Middlemarch and the Victorian Period Professor Sally Shuttleworth Essay Example
Middlemarch and the Victorian Period Professor Sally Shuttleworth Essay Example

Middlemarch and the Victorian Period Professor Sally Shuttleworth Essay Example

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  • Pages: 9 (2411 words)
  • Published: December 26, 2017
  • Type: Compendium
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In Week 1, Professor Sally Shuttleworth delves into Middlemarch and the Victorian Period. The novel was written shortly after the passing of the second Reform Bill and is set during the time of the first. Looking back to the 1830s from the early 1870s, George Eliot explores prominent issues of the Victorian age such as electoral reform, class relations, industrialisation, and scientific advancements. In addition, Eliot addresses the decline of religion and the 'woman question'. The novel is notable in its epic scope and experimental form as Eliot aims to present a portrait of society within her novel while also examining individual placement within society and history.

In Middlemarch, Professor Neil Roberts explores the context of Victorian social, scientific, and cultural debates and how they influence the novel's portrayal of realism tempered by myth and objectivity hindered by subjective perception. The cha


racter Tertius Lydgate's statement that a person's mind must expand and contract between the wider human perspective and the narrower scope of detail is a perfect representation of George Eliot's approach in the book.

Although Middlemarch has a clear structure of four plots intersecting parallelly, it possesses a deeper structure resembling concentric circles. This structure encompasses intimate psychological analysis, social connections, and historical forces. The upcoming lecture will focus on the significance of science in Middlemarch. The relevance of science not only as a theme but also as a principle that shapes the book's worldview will be examined. Additionally, the lecture will explore the conflict between a scientific interpretation of human existence and the Christian-based idea of Providence. Lastly, George Eliot's narrative style in Middlemarch will be analyzed, well-known for its use of an omniscient

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George Eliot skillfully employs dialogic narration by weaving multiple voices and points of view into her narrative style to balance the potentially overwhelming knowledge of the narrator. This aspect is explored in Dr. Shirley Foster's lecture on the relationship between Victorian novelists and their readers. The lecture delves into the different narrative forms employed by authors, such as direct commentary from an implied 'author,' first person narration with co-existing temporal levels, and multiple narration with interacting voices to present a complex perspective on experience. Victorian critics often noted these narrative techniques, and the lecture will also explore how conscious experimentation with narrative form characterized the era. The authors discussed will include Dickens, Gaskell, the Brontes, and Collins.

Week 3: Victorian Poetry: Romantics to Victorians by Dr. Matthew Campbell delves into the possibility of generic differences between the Romantic and Victorian lyrics in English literature. While the whole 19th Century is referred to as the 'Romantic' age in histories of music, philosophy, or European literature, English literature marks a distinction after the deaths of Byron, Keats, or Shelley in the 1820s, where literature starts again with Tennyson's publication of Poems Chiefly Lyrical (1830), or the Great Reform Act (1832). This lecture highlights similarities and innovations between Victorian and Romantic writings about the world through discussing poetry by Tennyson and Browning and prose by Thomas Carlyle and Arthur Henry Hallam. Prioritizing reading Tennyson's 'Mariana' is recommended.

In this lecture, we will examine Browning's Sordello and encourage you to read 'My Last Duchess'. The focus of the lecture is on positive aspects of Victorian poetry, namely, resolution, bravery, truthfulness, understanding, and independence. Building on Dr. Campbell's Tuesday lecture, we will

begin by exploring Tennyson before turning to Robert Browning. Tennyson's powerful 'Ulysses' serves as a starting point for today's discussion as it was written just after the passing of Arthur Henry Hallam, who would later become the subject of Tennyson's exceptional work, In Memoriam.

Tennyson described Enoch Arden as a poem that is "heroic too in its way". This poem is quite different from the previous one discussed, The Lotos Eaters, which features the lotos plant that enhances immediate beauty. To understand Tennyson's meaning, we must delve into the complexities of Robert Browning's verse. Browning's reputation remains controversial, with harsh critiques from critics such as F.

According to L Lucas, Browning's intellect was inferior and likened it to that of a street artist. However, I disagree and will prove it by analyzing Browning's characters in poems such as 'The Lost Leader', 'Caliban Upon Setebos', 'My Last Duchess', 'The Bishop Orders his Tomb' and 'Childe Rolande to the Dark Tower Came'. These poems contain complex language, cunning characters and bleak imagery that echo the themes found in Tennyson's poetry. Browning's poetry is truly exceptional and a must-read.

Dr. Matthew Bevis discusses Tennyson's In Memoriam and Victorian religious poetry in Week 4. The lecture takes us on a journey from a raw and unguarded Alfred Tennyson to Gerard Manley Hopkins contemplating the wings of finches. The discussion delves into how Victorian poets conceived of the afterlife and how bodily desires often impacted these conceptions. Along with a detailed analysis of In Memoriam, we explore why critics were intrigued by Dante Gabriel Rossetti's 'fleshly school of poetry' and Christina G. Rossetti's 'peculiarly purified sensuousness'.

In this lecture, an

introduction to Tennyson's Maud will be given by Dr Matthew Campbell. Students are required to build on their understanding of lyric and dramatic monologue from the Browning and Tennyson lectures. The poem's context will be explored, including topics such as capitalism (the civil war of the hearth), madness, and Empire (the Crimean War). However, the primary focus will be on how to interpret such a remarkable poem. Part One, Section xviii, 'I have led her home, my one, my only friend', which is a love lyric, will be given more attention.

Please make sure to read Maud completely and pay close attention to this section before the Week 5 lecture. Professor Neil Roberts will be discussing the Bildungsroman and Autobiographical Novel and how the narration of an individual life in Victorian novels is structured according to specific generic models. The lecture will explore how these models shape two popular novels of the time: Great Expectations and Jane Eyre.

One of the models that will be analyzed is the 18th century autobiographical novel, exemplified by Henry Fielding's Tom Jones. Another model is the Puritan spiritual autobiography.

Within the realm of literature, there are various types of stories such as John Bunyan's Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, fairy tales, and the Bildungsroman or Novel of Development. The most renowned prototype of this genre is Johannes von Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship.

When defining the Bildungsroman, Bakhtin's essay 'The Bildungsroman and its significance in the history of realism' (Speech Genres and Other Late Essays, University of Texas, 1986) is referenced. According to Bakhtin, a Bildungsroman is no longer the individual's private journey to emerge into society. Instead, they emerge alongside the

world and reflect the historical progression of the world itself.

Both Great Expectations and Jane Eyre depict a new breed of man and woman. The lecture by Dr. Shirley Foster analyzes Great Expectations as one of the great Victorian novels, exploring its range of themes and styles, and asserting that it presents an extremely inventive and all-encompassing view of the era. The lecture delves into its subject matter, which includes a focus on issues both contemporary and universal, its numerous styles such as fantasy, mystery, social realism, autobiography, and comedy, as well as its reception both in its own time and in the modern era. In Dr. Matthew Bevis' seminar on Dickens and his times during week 6, it is mentioned that Aneurin Bevan was an avid newspaper reader.

The lecture explores the complex and intimate connections between news and nineteenth-century fiction through close readings of works by Dickens, Eliot, Collins, and Braddon. It also delves into broader issues such as serial publication, the interplay between realism and journalism, and the intersection of social criticism and time in Victorian fiction. Additionally, the lecture analyzes the relationships between the novel, the play, the novelist, and the dramatist by examining the writings of Dickens and Collins. As Wilkie Collins described in his preface to Basil, the novel and the play are like twin sisters in the family of fiction, but this lecture will explore how this relationship played out in reality.

Both playwrights and novelists were produced by both writers, and they both made references to the theatre in their novels, exhibiting despair at how other dramatists adapted and pirated their works. The lecture aims to provide an alternative

way of reading the texts encountered during this module, while also introducing larger issues surrounding the relationship between novels and plays, such as the dramatist's manipulation of Nineteenth-century copyright laws, the novelist’s response to censorship of playwrights, and reader/audience responses to the 'respectability' of plays and novels. This lecture will include discussions on Dickens' Great Expectations, Nicholas Nickleby, and Collins' Woman in White and No Name. Week 7 Reading Week No lectures. Week 8 Industrialisation and Social Change Dr Shirley Foster will look at the contemporary conditions - social, political, and economic - in the Victorian period that led to widespread concern and protests for change. The lecture also discusses the ways in which novelists and poets used imaginative literature to awaken consciousness among their ignorant readers while pleading for redress of the most severe abuses. Comparing different narrative and structural techniques of representative works also discussed potential and problems in addressing such material within fictional texts.

Dr Shirley Foster discusses Gaskell's North and South as a representative 'industrial novel'. The lecture delves into the impulses and concerns that led to its writing, as well as the strategies it employs to communicate its message. The lecture also highlights its differences from other similar novels of the period. Furthermore, it argues that it delves deeper into exploring questions of gender and sexuality while integrated into its overall preoccupation with the resolution of conflict and unifying opposing positions.

Professor Sally Shuttleworth's lecture aims to introduce some of the major changes in Victorian science and dispel some of the myths of the era. It challenges the notions that Victorian males were stoic and divided all females into virgins and whores.

Additionally, it addresses the misconception that all Victorians were sexually prudish. The lecture explores the emergence of Darwinian thought and its implications for psychology and conceptions of the man/nature divide. It also considers developments in medical theories on the male and female mind and body along with how ideas of insanity enter literary texts.

The lecture in Week 10 by Professor Sally Shuttleworth will examine the impact of industrialism on perceptions of personhood. The focus will be on 'sensation fiction', a genre that emerged in the 1860s, and the Victorian critics' reaction to it. This literary form was considered shocking and 'depraved', and was exemplified by Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White and Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret, which will be analyzed.

In this lecture, we will explore how Victorian literature challenged social norms around class and gender. We will build on the 'Science, Sex and Insanity' lecture by examining how psychological disorders influenced the sensation novel. Dr. Matthew Bevis will also investigate the relationship between politics and literature during the Victorian era. Through a variety of sources such as parliamentary debates and literary reviews, we will analyze cultural developments that shaped literary form. The lecture will conclude with an analysis of Tennyson's Maud, considering how a madman's perspective can question Victorian political sanity. Professor Sally Shuttleworth will also contextualize The Mayor of Casterbridge within Hardy's broader body of work and late Victorian culture.

The article will examine Hardy's concept of man's position in nature and history, beginning with the iconic image of a solitary figure walking along a road. It will reference Darwin's ideas regarding lineage, paternity, history and the significance of chance

in human events. The aforementioned scene where a wife is sold will be used to explore Hardy's portrayal of sexual morality and the evolving nature of country life. Additionally, the article will delve into Hardy's interpretation of tragedy.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, a Victorian writer who started writing while associated with the Church of England and Oxford University, but later became a marginalized Jesuit priest in Dublin, once wrote in his journal: "The business of the poet and novelist is to show the sorriness underlying the grandest things, and the grandeur underlying the sorriest things." Although his poems were not published until almost thirty years after his death by friend Robert Bridges, they were hailed as innovative, difficult, modernist, and decidedly un-Victorian. This lecture focuses on Hopkins' Victorian background and will discuss his sonnets as well as his long theodicy, "The Wreck of the Deutschland." If possible, please come prepared to analyze Hopkins' challenging sonnet, "Spelt from Sybil's Leaves," which serves as a dramatic representation of the author's life and beliefs.

Week 12 will see Dr Miriam Handley give a lecture on Victorian drama, focusing on the drama that emerged in the 'naughty nineties,' the arrival of Ibsen, and the critical outrage that ensued. Dr Handley will examine A Doll's House in particular and its influence on 'woman with a past' dramas, as well as George Bernard Shaw's response to the play in his Candida. This lecture will explore how playwrights such as Shaw, Wilde, Pinero, and Jones adapted their works to suit the fashionable audiences of their plays during this time period. Texts that will be discussed include Ibsen's A Doll's House and Shaw's Candida. For

further insight into other playwrights' responses to Ibsen, it is recommended to consider Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan, Arthur Wing Pinero's The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith and Jones's Mrs Dane's Defence.

Get ready to feel a sense of horror in act 5 in certain plays. The Fin de siecle, from Victorian to Modern times, is the topic of discussion by Dr. Matthew Campbell who explains that this period saw the emergence of many experimental practices from modernism. However, there were also well-known writers who catered to the general public during this era. Dr. Campbell's lecture specifically examines the literature of the 1890s, highlighting the works of W and others.

B. Yeats, Alfred Douglas, and Oscar Wilde, as depicted in Portrait of Dorian Gray, are referenced in this text which also anticipates the 20th Century through the later works of Thomas Hardy. Hardy's early 20th Century poems center on themes of separation and conflict.

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