The Year 1837 was very significant. It was not only the year that
Queen Victoria acceded the throne, but also the year that a new literary
age was coined. The Victorian Age, more formally known, was a time of
great prosperity in Great Britain's literature. The Victorian Age produced a variety of changes. Political and social reform produced a variety of reading among all classes. The lower-class became more self-conscious, the middle class more powerful and the rich became more vulnerable. The novels of Charles Dickens, the poems of Alfred,
Lord Tennyson and Robert Browning, the dramatic plays of Oscar Wilde, the
scientific discoveries of the Darwins, and the religious revolt of Newman
all helped to enhance learning and literacy in the Victorian society. Of
all of the Literary eras, the Victorian age gave a new meaning to the word
controversy. Writers of that time challenged the ideas of religion, crime,
sexuality, chauvinism and over all social controversies.
Queen Victoria influenced the literary age herself. She loved to
read and she was educated in the finest schools in Great Britain. Queen Victoria encouraged reading among all of her people. She gave out free books to children and she built schools for the lower classes. Also the Queen invited prominent Victorian age writers such as Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Charles Dickens to read privately to her in Buckingham Palace.
The Victorian Age was also an era of several unsettling social
developments. This forced writers to take positions on immediate issues
animating the rest of society. Hence, romantic forms of
expression in poetry and prose continued to dominate English literature
throughout much of the century. The attention of many writers was directed
to the growth of the English democracy, education, materiallism, religion,
science and the theory of evolution.
The Oxford Movement caused corruption during the Victorian age.
The Tractarians insisted that the Anglican Church was Catholic, not
Protestant and they wanted to establish independence from the rising middle
class. The movement began under the leadership of John Keble
and Paul Newman. Newman attacked the national apostasy in Tracts for the
Times. The book caused an outburst in England. Newman was forced to
resign his position as head of the movement. With his resignation, the
Oxford Movement came to an end. Following the Oxford Movement, many
Orthodox Victorians believed that God had created each species and the
world was created in seven days. As the nineteenth century
proceeded, these traditional customs were put into question by Erasmus
Darwin and his grandson, Charles Darwin. Erasmus Darwin found that the
world was not created in seven days in Zoomina, where he discovered that
the evolutionary theory was unscientific. Charles Darwin wrote Origin of
the Spec ies, causing full scale controversy in Europe. Darwin said
that species survive and...