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Exploration Of The Triad Of Victorianism

2687 words - 11 pages

Queen Victoria’s reign signified the longest single rule of one monarch throughout the history of England. “British history is two thousand years old,” Twain observed, “and yet in a good many ways the world has moved father ahead since the Queen was born then it moved in all the rest of the two thousand put together.” Victoria—earnest, morally inclined, fond of domestic proprietorship—mirrored the concepts associated with the time period itself. Under her eloquent leadership, The Victorian Era, following the span of her reign from 1837-1901, was born. The era as whole experienced drastic cultural shifts; sporting a chameleon of identities. The Early Victorians signified despair, hopelessness, and a smatter of tired souls, but was followed by “calm and prosperity”—the Mid-Victorians. Stemming the river of Victoria’s reign were the years of hollow beauty, aptly entitled the “Age of Aesthetics.” These three stages of development congregated under the shadow of the woman who served monarch, and motherly-figure to their duration and, collectively, The Victorian Era.
Referred to as “A Time of Troubles,” the Early Victorians began with a foreboding precursor: industrialization. The grand opening of a railway between Liverpool and Manchester catalyzed England’s transformation from a landscape of widely dispersed towns, to that of a bustling enterprise, newly awakened by the scent of pungent manufacturing. This ‘scent’ was accompanied by the ever-present murmur of an unhappy, discontented working class. But labor discontent was not the only blight England suffered. The Irish Potato Famine, the worst famine in Europe during the 19th century, killed off half of the Irish population, primarily the rural poor. “Time of Troubles” was printed as an understated headline.
In 1832, Parliament passed a Reform Bill that completely redefined England’s social casts. Sadly, the measures were ineffective towards alleviating England’s social and economic challenges, and things went on as they had before—depressingly. However, even amidst these tumultuous events, Lord Alfred Tennyson summoned the motivation to crystalize the hopeless nature surrounding him. Succeeding William Wordsworth as poet laureate, Tennyson lived a life of isolation and consternation. Constantly engaging in a state of reflection, his revelations were heightened by undeniable intelligence and intrinsic dedication to the intellectual. Ironically, Tennyson had a fascination, bordering on obsession, with societal change. In a letter written by Franklin Lushington to William Henry Brookfield, Tennyson’s corollary nature is revealed: “…I suppose you are aware of the National panic, and how we are all on the point of becoming riflemen to resist the invasion which the French are going to try on us. Among the most enthusiastic national defenders [is] Alfred Tennyson…At least [he has] been induced to subscribe five pounds…for purchase of rifles—which appears to me a rather exaggerated...

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