerts, theater, and arts, became popular among people living at that time. Gambling, drinking, prostitution, and casinos also became common practice between people of that period. On the other hand, literacy also increased and more people were reading, writing, and learning.

Although feminism did not become a major thing until the 20th century, we can observe a few small beginnings of it in the Victorian Era. While both women and men could work, a man definitely would have the upper hand. Double standards in regards to men and women existed, and they were not any small issues. A man could divorce his wife if she committed adultery with someone else, yet a woman could not divorce her husband if he committed adultery with another woman unless he had performed abuse or cruelty on her as well. Thus, a few brave ladies began to fight for their rights, while others simply ignored it as it was not the norm at that time. Another thing we may notice about women in this period is that many of them, in the middle or higher class, remained at home dedicated to the domestic life which was expected of them.

The Victorian Era is probably most recognized for its literature, particularly the novel which rose to fame in that age and became a leading literature genre. There was also a notable resurgence of gothic fiction, which had initially got popular during the mid-18th century. Many viewed the Victorian Era literature as the link between the literature of the Romantic Period and the Modernist 20th century. The literature during this age was characterized by commonly including realistic life conflicts that were slightly inspired by the society at that time. Victorian novels written in the end of that era often contained doubt and uncertainty that were ironically interpreted by readers as a new form of confidence. Notable authors of this time include: Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Emily, Charlotte, and Anne Bronte, Robert Louis Stevenson, Lewis Carrol, and Anne Sewell.

William Makepeace Thackeray is another novelist who rose to sudden fame with the publishing of his most successful and prominent novel, Vanity Fair. He was born an only child to parents Anne and Richmond Thackeray on July 18th, 1811 in Calcutta, India. When his father died in 1817, he was sent to live with his aunt in England, while his mother remained back in India. His mother, remarried, joined him in England later in 1820. Thackeray hadn’t had any particularly “fun” school experiences, and he only enjoyed it later when he joined university in Trinity College, only to drop out two years later, not interested in getting a degree there. He later studied law in Middle Temple London.

After college, William Thackeray spent much of his youth idly gambling and drinking, which lost him the inheritance he had inherited from his father. He got married to an Isabella Shawe, an Irish girl, in 1836 and finally settled down to look for a job in journalism and writing. He had 3 kids with his wife, one which died in infancy. After her last pregnancy, Isabella got driven into a state of insanity. And although she outlived her husband by almost 30 years, she never recovered and lived with friends in the countryside, leaving her husband to care for their 2 daughters in London.

In 1848, William Thackeray hit the jackpot with the publishing of Vanity Fair. Though none of his other works were as successful as Vanity Fair, he continued fairly well-off and doing well. He went off to a few lecture tours in the United States and made a reasonable profit of out them.

He died on December 24th, 1863 due to the bursting of a blood vessel in his brain, but he left with all his debts paid and even a nice inheritance sum for each of his 2 daughters.

During his lifetime, he was the only author ever considered a rival to the great Charles Dickens, the most well-known writer of that age. Thackeray’s writing was accepted at his time for being one that portrays contemporary life vividly & having fluidity and good pace and flow for his plots. He examined many topics relating to human morals. Vanity Fair explores antihero-ism, and shows how the two paradoxical sides to human motives as well as an analysis of society. Thackeray connects the past and present in some of his historical novels like The History of Pendennis and History of Henry Esmond.

The Victorian Era, as all eras are, had both bad and good sides to it. Much of what happened in that time helped to shape society today and evolve as human species. In terms of literature, we can always keep learning new things, and all the literary works of The Victorian Era are definitely works we can use as stepping stones to expand our knowledge of literature and writing styles and tools. Learning should be a never ending process for humans, you can never stop growing and developing. So as William Thackeray said:

“Do not be in a hurry to succeed. What would you have to live for afterwards? Better make the horizon your goal; it will always be ahead of you.” 

Get quality help now

Prof. Carstensen

Verified writer

Proficient in: Literary Genres, British Empire

4.8 (459 reviews)
“ Excellent! She is very professional, meet all the requirements, fast turn around time, communicates, and an overall 100/10. ”

+75 relevant experts are online

More Essay Samples on Topic

banner clock
Clock is ticking and inspiration doesn't come?
We`ll do boring work for you. No plagiarism guarantee. Deadline from 3 hours.

We use cookies to offer you the best experience. By continuing, we’ll assume you agree with our Cookies policy.