The Historical Background
Queen Victoria, daughter of the Duke of Kent (1767-1820) came to the throne of England at the age of eighteen (1837) and succeeded in restoring (= ristabilire) the image of the monarchy with her wisdom, gaining the respect of her subjects with her private life: an adored husband, Prince Albert, and nine children.
Her pattern (= modello) of life was ruled (= governato) by sobriety and hard work, in a word, by ” respectability”. As a consequence the Victorian Period was based more on exteriority than on spiritual values, on conformism and, often, on hypocrisy.
As to political and social life,
lived a period full of changes and extensions in every field.
died in 1902. Her son Edward came to the English throne trying to follow his mother’s steps. Victoria
Social Achievements (= realizzazioni in campo sociale)
The Parliament had to face (= dovette affrontare) the problems of the workers with a series of Acts (The Factory Act, The Ten Hours’ Act; The Mines Act; The Public Health Act) to improve (= migliorare) the working conditions, limit the hours of work and the exploitation (= sfruttamento) of the children and women.
In 1884 the Third Reform Bill enlarged the suffrage (= voto) to all male workers.
Foreign Policy (= politica estera)
found his leader In C. Parnell that demanded the Home Rule in 1880, but it was not approved till after the First World War
– In 1887 Queen
Victoria became Empress of India and the Empire enlarged (= allargò) its dominions to Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus and parts of Africa.
– In 1899-1902 the Boer War burst out (= scoppiò) in
– In 1854-56 the dispute on the borders (= confini) between
Russia and originated the Crimean War, during which Florence Nightingale founded the Red Cross.
Under the reign of Queen
, literature developed thanks to the improved ways of communication and a new printing system; it became a means to confute ideas and reveal thoughts.
This period can be divided into three stages:
– Fiction: the writers identified themselves with their own age; they wrote long books published in serial instalments (= a puntate) and structured every episode as a plot. They tried to attract the masses with suspense and the appeal to the sensational. Their motto was to make them (the readers) wait, cry and laugh.
Main authors: C. Dickens ; W. Thackerey; The Brönte Sisters.
– Poetry: The poets at first followed the Romantic way of writing, but soon they reflected a sense of uneasiness (= disagio). They developed (= svilupparono) the Dramatic Monologue in which a persona reveals his thoughts and feeling unconsciously to a silent listener.
Main authors: Lord A. Tennyson and R. Browning.