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While in the preceding Romantic period poetry had been the dominant genre, it was the novel that

was most important in the Victorian period. Charles Dickens (1812-1870) dominated the first part of Victoria's reign: his first novel, Pickwick Papers, was published in 1836, and his last Our Mutual Friend between 1864-5. William Thackeray's (1811-1863) most famous work Vanity Fair appeared in 1848, and the three Bront sisters, Charlotte (1816-55), Emily (1818-48) and Anne (1820-49), also published significant works in the 1840s. A major later novel was George Eliot's (1819-80) Middlemarch (1872), while the major novelist of the later part of Queen Victoria's reign was Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), whose first novel, Under the Greenwood Tree, appeared in 1872 and his last, Jude the Obscure, in 1895. Robert Browning (1812-89) and Alfred Tennyson (1809-92) were Victorian England's most famous poets, though more recent taste has tended to prefer the poetry of Thomas Hardy, who, though he wrote poetry throughout his life, did not publish a collection until 1898, as well of that of Gerald Manley Hopkins (1844-89), whose poetry was published posthumously in 1918. Early poetry of W. B. Yeats was also published in Victoria's reign. With regard to the theatre into was not until the last decades of the nineteenth century that any significant works were produced. This began with Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operas, from the 1870s, various plays of George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) in the 1890s, and Oscar Wilde's (1854-1900) The Importance of Being Earnest in 1895. Charles Dickens is the most famous Victorian novelist. Extraordinarily popular in his day with his characters taking on a life of their own beyond the page, Dickens is still one of the most popular and read authors of that time. His first novel, The Pickwick Papers (1836), written when he was twenty-five, was an overnight success, and all his subsequent works sold extremely well. The comedy of his first novel has a satirical edge and this pervades his writing. Dickens worked diligently and prolifically to produce the entertaining writing that the public wanted, but also to offer commentary on social problems and the plight of the poor and oppressed. His most important works include Oliver Twist (1837-8), Dombey and Son (1846-8), Bleak House (1852-3), Great Expectations (1860-61), Little Dorrit (1855-7), and Our Mutual Friend (1864-5). There is a gradual trend in his fiction towards darker themes which mirrors a tendency in much of the writing of the 19th century. William Thackeray was Dickens' great rival in the first half of Queen Victoria's reign. With a similar style but a slightly more detached, acerbic and barbed satirical view of his characters, he also tended to depict a more middle class society than Dickens did. He is best known for his novel Vanity Fair (1848), subtitled A Novel without a Hero, which is an example of a form popular in Victorian literature: an historical novel in which recent history is depicted. The Bront sisters wrote fiction rather different from that common at the time. Away from the big cities and literary society, Haworth in West Yorkshire was the home of the Bront sisters. Anne, Charlotte and Emily Bront had time in their short lives to produce masterpieces, although these were not immediately appreciated by Victorian critics. Wuthering Heights (1847), Emily's only work, in particular has violence, passion, the supernatural, heightened emotion and emotional distance, an unusual mix for any novel but particularly at this time. It is an example of Gothic Romanticism from a woman's point of view, which examines class, myth, and gender. Jane Eyre (1847), by her sister Charlotte, is another major nineteenth century novel that has gothic themes. Anne's second novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848), written in realistic rather than romantic style, is mainly considered to be the first sustained feminist novel.[1] Later in this period George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), published The Mill on the Floss in 1860, and in 1872 her most famous work Middlemarch. Like the Bronts she published under a masculine pseudonym.

In the later decades of the Victorian era Thomas Hardy was the most important novelist. His works include Under the Greenwood Tree (1872), Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1895)
Victorian novels tend to be idealized portraits of difficult lives in which hard work, perseverance, love and luck win out in the end; virtue would be rewarded and wrongdoers are suitably punished. They tended to be of an improving nature with a central moral lesson at heart. While this formula was the basis for much of earlier Victorian fiction, the situation became more complex as the century progressed. The reclaiming of the past was a major part of Victorian literature with an interest in both classical literature but also the medieval literature of England. The Victorians loved the heroic, chivalrous stories of knights of old and they hoped to regain some of that noble, courtly behaviour and impress it upon the people both at home and in the wider empire. The best example of this is Alfred Tennyson's Idylls of the King, which blended the stories of King Arthur, particularly those by Thomas Malory, with contemporary concerns and ideas. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood also drew on myth and folklore for their art, with Dante Gabriel Rossetti contemporaneously regarded as the chief poet amongst them, although his sister Christina is now held by scholars to be a stronger poet. In drama, farces, musical burlesques, extravaganzas and comic operas competed with Shakespeare productions and serious drama by the likes of James Planch and Thomas William Robertson. In 1855, the German Reed Entertainments began a process of elevating the level of (formerly risqu) musical theatre in Britain that culminated in the famous series of comic operas by Gilbert and Sullivan and were followed by the 1890s with the first Edwardian musical comedies. The first play to achieve 500 consecutive performances was the London comedy Our Boys by H. J. Byron, opening in 1875. Its astonishing new record of 1,362 performances was bested in 1892 by Charley's Aunt by Brandon Thomas.[5] After W. S. Gilbert, Oscar Wilde became the leading poet and dramatist of the late Victorian period.[4] Wilde's plays, in particular, stand apart from the many now forgotten plays of Victorian times and have a much closer relationship to those of the Edwardian dramatists such as George Bernard Shaw, many of whose most important works were written in the 20th century. Wilde's 1895 comic masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest, was the greatest of the plays in which he held an ironic mirror to the aristocracy while displaying virtuosic mastery of wit and paradoxical wisdom. It has remained extremely popular.

Science, philosophy and discovery

Charles Darwin's work On the Origin of Species affected society and thought in the Victoria era, and still does today. The Victorian era was an important time for the development of science and the Victorians had a mission to describe and classify the entire natural world. Much of this writing does not rise to the level of being regarded as literature but one book in particular, Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, remains famous. The theory of evolution contained within the work shook many of the ideas the Victorians had about themselves and their place in the world. Although it took a long time to be widely accepted, it would dramatically change subsequent thought and literature. Other important non-fiction works of the time are the philosophical writings of John Stuart Mill covering logic, economics, liberty and utilitarianism, and the large and influential histories of Thomas Carlyle: The French Revolution, A History and On Heroes and Hero Worship, and Thomas Babington Macaulay: The History of England from the Accession of James II. The greater number of novels that contained overt criticism of religion did not stifle a vigorous list of publications on the subject of religion. Two of the most important of these are John Henry Newman and Henry Edward Manning who both wished to revitalise Anglicanism with a return to the Roman Catholic Church. In a somewhat opposite direction, the ideas of socialism were permeating political thought at the time with Friedrich Engels writing his Condition of the Working Classes in England and William Morris writing the early

socialist utopian novel News from Nowhere. One other important and monumental work begun in this era was the Oxford English Dictionary which would eventually become the most important historical dictionary of the English language.

Nature writing
See also: Nature writing In the U.S.A., Henry David Thoreau's works and Susan Fenimore Cooper's Rural Hours (1850) were canonical influences on Victorian nature writing. In the U.K., Philip Gosse and Sarah Bowdich Lee were two of the most popular nature writers in the early part of the Victorian era.[6] The Illustrated London News, founded in 1842, was the world's first illustrated weekly newspaper and often published articles and illustrations dealing with nature; in the second half of the 19th century, books, articles, and illustrations on nature became widespread and popular among an increasingly urbanized reading public.

Supernatural and fantastic literature

The old Gothic tales that came out of the late 19th century are the first examples of the genre of fantastic fiction. These tales often centered on larger-than-life characters such as Sherlock Holmes, famous detective of the times, Barry Lee, big time gang leader, Sexton Blake, Phileas Fogg, and other fictional characters of the era, such as Dracula, Edward Hyde, The Invisible Man, and many other fictional characters who often had exotic enemies to foil. Spanning the 18th and 19th centuries, there was a particular type of story-writing known as gothic. Gothic literature combines romance and horror in attempt to thrill and terrify the reader. Possible features in a gothic novel are foreign monsters, ghosts, curses, hidden rooms and witchcraft. Gothic tales usually take place in locations such as castles, monasteries, and cemeteries, although the gothic monsters sometimes cross over into the real world, making appearances in cities such as London and Paris.

Victorian novel
It was in the Victorian era (18371901) that the novel became the leading form of literature in English. Most writers were now more concerned to meet the tastes of a large middle class reading public than to please aristocratic patrons. The 1830s saw a resurgence of the social novel, where sensationalized accounts and stories of the working class poor were directed toward middle class audiences to incite sympathy and action towards pushing for legal and moral change. Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South contrasts the lifestyle in the industrial north of England with the wealthier south. Most Victorian novels were long and closely wrought, full of intricate language, but the dominant feature of Victorian novels might be their verisimilitude, that is, their close representation to the real social life of the age. This social life was largely informed by the development of the emerging middle class and the manners and expectations of this class, as opposed to the aristocrat forms dominating previous ages.
Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens emerged on the literary scene in the 1830s, confirming the trend for serial publication. Dickens wrote vividly about London life and struggles of the poor, in books such as Oliver Twist, but in a good-humoured fashion, accessible to readers of all classes. The festive tale A Christmas Carol he called his "little Christmas book". Great Expectations is a quest for maturity. A Tale of Two Cities is set in London and Paris in the time of the French Revolution. Dickens' early works are masterpieces of

comedy, such as The Pickwick Papers. Later his works became darker, but continued to display his genius for caricature. The emotionally powerful works of the Bront sisters: Charlotte's Jane Eyre, Emily's Wuthering Heights were released in 1847, and Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall in 1848 after their search to secure publishers. William Makepeace Thackeray satirised British society in Vanity Fair (1847), while Anthony Trollope's novels portrayed the lives of the landowning and professional classes of early Victorian England. Although pre-dated by John Ruskin's The King of the Golden River in 1841, the history of the modern fantasy genre is generally said to begin with George MacDonald, influential author of The Princess and the Goblin and Phantastes (1858). William Morris was a popular English poet who wrote several fantasy novels during the latter part of the nineteenth century. Key to Victorian style is the concept of the intrusive narrator and the address to the reader. For example, the author might interrupt his/her narrative to pass judgment on a character, or pity or praise another, while later seeming to exclaim "Dear Reader!" and inform or remind the reader of some other relevant issue. Wilkie Collins' epistolary novel The Moonstone (1868), is generally considered the first detective novel in the English language. The Woman in White is regarded as one of the finest sensation novels. The novels of George Eliot, such as Middlemarch, were a milestone of literary realism, and are frequently held in the highest regard for their combination of high Victorian literary detail combined with an intellectual breadth that removes them from the narrow geographic confines they often depict. An interest in rural matters and the changing social and economic situation of the countryside is seen in the novels of Thomas Hardy and others. H. G. Wells, who, like Jules Verne, has been referred to as "The Father of Science Fiction", invented a number of themes that are now classic in the science fiction genre. The War of the Worlds (1898), describing an invasion of late Victorian England by Martians using tripod fighting machines equipped with advanced weaponry, is a seminal depiction of an alien invasion of Earth. The Time Machine is generally credited with the popularization of the concept of time travel using a vehicle that allows an operator to travel purposefully and selectively. The term "time machine", coined by Wells, is now universally used to refer to such a vehicle.

Serial novel
Many novels of the Victorian period were published in serial form; that is, individual chapters or sections appearing in subsequent journal issues. As such, demand was high for each new appearance of the novel to introduce some new element, whether it be a plot twist or a new character, so as to maintain the reader's interest. Authors publishing serially were often paid by the installment, which helps account for the popularity of the three-volume novel during this period. In part for these reasons, novels are made up of a variety of plots and a large number of characters, appearing and reappearing as events dictate.
Victorian Literature

If there is one transcending aspect to Victorian England life and society, that aspect is change or, more accurately, upheaval. Everything that the previous centuries had held as sacred and indisputable truth

came under assault during the middle and latter parts of the nineteenth century. Nearly every institution of society was shaken by rapid and unpredictable change. Improvements to steam engine technology led to increased factory production. More manufacturing required more coal to be mined from the ground. The economies of Europe expanded and accelerated, as the foundations of a completely global economy were laid. Huge amounts of wealth were created, and the spirit of the times discouraged the regulation of business practices. Today, this is called laissez-faire economics. This generation of wealth was to the sole benefit of the newly risen middle class, an urbane, entrepreneurial segment of society which saw itself as the natural successor to the nobles former position of influence. At the same time, scientific advancements were undermining the position of the Church in daily life. Charles Darwins theories of evolution and natural selection brought humanity down to the level of the animal, and seemingly reduced the meaning of life to a bloody struggle for survival. Rather than a benign Creator, the world was dominated and steered by strength alone. In the general population, the ever-present gap between the haves and have-nots widened significantly during the Victorian period. The poorest of their poor found their lot in life to be worse than it had ever been, as the new market economy favored industry over agriculture. Large numbers of dispossessed farmers and peasants migrated from the countryside to the cities, seeking work in the factories. The effects of that demographic shift can still be observed. Conditions in the overwhelmed, sprawling cities degenerated as the infrastructure simply could not handle the influx of new workers. Slums and shantytowns became the norm, and depredation was a fact of life for the majority of the working class. For some, the fundamental changes taking place in the world meant progress, and were a source of hope and optimism. For the majority of writers and thinkers, however, the inequality present in Victorian society was a kind of illness that would sooner or later come to a tipping point. Many intellectuals saw it as their duty to speak out against the injustices of this new and frightening world. Essayists like Thomas Carlyle railed against the systematic abuse he saw happening all around him. He saw machinery and the Industrial Revolution as engines of destruction, stripping people of their very humanity. The level of social consciousness and immediate relevancy one finds in much of Victorian writing was something not witnessed before in English letters. Rather than turning inside or escaping into fantasy, essayists and novelists chose to directly address the pressing social problems of the day. These problems ranged from atrocious labor conditions and rampant poverty to the issue of womens place in the world what contemporaries referred to as The Woman Question. Elizabeth Barrett-Brownings long-form poem The Cry of the Children represents an attack on mining practices in England, specifically the employment of young children to work deep in the mines. Barrett-Browning had been outraged by a report she read detailing the practice and felt compelled to make her voice heard on the issue. She was certainly not alone in this feeling. Novelist Charles Dickens made a cottage industry out of addressing social ills in a light-hearted, optimistic tone. Each of his many novels called attention to real-world problems that others might just as soon have swept under the rug. Dickens is also noteworthy for his rock star status, attaining popularity that would not have been possible in the previous generation. He wrote with a voice that was very accessible to the ordinary reader of the time, and yet couched within his fiction were essential questions that society would sooner or later be forced to confront. One cannot say exactly how much influence Dickens and others had on their society, but the fact that they tried to change their world is what is important. Writers of the preceding era did not speak to a popular audience nearly as much as the Victorians, or at least not as self-consciously. The Romantic Movement was marked by introversion and abstraction; they were much less interested in commenting on, much less altering the course of world events. Furthermore, the Romantics did not see leadership as a primary objective for art. Victorians, on the other hand, tacitly agreed that encouraging society toward a higher good was a righteous, noble occupation for any artist. Not surprisingly, women in the Victorian world held very little power and had to fight hard for the change they wanted in their lives. What one thinks of as feminism today had not yet taken form in the

Victorian period. The philosophy of female emancipation, however, became a rallying point for many female Victorian writers and thinkers. Though their philosophies and methods were often quite divergent, the ultimate goal of intellectual women in the nineteenth century was largely the same. Poets and novelists frequently had to be coy when addressing their status in society. Christina Rossettis Goblin Market combines early feminist imagery with many other concepts in a fairy-tale like world of imagination. Her use of religious symbolism is especially fascinating. Though not as highly regarded, Letitia Elizabeth Landon was also an accomplished and popular female poet. Charlotte and Emily Bront crafted novels that have stood the test of time and taken their place as literary classics. These women were exceptions to the rule. Patriarchy had been firmly entrenched in Western society for so long that women writers faced an uphill climb to gain any level recognition and acceptance. Some authors, like Mary Ann Evans, felt the need to work under a male pseudonym in order to receive recognition. Evans published her first two novels, Adam Bede and Scenes of Clerical Life, under the false name of George Eliot. Interestingly, even today Evans is more commonly known by her pseudonym than her real name. In the early years of the Victorian Period, poetry was still the most visible of literary forms. Like everything else, poetry and poetics underwent an evolution during the nineteenth century. Both the purpose of poetry and its basic style and tone changed drastically during the Victorian Period. In the first half of the nineteenth century, poetry was still mired in the escapist, abstract imagery and themes of the earlier generation. While essayists and novelists were confronting social issues head-on, poets for their part remained ambivalent at best. This self-induced coma gradually lifted, and by mid-century most poets had moved away from the abstractions and metaphysical tropes of the Romantics and fashioned a more down-to-earth, realistic kind of verse. Alfred, Lord Tennyson was the master of simple, earthy lyricism to which everyone could relate. His In Memoriam shows off this simplicity and economy of verse, while remaining an effective and moving elegy for his deceased friend Arthur Hallam. The obsession with the natural world and the imagination that so clearly distinguished the Romantic poets was supplanted during the Victorian Period by a clear-headed, almost utilitarian kind of poetics. The subject matter of Victorian poetry was quite often socially-oriented, but this was by no means set in stone. Victorian poets were nothing if not masters of variety and inventiveness. Robert Brownings dramatic monologues, for example, covered a wide array of subjects, from lucid dreams to the nature of art and even the meaning of existence. Throughout his various aesthetic experiments, Browning never failed to inject humanity into his subject matter. The Bishop Orders His Tomb at St. Praxeds Church, one of Brownings most famous poems, demonstrates the intensity and psychological realism he was able to portray in the space of a few hundred lines. At some point in the Victorian era, the novel replaced the poem as the most fashionable vehicle for the transmission of literature. This fundamental shift in popular taste has remained to the present day. Serial publications in magazines and journals became more and more popular, and soon these pieces were being bound and sold in their complete forms. Dickens made full use of the serial format, and his novels betray the episodic arrangement of their original publication method. He was the first great popular novelist in England, and was the forerunner of the artist-celebrity figure which in the twentieth century would become the norm. The influence of Dickens was so severe that every novelist who came after him had to work under his aesthetic shadow. Part of his appeal certainly owed to the fact that his literary style, while always entertaining, put the ills of society under the microscope for everyone to see. His Hard Times was a condemning portrait of societys obsession with logic and scientific advancement at the expanse of the imagination. Until the Victorian Period, the novel had been frowned upon as a lesser form of writing, incapable of the sublime reaches of lyric poetry. Critics saw that the novel appealed to a popular, often female readership, and therefore dismissed it as artless and dull. The later Victorian novelists, however, proved that the form could attain heights of artistic achievement previously reserved only for poetry. Thomas Hardy, for example, pushed the novel to its limits, significantly expanding the

possibilities of the form. Although he thought of himself more as a poet, his first best talent lay in constructing detailed, fatalistic plot-structures that still captivate readers. Novels like Jude the Obscure share many qualities with Greek tragedy, of which Hardy was quite fond, but they also contain psychologically sophisticated, realistic characterizations. His gift for characterization would influence an entire generation of writers. Thomas Hardy must be regarded as a key forerunner of the Modernist Movement in literature. His novels and poetry all display tendencies that would reach their apex in the early twentieth century. Hardy often created desolate, hopeless worlds where life had very little meaning. He also actively questioned the relevance of modern institutions, in particular organized religion. Sentiments like these would find accomplished spokespersons in poets like T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Another skilled poet who is often considered a precursor to Modernism is Gerard Manley Hopkins. Though he never published in his lifetime, his work was greatly received after his death. His unusual use of language set him apart from virtually every other poet of his day. Hopkins was very much concerned with religion and the nature of Creation. However, he still preserved a healthy quantity of skepticism. It is this existential doubt that, like Hardy, made Hopkins a favorite among the Modernist writers who would later discover his work. For many, the word Victorian conjures up images of over-dressed ladies and snooty gentlemen gathered in parlors and reading rooms. The idea of manners essentially sums up the social climate of middle-class England in the nineteenth century. Rules of personal conduct were in fact so inflexible that the Victorians garnered a reputation for saying one thing while doing another an attack that the next generation of writers would take up with vigor. In the world at large, change was happening faster than many people could comprehend. A surging global economy was orchestrated by the might of the British Empire. The nobility, formerly at the top of the pyramid in society, found their status reduced as agriculture lost its preeminence in the now industrial economy. Mechanization and steam power led to ruthless efficiency, while more often than not the poor suffered under the weight of the capitalist middle class. Being impoverished in Victorian England was unpleasant to say the least, but there were efforts underway to improve the lot of the poor. The Reform Bills of the nineteenth century extended voting rights to men who were previously disenfranchised but not, of course, to women. That would require years more of struggle. For all of the social inequalities which still persisted, the Victorians successfully undermined some of humanitys most time-honored institutions. Some writers greeted these changes with fear, and wanted desperately for society to check its relentless pace. Others embraced the new world that was coming into being, thrilled at the progress of science and society. Together, these voices comprise an important and sometimes overlooked era in English literary history. This article is copyrighted 2011 by Jalic Inc. Do not reprint it without permission. Written by Josh Rahn. Josh holds a Masters degree in English Literature from Morehead State University, and a Masters degree in Library Science from the University of Kentucky.


Realism is a literary movement that started in France in the 1850s as a reaction against Romanticism and which tried to show "life as it was" in literature all over Europe. Although the concept is also questioned by some critics, it is a useful term to understand the general spirit of the second half of the 19th century: a reaction to Romanticism, a stress on reason and positivism, and a faith in the power of the artist to show reality. In England, this movement coincided approximately with the "Victorian era", a period ruled by Queen Victoria (1837-1901) which meant the height of the British Empire and the Industrial Revolution. The

United Kingdom expanded its borders into America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania and became the first economic and political world power. Many critics prefer to talk about the "Victorian Age", since many of the best English novelists of the period are not "realistic" in the same sense as their French or Russian counterparts. But whether more or less realistic, NOVELS are certainly the most important literary form of the period, excellent novels read by an expanding educated middle class that had developed with economic prosperity. Walter Scott (1771-1832) started out as a writer of Romantic narrative verse and ended up as a historical novelist. He wrote several historical novels, mainly about Scottish history. Ivanhoe (1819). JANE AUSTEN (1775-1817) shared the chronological time with the Romantics, but she shares some of the features of Realism. She has a unique talent and cannot really be assigned to any group. Her novels (Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Emma (1816)) remain as popular and critically acclaimed as ever. Her primary interest is people, not ideas, and her achievement lies in the meticulously exact presentation of human situations and in the delineation of characters that are really living creatures. Her novels deal with the life of rural land-owners, seen from a womans point of view, have little action but are full of humour and true dialogue. The Bront sisters wrote after Jane Austen but are the most Romantic of the Victorian novelists, particularly Emily Bront (1818-1848), who wrote Wuthering Heights (1847), the epitome of the Romantic novel, wild passion set against the Yorkshire moors. Charlotte Bront (1816-1855) wrote Jane Eyre (1847), a love story of great realism. CHARLES DICKENS (1812-1870) was perhaps the most popular novelist of the period. He serialized most of his novels, which may explain some of his weak plots. Dickens wrote vividly about London life and the struggles of the poor, but in a good-humoured fashion (with grotesque characters) which was acceptable to readers of all classes. His early works such as the Pickwick Papers (1836) are masterpieces of comedy. Later his works became darker, without losing his genius for caricature: Oliver Twist (1837), David Copperfield (1850), Great Expectations (1861). A Christmas Carol (1843) is the popular story of Mr. Scrooge visited by the four Christmas ghosts. William M. Thackeray (1811-1863) wrote Vanity Fair (1847), a satire of high classes in English society. George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans, 1819-1890) might be the most realistic of these writers: Middlemarch (1874). Anthony Trollope (1815-1888) wrote novels about life in a provincial English town. Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was a very pessimistic writer who wrote stories of people in the countryside (the fictional county of Wessex) whose fate was governed by forces outside themselves (which connects him to Naturalism). Jude the Obscure (1895), Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891). The expansion of the reading middle classes allowed for the development of POPULAR LITERATURE, like the Detective Stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), who, following the example of Edgar Allan Poe, wrote his tales of Sherlock Holmes. G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) wrote his Father Brown detective stories as well as other non-genre novels. H.G. Wells (1866-1946) wrote very interesting science fiction, like The Time Machine (1895) or The War of the Worlds (1898) as well as non-genre novels. Literature for children also developed in the Victorian Age as a separate genre. Some works become globally well-known, such as those of Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), author of the extremely rich fantasies Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking Glass (1865). Adventure novels, such as those by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), were written for adults, and although they are now generally classified as for children and teenagers they are still powerful: Treasure Island

(1883), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886). Helen Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) was an English author and illustrator, best known for her childrens books, which featured animal characters: The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902). Some Victorian poets worth mentioning are Robert and Elizabeth Browning (husband and wife), Gerald Manley Hopkins (1844-1849), a precursor of Modernism, and the pre-Raphaelites (school of painters and poets) Christina and Gabriel Rosseti (brother and sister). Lord (Alfred) Tennyson (18091892) was Poet Laureate during most of Queen Victorias reign and sang the values of the British Empire and the Victorian Age in some of his poems, like The Charge of the Light Brigade (1854). These Imperial values were also sung by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) several years later in his poems and in novels like The Man Who Would Be King (1888) and The Jungle Book (1894)
One of the aspects of romantic literature that defies realism is the tendency of good characters to end well while bad characters end in dismay. This idealism suggests not only that people get what they deserve, but that every person is either intrinsically good or bad. Reality disagrees, as actual people exhibit a complexity of character and outcomes in their lives. Jane Austen created characters who were mostly flat, which aligned with her romantic predecessors. However, in Mansfield Park, Austen has finally created a heroine who is not wholly ideal as a heroine. Her theatrics call for negative attention not only from Edmund and her other family members, but from the reader, and this annoying attribute makes her character seem more realistic.

Victorian Serial Novels

The serialization of literature began as early as the 17th century but it reached its zenith in Britain in the 19th century. Throughout the Victorian period, novels in serial parts were published in abundance in newspapers and magazines, by far the most popular form, or in discreet parts issued in instalments, usually twenty monthly issues. Serial publication enabled middle class readers to purchase novels that would be too expensive for them to purchase as a single edition. Most monthly part issues sold for about one shilling, meaning the cost of a novel could be spread out over a year and a half. Magazines and newspapers were even more affordable and many offered two or more novels running concurrently. Illustrations were also an important feature of serial novels and Victorian artists, like John Everett Millais, were well known for their illustrations for serial fiction. Advertising also appeared in magazines and newspapers and in monthly part issues. Serialization affected the form of the English novel. Each chapter had to engage the reader as a single unit as well as working within the context of the whole novel. Authors adopted various strategies to cope with tight deadlines and other challenges of the form, such as the requirement to produce parts of a uniform length. Some wrote the complete novel beforehand and submitted all the monthly parts together. Others let the novel evolve with each part. In such cases, the story could be interrupted or delayed by illness. It was also important not to introduce any element to the story that a Victorian audience might find offensive as many periodicals were aimed at a family audience. Part issues eventually fell out of favour as magazines became the preferred format and inexpensive one-volume reprints of original novels became available. Many 19th century authors established themselves by first publishing original fiction in serial format. Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Thomas Hardy, George Meredith, Robert Louis Stevenson and more, all published serial novels, either in monthly magazines or as discreet serial parts. Charles Dickens popularized the part serial format, beginning with his first novel, the Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (1836-1837), one of the serial novels digitized as part of the Victorian Serial Novels collection. Pickwick was not well-received until the fourth issue when sales soared to 40,000 in one month. Dickens subsequently published eight other novels in part issue format,

including Martin Chuzzlewit (Jan. 1843-Jul. 1844), Dombey and Son (Oct. 1846-Apr. 1848), David Copperfield (May 1849-Nov. 1850), Little Dorrit (Dec. 1855-Jun. 1857) and Our Mutual Friend (May 1864-Nov. 1865).

19th Century
Serialized fiction surged in popularity during Britain's Victorian era, due to a combination of the rise of literacy, technological advances in printing, and improved economics of distribution.[5] A significant majority of 'original' novels from the Victorian era actually first appeared in either monthly or weekly installments in magazines or newspapers.[6] The wild success of Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers, first published in 1836, is widely considered to have established the viability and appeal of the serialized format within periodical literature. During that era, the line between "quality" and "commercial" literature was not distinct. [7] In the German speaking countries, the serialized novel was widely popularized by the weekly family magazine Die Gartenlaube, which reached a circulation of 382,000 by 1875.[8] While American periodicals first syndicated British writers, over time they drew from a growing base of domestic authors. The rise of the periodicals like Harpers and the Atlantic Monthly grew in symbiotic tandem with American literary talent. The magazines nurtured and provided an economic sustainability for writers, while the writers helped grow the periodicals' circulation base. During the late 19th century, those that were considered the best American writers first published their work first in serial form and then only later in a completed volume format.[9] As a piece in Scribner's Monthly explained in 1878, it is only the "second and third rate novelist who could not get published in a magazine and is obliged to publish in a volume, and it is in a magazine that the best novelists always appear first." Among the American writers that wrote in serial form were Henry James, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Herman Melville. A large part of the appeal for writers at the time was the broad audiences that serialization could reach, which would then grow their following for published works. One of the first significant American works to be released in serial format is Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, which was published over a 40-week period by National Era, an abolitionist periodical, starting with the June 5, 1851 issue. Serialization was so standard in American literature that authors from that era often built installment structure into their creative process. Henry James, for example, often had his works divided into multipart segments of similar length.[10] The consumption of fiction during that time was different than the 20th century. Instead of being read in single volume, a novel would often be consumered by readers in installments over a period as long as a year, with the authors and periodicals often responding to audience reaction.[11] Serialization was also popular throughout Europe. In France, Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary was serialized in La Revue de Paris in 1856. In Russia, The Russian Messenger serialized Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina from 1873 to 1877 and Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov from 1879 to 1880. Other famous English language writers who wrote serial literature for popular magazines included Wilkie Collins, inventor of the English detective novel and author of The Moonstone; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who created the Sherlock Holmes stories originally for serialization in The Strand magazine; and the Polish writer Bolesaw Prus, author of the serialized novels The Outpost (188586), The Doll (1887 89), The New Woman (189093) and his sole historical novel, Pharaoh (the latter, exceptionally, written entire over a year's time in 189495 and serialized only after completion, in 189596).

The logical outgrowth of literary Realism was the point of view known as Naturalism. This literary movement, like its predecessor, found expression almost exclusively within the novel. Naturalism also found its greatest number of practitioners in America shortly before and after the turn of the twentieth century. Naturalism sought to go further and be more explanatory than Realism by identifying the underlying causes for a persons actions or beliefs. The thinking was that certain factors, such as heredity and social conditions, were unavoidable determinants in ones life. A poor immigrant could not escape their life of poverty because their preconditions were the only formative aspects in his or her existence that mattered. Naturalism almost entirely dispensed with the notion of free will, or at least a free will capable of enacting real change in lifes circumstances. The theories of Charles Darwin are often identified as playing a role in the development of literary Naturalism; however, such a relationship does not stand up to investigative rigor. Darwin never applied his theories to human social behavior, and in doing so many authors seriously abused the actual science. There was in the late nineteenth century a fashion in sociology to apply evolutionary theory to human social woes. This line of thinking came to be knows as Social Darwinism, and today is recognized as the systematized, scientific racism that it is. More than a few atrocities in world history were perpetrated by those who misguidedly applied Darwinism to the social realm. Naturalism, for better or worse, is in some respects a form of Social Darwinism played out in fiction One could make the case that Naturalism merely a specialized variety of Realism. In fact, many authors of the period are identified as both Naturalist and Realist. Edith Wharton for one is frequently identified as perfectly representative of both aesthetic frameworks. However, Naturalism displayed some very specific characteristics that delimit it from the contemporary literature that was merely realistic. The environment, especially the social environment, played a large part in how the narrative developed. The locale essentially becomes its own character, guiding the human characters in ways they do not fully realize. Plot structure as such was secondary to the inner workings of character, which superficially resembles how the Realists approached characterization. The work of Emile Zola provided inspiration for many of the Naturalist authors, as well as the work of many Russian novelists. It would be fairer to assert that all Naturalist fiction is Realist, but not all Realist fiction is Naturalist. The dominant theme of Naturalist literature is that persons are fated to whatever station in life their heredity, environment, and social conditions prepare them for. The power of primitive emotions to negate human reason was also a recurring element. Writers like Zola and Frank Norris conceived of their work as experiments in which characters were subjected to various stimuli in order to gauge reactions. Adverse social conditions are taken as a matter of fact. The documentary style of narrative makes no comment on the situation, and there is no sense of advocating for change. The Naturalist simply takes the world as it is, for good or ill. The Naturalist novel is then a sort of laboratory of fiction, with studies underway that ethically could not be performed in the real world. The work of French novelist and playwright Emile Zola is often pinpointed as the genesis of the Naturalist movement proper. His most famous contribution to Naturalism was Les Rougon-Macquart, a sweeping collection of 20 novels that follow two families over the course of five generations. One of the families is privileged, the other impoverished, but they each stumble into decay and failure. The action takes place during the rule of Napoleon III, a time of great uncertainty for the French people. The atmosphere in Paris, as well as in the novels, was one of dread and uncertainty. Zola crafts over 300 characters for his epic, yet on the whole they are rather thinly drawn. His concern is not with character as such, but how characters react to circumstances. Often, an inanimate object or place is given as much potency as a human character. Zolas often grim subject matter is couple with a sober and scientific narration of details. There is a clinical aspect to his craft that is echoed in his descriptions of novel11

writing as a form of science. Later writers would concur, citing Zola as their major inspiration in pursuing the Naturalist aesthetic in literature. One of the first truly Naturalist works of literature, and certainly the first in America, was Stephen Cranes Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. Crane spent a great deal of time in the Bowery of lower Manhattan gathering material for his first novel. Like a research scientist accumulating data, Crane wanted to learn as much as he could about life for the impoverished, mostly immigrant residents. Maggie was unusual for the time in that it perfectly reproduced the ostensibly vulgar dialect of the persons portrayed. An earlier novel treating the same subject may have romanticized the immigrant life, but Crane portrayed abject poverty exactly as it was. The book was not a great seller, and he lost a hefty sum of money on the venture, but those who did read it saw the promise of a new talent in American literature. Like many of his fellow American novelists, Crane began his career as a journalist, and he continued to travel and report on international stories for the remainder of his career. His total contributions to the body of literature were relatively small, as he died before his thirtieth birthday. Despite his short career, Stephen Cranes talent stands out above every other writer of the period. This was not fully realized until many years after his death. Modernists like Ernest Hemingway worked hard to rehabilitate the critical reputation of Crane, and today that reputation is resoundingly positive. Cranes most celebrated and often misunderstood novel is The Red Badge of Courage. The novel was set during the Civil War, and follows one young soldiers experience of that war. Whats truly remarkable is that Crane wrote Red Badge with no actual experience of battle. His descriptions and scenery were inspired by war and history magazines, which he found dry and too matter-of-fact. To Cranes mind, the stories lacked any connection to the real feeling warfare, as dates and locations of battles cannot even begin to reproduce the essence of combat. He saw an opportunity to craft the first novel that explored warfare from the point of view of the psyche. In his own words, Crane envisioned a psychological portrait of fear. He achieved this vision through intense, almost painterly prose. Characters speak in realistic dialects. The story is not rooted in a specific locale. The soldiers cannot see the big picture of the war, and neither can the reader. Many characters are nameless, even the protagonist Fleming is often just the young soldier. Throughout the novel runs a current of deep, bitter irony. The glory of warfare is replaced by ignorance, pain, and fear. Crane offers no sentimentality or mythology. He reports the events in fine detail, but makes no authorial commentary. The Red Badge of Courage is frequently required reading for high school English classes, yet the irony of the text is often lost. Crane abhorred the mythmaking that surrounded armed combat, and his greatest novel is an attempt to show that humans were not designed to commit such atrocities on each other. Though she is frequently lumped together with the Realists, Edith Wharton often produced novels that just as rightly belong in the category of Naturalism. Unlike the bulk of her contemporaries in the Naturalist vein, Whartons novels dealt almost exclusively with the concerns of the upper crust of society. Though she herself descended from enormous wealth, Wharton was able to step outside her own experience and take an objective view of privilege and class. Her agenda was to show the unforgiving nature of life at the top of the class structure. Her characters often fall from grace through their own mistakes, miscalculation, and sometimes for no apparent reason at all. Interestingly, Wharton also had a successful career as a designer of homes and landscapes. This attention to environmental details certainly found expression with her literary productions. More so than most Naturalist writers, Wharton displayed a real sympathy for her characters. Even when they meet unfortunate ends, Whartons affection for the characters she creates is readily apparent. In that sense, her particular brand of Naturalism was less cold and clinical than many of her contemporaries. Still, one cannot escape the sense that Wharton subscribed to the notion of determinism a world devoid of free will.


In Ethan Frome, Wharton departs from her typical subject matter and attempts a thoroughly provincial narrative. The setting is rural Massachusetts, and the characters are poverty-stricken and hopeless. There is the faintest hint of romance, but all hopes of a happy resolution are dashed, quite literally. Unlike her upper-class novels, in Ethan Frome Whartons tone is cold and unsparing. The poverty of the characters is presented as a roadblock to even the slimmest chance of fulfillment. The lead characters are not even permitted to end their suffering through suicide their fateful sledding accident only adding to the tragedy of their existence. There is no epic sweep to the tragedy either. The world of Ethan Frome is very small, and the characters attempt to escape from it makes it even smaller. The sense of irrevocable fate is overpowering, as is the unforgiving, elemental nature of the harsh Massachusetts winter. In Frank Norris, American literature found its most potent expression of Naturalism. Profoundly influenced by evolutionary theory, Norriss chief concern was with how civilized man overcame the brute, animal nature that still lived inside of him. His novels are Darwinian struggles played out in fiction, and he was sometimes criticized for making literature that was too scientific and lacking in sympathy. Like many Naturalists, Norris was interested in the trials of life of the poor and destitute. In McTeague, his most famous novel, he studies how ambition and greed derail the life of a moderately successful dentist. Characters are frequently referred to in animalistic terms, and there is an undercurrent of unhealthy sexuality that permeates the first sections of the novel. Overall, McTeague is a grim exposition on human natures inability to rise above instinct. The title character is small-minded, almost childlike in his view of the world. Because of this, his well-meaning efforts to improve his economic situation go hopeless awry. In the final scene, one gets the impression that the protagonist, if one can call him that, could not have ended up anywhere else. Despite the resounding pessimism of their literary output, the Naturalists for the most part were genuinely concerned with improving the situation of the poor in America and the world. Frank Norris wrote and campaigned on behalf of social reforms, and Stephen Cranes journalism reveals a mind keenly aware of human suffering. There would seem to be a disconnect between the opinions of the authors and the statements made in the contexts of their novels. However, closer study reveals this not to be the case. Norris intended his novels to be warnings about the capacity for mankind to sink to its lowest common denominator. Critics, both contemporary and modern, sometimes accuse the Naturalists of ethnocentricity. True, the images presented of immigrant and ethnic groups are unflattering. However, given their backgrounds in journalism, the Naturalist writers would probably argue that they simply presented life as it appeared. If the life they saw was ugly or depraved, they were not to be held responsible. Naturalism was a relatively short-lived philosophical approach to crafting novels. Few writers of the period experienced real success in the style, but those that did became titans of the art form. One wonders at the profound literature that might have been produced had Stephen Crane not died before his thirtieth birthday. Frank Norris likewise died before his time, an irony that should not escape modern readers. It is difficult to gauge the total effects of Naturalism on the path of American literature. The fact that Social Darwinism eventually came to be seen for the disguised racism that it is probably marred the reputation of Naturalist writing. However, the sheer art and craft of the literature that the greatest novelists of the period generated overcomes such handicaps.

Naturalism: A literary movement seeking to depict life as accurately as possible, without artificial distortions of emotion, idealism, and literary convention. The school of thought is a product of post-Darwinian biology in the nineteenth century. It asserts that human beings exist entirely in the order of nature. Human beings do not have souls or any mode of participating in a religious or spiritual world beyond the biological realm of nature, and any

such attempts to engage in a religious or spiritual world are acts of self-delusion and wishfulfillment. Humanity is thus a higher order animal whose character and behavior are, as M. H. Abrams summarizes, entirely determined by two kinds of forces, hereditary and environment. The individual's compulsive instincts toward sexuality, hunger, and accumulation of goods are inherited via genetic compulsion and the social and economic forces surrounding his or her upbringing. Naturalistic writers--including Zola, Frank Norris, Stephen Crane, and Theodore Dreiser--try to present their subjects with scientific objectivity. They often choose characters based on strong animal drives who are 'victims both of glandular secretions within and of sociological pressures without' (Abrams 175). Typically, naturalist writers avoid explicit emotional commentary in favor of medical frankness about bodily functions and biological activities that would be almost unmentionable during earlier literary movements like transcendentalism, Romanticism, and mainstream Victorian literature. The end of the naturalistic novel is usually unpleasant or unhappy, perhaps even 'tragic,' though not in the cathartic sense Aristotle, Sophocles, or Elizabethan writers would have understood by the term tragedy. Naturalists emphasize the smallness of humanity in the universe, they remind readers of the immensity, power, and cruelty of the natural world, which does not care whether humanity lives or dies. Examples of this include Stephen Crane's 'The Open Boat,' which pits a crew of shipwrecked survivors in a raft against starvation, dehydration, and sharks in the middle of the ocean, and Jack London's 'To Build a Fire,' which reveals the inability of a Californian transplant to survive outside of his 'natural' environment as he freezes to death in the Alaskan wilderness.
Naturalism was a literary movement taking place from the 1880s to 1940s that used detailed realism to suggest that social conditions, heredity, and environment had inescapable force in shaping human character. It was depicted as a literary movement that seeks to replicate a believable everyday reality, as opposed to such movements as Romanticism or Surrealism, in which subjects may receive highly symbolic, idealistic, or even supernatural treatment. Naturalism is the outgrowth of literary realism, a prominent literary movement in mid19th-century France and elsewhere. Naturalistic writers were influenced by Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.[1] They believed that one's heredity and social environment largely determine one's character. Whereas realism seeks only to describe subjects as they really are, naturalism also attempts to determine "scientifically" the underlying forces (e.g. the environment or heredity) influencing the actions of its subjects. Naturalistic works often include uncouth or sordid subject matter; for example, mile Zola's works had a frankness about sexuality along with a pervasive pessimism. Naturalistic works exposed the dark harshness of life, including poverty, racism, violence, prejudice, disease, corruption, prostitution, and filth. As a result, naturalistic writers were frequently criticized for focusing too much on human vice and misery.

There are defining characteristics of literary naturalism. One of these is pessimism. Very often, one or more characters will continue to repeat one line or phrase that tends to have a pessimistic connotation, sometimes emphasizing the inevitability of death. For example Bernard Bonnejean quotes this passage of Huysmans where the symbolism of death is visible, such an allegory, in a portrait of old woman: [...] une vieille bique de cinquante ans, une longue efflanque qui blait la lune, campe sur ses maigres tibias [...] crevant les draps de ses os en pointe[2] [...] an old hag of fifty years, lonely and outstretched, bleating at the moon, poised on her skinny shins [...] smashing the skin of her bones to a point (transl. Joiner)


Another characteristic of literary naturalism is detachment from the story. The author often tries to maintain a tone that will be experienced as 'objective.' Also, an author will sometimes achieve detachment by creating nameless characters (though, strictly speaking, this is more common among modernists such as Ernest Hemingway). This puts the focus on the plot and what happens to the character, rather than the characters themselves. Another characteristic of naturalism is determinism. Determinism is basically the opposite of the notion of free will. For determinism, the idea that individual characters have a direct influence on the course of their lives is supplanted by a focus on nature or fate. Often, a naturalist author will lead the reader to believe a character's fate has been pre-determined, usually by environmental factors, and that he/she can do nothing about it. Another common characteristic is a surprising twist at the end of the story. Equally, there tends to be in naturalist novels and stories a strong sense that nature is indifferent to human struggle. These are only a few of the defining characteristics of naturalism, however. Naturalism is an extension of realism, and may be better understood by study of the basic precepts of that literary movement. The term naturalism itself may have been used in this sense for the first time by mile Zola. It is believed that he sought a new idea to convince the reading public of something new and more modern in his fiction. He argued that his innovation in fiction-writing was the creation of characters and plots based on the scientific method.

The psychological novel first appeared in 17th-century France, with Madame de La Fayettes Princesse de Clves (1678), and the category was consolidated by works like the Abb Prvosts Manon Lescaut (1731) in the century following. More primitive fiction had been characterized by a proliferation of action and incidental characters; the psychological novel limited itself to a few characters whose motives for action could be examined and analyzed. In England, the psychological novel did not appear until the Victorian era, when George Eliot became its first great exponent. It has been assumed since then that the serious novelists prime concern is the workings of the human mind, and hence much of the greatest fiction must be termed psychological. Dostoyevskys Crime and Punishment deals less with the ethical significance of a murder than with the soul of the murderer; Flauberts interest in Emma Bovary has less to do with the consequences of her mode of life in terms of nemesic logic than with the patterns of her mind; in Anna Karenina, Tolstoy presents a large-scale obsessive study of feminine psychology that is almost excruciating in its relentless probing. The novels of Henry James are psychological in that the crucial events occur in the souls of the protagonists, and it was perhaps James more than any serious novelist before or since who convinced frivolous novel-readers that the psychological approach guarantees a lack of action and excitement. The theories of Sigmund Freud are credited as the source of the psychoanalytical novel. Freud was anticipated, however, by Shakespeare (in, for example, his treatment of Lady Macbeths somnambulistic guilt). Two 20th-century novelists of great psychological insightJoyce and Nabokovprofessed a disdain for Freud. To write a novel with close attention to the Freudian or Jungian techniques of analysis does not necessarily produce new prodigies of psychological revelation; Oedipus and Electra complexes have become commonplaces of superficial novels and films. The great disclosures about human motivation have been achieved more by the intuition and introspection of novelists and dramatists than by the more systematic work of the clinicians.


Social novel
Social novels, also known as social problem novels or realist fiction, originated in the 18th century but gained a popular following in the 19th center with the rise of the Victorian Era and in many ways was a reaction to industrialization, social, political and economic issues and movements. In the 1830s the social novel saw resurgence as emphasis on widespread reforms of government and society emerged, and acted as a literary means of protest and awareness of abuses of government, industry and other repercussions suffered by those who did not profit from England's economic prosperity.[1] The sensationalized accounts and stories of the working class poor were directed toward middle class audiences to help incite sympathy and action towards pushing for legal and moral changes, as with the Reform Act of 1832, and crystallized different issues in periodicals and novels for a growing literate population.

Elements of the Social Novel

Different sub-genres of the social novel included the industrial novel that focused on the countrys working class rural and urban poor and also the later condition of England novel that was geared toward education, suffrage and other social movements. Deplorable conditions in factories and mines, the plight of child labor and endangered women, and the constant threat of rising criminality and [epidemics] due to over-crowding and poor sanitation [2] were all laced into the storyline lines of these novels. On a moral level the social novel became the medium for authors who either took in common experiences of a marginalized group or those in the midst of dire circumstances and composed sensationalized stories for members of the middle and upper classes of Victorian society. Many of the different novels held a moral or supernatural element that linked reform to Christianity and played on the perception that the middle class were more economically sound but also more devoted to their religiosity, therefore more prone to assist the lower classes before the aristocracy. An example of this was Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol where the lead character Scrooge is instructed by several ghosts to live a Christian life and help his less fortunate neighbors and employees[3]. Though the majority of these novels were to sensationalize and shock the middle class into political action and reform work, opposition against these novels was rapid throughout their peak years during the 19th century. An element of the growing mass culture that came with more economic prosperity and literacy in the middle class led to a saturation of literature that combined the respectable and the scandalous and meant wealth to the authors, editors and distributors of these novels.[4] This was often read as an underhanded way for outsiders to make a profit off the struggles of disenfranchised, uneducated and underemployed populations, but the genre of the social problem novel was also an indicator of the social changes within Victorian society. Therefore the social novels did not determine the structures, government or institutions of the nation but the social novel was determined and was a reflection of the nation.

The Effects of the Social Novel

A debate rages over whether or not the social novel ever declined but elements of the genre have permeated into different mediums since the 1850s. The social problem novels were not confined to England but were written throughout Europe and the United States. An example is Russian author Leo Tolstoy, who championed reform for his own country, particularly in education and added his novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina to the realist fiction genre. Newspapers would continue to sensationalize stories and novels would continue to inspire and thrill the public and elements of social novels still provide the messages of marginalized parts of different societies today.[5]


Practitioners include Charlotte Bront, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Disraeli, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Kingsley and Harriet Martineau; later authors such as Thomas Hardy and George Gissing are sometimes included as well.[6].

In literary criticism, a Bildungsroman (German pronunciation: [blds.oman]; German: "formation novel")[1] or coming-of-age story is a literary genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood (coming of age),[2] and in which character change is thus extremely important.[3] The term was coined in 1819 by philologist Karl Morgenstern in his university lectures, and later famously reprised by Wilhelm Dilthey, who legitimized it in 1870 and popularized it in 1905.[1][4] The genre is further characterized by a number of formal, topical, and thematic features.[5] The term coming-of-age novel is sometimes used interchangeably with Bildungsroman, but its use is usually wider and less technical. The birth of the Bildungsroman is normally dated to the publication of Goethes The Apprenticeship of Wilhelm Meister in 179596.[6] Although the Bildungsroman arose in Germany, it has had extensive influence first in Europe and later throughout the world. Thomas Carlyle translated Goethes novel into English, and after its publication in 1824, many British authors wrote novels inspired by it.[citation needed] In the 20th century, it has spread to Germany, Britain, France,[7] and several other countries around the globe.[citation needed] The genre translates fairly directly into cinematic form, the coming-of-age film. A Bildungsroman tells about the growing up or coming of age of a sensitive person who is looking for answers and experience. The genre evolved from folklore tales of a dunce or youngest son going out in the world to seek his fortune. Usually in the beginning of the story there is an emotional loss which makes the protagonist leave on his journey. In a Bildungsroman, the goal is maturity, and the protagonist achieves it gradually and with difficulty. The genre often features a main conflict between the main character and society. Typically, the values of society are gradually accepted by the protagonist and he is ultimately accepted into society the protagonist's mistakes and disappointments are over. In some works, the protagonist is able to reach out and help others after having achieved maturity. There are many variations and subgenres of Bildungsroman that focus on the growth of an individual. An Entwicklungsroman ("development novel") is a story of general growth rather than self-cultivation. An Erziehungsroman ("education novel") focuses on training and formal schooling,[citation needed] while a Knstlerroman ("artist novel") is about the development of an artist and shows a growth of the self.[8] Pre-Raphaelite Movement - Description The Pre-Raphaelites, a group of 19th century English painters, poets, and critics who reacted against Victorian materialism and the outworn neo-classical conventions of academic art by producing earnest

quasi-religious works inspired by medieval and early Renaissance painters up to the time of the Italian painter and architect Raphael. They were also influenced by the Nazarenes, young German artists who formed a brotherhood in Rome in 1810 to restore Christian art to its medieval purity. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was established in 1848, and its central figure was the painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Other members were his brother, William Michael Rossetti, John Everett Millais, Frederick George Stephens, James Collinson, and Thomas Woolner. Essentially Christian in outlook, the brotherhood deplored the imitative historical and genre painting of their day. Together they sought to revitalise art through a simpler, more positive vision. In portrait painting, for example, the group eschewed the sombre colours and formal structure preferred by the Royal Academy. They found their inspiration in the comparatively sincere and religious, and scrupulously detailed, art of the Middle Ages. Pre-Raphaelite art became distinctive for its blend of archaic, romantic, and materialistic qualities, but much of it has been criticised as superficial and sentimental, if not artificial. Millais eventually left the group, but other artists joined it, including Edward C Burne-Jones and William Morris. The eminent art critic John Ruskin was an ardent supporter of the movement.
Rossetti & the Pre-Raphaelite Movement from A History of English Literature 1918 by Robert Huntington Fletcher ROSSETTI AND THE PRE-RAPHAELITE MOVEMENT. Many of the secondary Victorian poets must here be passed by, but several of them are too important to be dismissed without at least brief notice. The middle of the century is marked by a new Romantic impulse, the Pre-Raphaelite Movement, which begins with Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Rossetti was born in London in 1828. His father was an Italian, a liberal refugee from the outrageous government of Naples, and his mother was also half Italian. The household, though poor, was a center for other Italian exiles, but this early and tempestuous political atmosphere created in the poet, by reaction, a lifelong aversion for politics. His desultory education was mostly in the lines of painting and the Italian and English poets. His own practice in poetry began as early as is usual with poets, and before he was nineteen, by a special inspiration, he wrote his best and most famous poem, 'The Blessed Damosel.' In the school of the Royal Academy of Painting, in 1848, he met William Holman Hunt and John E. Millais, and the three formed the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, in which Rossetti, whose disposition throughout his life was extremely self-assertive, or even domineering, took the lead. The purpose of the Brotherhood was to restore to painting and literature the qualities which the three enthusiasts found in the fifteenth century Italian painters, those who just preceded Raphael. Rossetti and his friends did not decry the noble idealism of Raphael himself, but they felt that in trying to follow his grand style the art of their own time had become too abstract and conventional. They wished to renew emphasis on serious emotion, imagination, individuality, and fidelity to truth; and in doing so they gave special attention to elaboration of details in a fashion distinctly reminiscent of medievalism. Their work had much, also, of medieval mysticism and symbolism. Besides painting pictures they published a very short-lived periodical, 'The Germ,' containing both literary material and drawings. Ruskin, now arriving at fame and influence, wrote vigorously in their favor, and though the Brotherhood did not last long as an organization, it has exerted a great influence on subsequent painting. Rossetti's impulses were generous, but his habits were eccentric and selfish, and his life unfortunate. His engagement with Miss Eleanor Siddal, a milliner's apprentice (whose face appears in many of his pictures), was prolonged by his lack of means for nine years; further, he was an agnostic, while she held a simple religious faith, and she was carrying on a losing struggle with tuberculosis. Sixteen months after their marriage she died, and on a morbid impulse of remorse for inconsiderateness in his treatment of her Rossetti buried his poems, still unpublished, in her coffin. After some years, however, he was persuaded to disinter and publish them. Meanwhile he had formed friendships with the slightly younger artists William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, and they established a company for the manufacture of furniture and other articles, to be made beautiful as well as useful, and thus to aid in spreading the esthetic sense among the English people. After some years Rossetti and Burne-Jones withdrew from the enterprise, leaving it to Morris. Rossetti continued all his life to produce both poetry and paintings. His pictures are among the best and most gorgeous products of recent romantic art--


'Dante's Dream,' 'Beata Beatrix,' 'The Blessed Damosel,' and many others. During his later years he earned a large income, and he lived in a large house in Cheyne Row, Chelsea (near Carlyle), where for a while, as long as his irregular habits permitted, the novelist George Meredith and the poet Swinburne were also inmates. He gradually grew more morbid, and became a rather pitiful victim of insomnia, the drug chloral, and spiritualistic delusions about his wife. He died in 1882. Rossetti's poetry is absolutely unlike that of any other English poet, and the difference is clearly due in large part to his Italian race and his painter's instinct. He has, in the didactic sense, absolutely no religious, moral, or social interests; he is an artist almost purely for art's sake, writing to give beautiful embodiment to moods, experiences, and striking moments. If it is true of Tennyson, however, that he stands aloof from actual life, this is far truer of Rossetti. His world is a vague and languid region of enchantment, full of whispering winds, indistinct forms of personified abstractions, and the murmur of hidden streams; its landscape sometimes bright, sometimes shadowy, but always delicate, exquisitely arranged for luxurious decorative effect. In his ballad-romances, to be sure, such as, 'The King's Tragedy,' there is much dramatic vigor; yet there is still more of medieval weirdness. Rossetti, like Dante, has much of spiritual mysticism, and his interest centers in the inner rather than the outer life; but his method, that of a painter and a southern Italian, is always highly sensuous. His melody is superb and depends partly on a highly Latinized vocabulary, archaic pronunciations, and a delicate genius in soundmodulation, the effect being heightened also by frequent alliteration and masterly use of refrains. 'Sister Helen,' obviously influenced by the popular ballad 'Edward, Edward,' derives much of its tremendous tragic power from the refrain, and in the use of this device is perhaps the most effective poem in the world. Rossetti is especially facile also with the sonnet. His sonnet sequence, 'The House of Life,' one of the most notable in English, exalts earthly Love as the central force in the world and in rather fragmentary fashion traces the tragic influence of Change in both life and love.

Decadence and Aestheticism Many may wonder if the era of the 1890s was the beginning, end, or change of a new age. The era can often be described as modern, advanced, and different. Many people were experimenting, inventing, and trying new things. Decadence and Aestheticism arose. Decadence emerged as a dark side of Romanticism in that it involved forbidden experiences. Decadence was referred to as moral, social, and artistic. As Beckson says, "The dark side of Romanticism derived from Poe and other writers who defined it as strangers united with beauty"(Page 40). The distinguishing feature of a Decadent is the retreat of reality. For example in "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde, Algernon and Jack have a pretend character that they often used as an escape from reality. Decadence represented Symbolism and Impressionism. Also known as fin de siecle, Decadence is described by Arthur Symons, a participant observer who said, "it has all the qualities that mark the end of great periods, the qualities that we find in the Greek, the Latin, the Decadence, an intense self consciousness, a restless curiosity in research , and a spiritual and moral perversity."(Altick Page 296). In Aestheticism, life is viewed as an art. Aesthetes found beauty in art and in whatever was attractive in the world. Altick said, "The connecting link was Rosetti, whose poetry and painting inspired the Aesthetes"(page 291). Arts purpose for the Aesthete was for pleasure. The Aesthetics interpreted his artistic aim as the pursuit of beauty separated form social meaning. Oscar Wildes theory towards Aestheticism was that the only reality worth seeking was not material goods but the individual experience. And so Aestheticism involved a complete revulsion against received standards of values. Aesthetics found that through their great interest in beauty, pleasure that is derived form objects of art is more beautiful than other pleasures. The truth about an Aesthete is that the mind is usually more active in a creative sense in the appreciation of nature than in the enjoyment of a finished work of art. An Aesthete has a great appreciation for nature. One may look at an object, place, or person and perceive it a different way than another person may perceive it. He does not actually see them the way they appear but his imagination gives his perception a memory picture of them. For an Aesthete to obtain pleasure, "it is the perspectives of perception that is necessary to an understanding of both 19

appreciation and creation"(Langfield page 24). A frequently seen definition is that Aesthetics is a philosophy of beauty. Langfield writes that, "Professor Sully has written that Aesthetics is a branch of study variously defined as the philosophy or science of the beautiful, of taste or of fine arts" (page 33). However, the more present explanation for Aesthetes is stated by Sir Sidney Colvin in the Encyclopedia Britanicca, "the name Aesthetics is intended to designate a scientific doctrine or account of beauty, in nature and art, and for the enjoyment and originating beauty which exists in man"(Langfield page 34). While a serious discussion of the stylistic aspects of Decadence was going on. However, the public had caught hold of the more sensational and moral aspects of the word and the movement. An essay by Max Beerbohm 1880, which had appeared in the fourth volume of the Yellow Book explains the characteristics of the outward appearance of the Decadents: "Decadents had long hair, the world weary attitude, the infantile nature of impressionist pictures, and the lack of enthusiasm for exercise"(Thornton page 21). The Decadent Movement on May 25, 1895 was given a fatal blow when Oscar Wilde was found guilty of acts of gross indecency with other males and sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labor. Not only Wildes homosexual behavior was being tried; the relationship between the ideas, morality, literature and Aestheticism were on trial as well.

Aestheticism (or the Aesthetic Movement) is an art movement supporting the emphasis of aesthetic values more than socio-political themes for literature, fine art, music and other arts.[1][2] It was particularly prominent in Europe during the 19th century, but contemporary critics are also associated with the movement, such as Harold Bloom, who has recently argued against projecting ideology onto literary works, which he believes has been a growing problem in humanities departments over the last century. In the 19th century, it was related to other movements such as symbolism or decadence represented in France, or decadentismo represented in Italy, and may be considered the British version of the same style.[citation needed]

What was the historical context in 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'?

Historical Context
Aestheticism and Decadence Aestheticism was a literary movement in late nineteenth-century France and Britain. It was a reaction to the notion that all art should have a utilitarian or social value. According to the Aesthetic Movement, art justifies its own existence by expressing and embodying beauty. The slogan of the movement was "art for art's sake," and it contrasted the perfection possible through art with what it regarded as the imperfections of nature and of real life. The artist should not concern himself with political or social issues. In France, Aestheticism was associated with the work of Charles Baudelaire, Gustave Flaubert, and Stphane Mallarm. In England, its chief theorist was Walter Pater (1839 - 1894), who was a professor of classics at Oxford University. In contrast to the usual Victorian emphasis on work and social responsibility, Pater emphasized the fleeting nature of life and argued that the most important thing was to relish the exquisite sensations life brings, especially those stimulated by a work of art. The aim was to be fully present and to live vividly in each passing moment. As Pater put it in the "Conclusion" to his

work Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873), which is in effect a manifesto of the Aesthetic Movement in England, "To burn always with this hard, gemlike flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life." This is in complete opposition to the prevailing Victorian mentality, with its emphasis on hard work, moral earnestness, and material success. Wilde was an admirer of Pater, and it was Wilde who later became the representative figure of Aestheticism. Pater's influence on The Picture of Dorian Gray was profound. When Dorian adopts Lord Henry's belief that the aim of the new Hedonism "was to be experience itself, and not the fruits of experience" he is virtually quoting Pater's "Conclusion," in which he writes, "Not the fruit of experience, but experience itself, is the end." Pater was a key figure in the emergence of the later movement in England and France known as Decadence. This movement flourished in the last two decades of the nineteenth century, a period also known as fin de sicle (end of the century). Decadent writers believed that Western civilization was in a condition of decay, and they attacked the accepted moral and ethical standards of the day. The theory of Decadence was that all "natural" forms and behaviors were inherently flawed; therefore, highly artificial, "unnatural" forms and styles were to be cultivated, in life as well as art. Many Decadent writers therefore experimented with lifestyles that involved drugs and depravity (just as Dorian does in The Picture of Dorian Gray). One influential work of the Decadent movement was Rebours (Against the Grain), a novel by French writer, J. K. Huysmans, published in 1884. The protagonist is estranged from Parisian society and continually seeks out strange and new experiences. It is generally accepted that Rebours is the novel that Lord Henry sends to Dorian Gray and which fascinates and grips Dorian for years. Another example of Decadent literature is Wilde's play Salom, with its lurid subject and imagery of blood, sex, and death. In addition to Wilde, Decadence in England was associated with the poets Algernon Swinburne and Ernest Dowson, and the painter, Aubrey Beardsley. Compare & Contrast

1890s: Male homosexuality is a crime in England, punishable by imprisonment. Today: Homosexuality is no longer a crime. In law, homosexual people are treated the same as everyone else. However, many people holding conservative and religious views based on the Bible still regard homosexuality as a sin. 1890s: Britain is the foremost power in the world but faces increasing rivalry from the growing industrial and military strength of Germany. Today: Britain and Germany, having fought against each other in two world wars, are now allies within the European Community and NATO. Britain is no longer the leading power in the world. 1890s: Class divisions are emphatic in Britain, and there is a wide contrast in dress, manners, and way of life between those who are comfortably off and those who are poor. Families are large. Only working class women take employment outside the home. University education is not available for women of any class or for the working classes. Today: Britain is a more egalitarian society than at any time in its history. The influence of mass culture, through television, films, and advertising, has tended to erode differences between classes in dress and manners. Women of all classes now make up a large percentage of the workforce, and higher education is open to all.


Sensation novel
The sensation novel was a literary genre of fiction popular in Great Britain in the 1860s and 1870s, following on from earlier melodramatic novels and the Newgate novels, which focused on tales woven around criminal biographies, also descend from the gothic and romantic genres of fiction. Ellen Wood's controversial East Lynne (1861) was the first novel to be critically dubbed "sensational" and began a trend whose main exponents also included Wilkie Collins (The Woman in White, 1859; The Moonstone, 1868), Charles Reade, and Mary Elizabeth Braddon (Lady Audley's Secret, 1862).

Themes and reception

Typically the sensation novel focused on shocking subject matter including adultery, theft, kidnapping, insanity, bigamy, forgery, seduction and murder.[1] It distinguished itself from other contemporary genres, including the Gothic novel, by setting these themes in ordinary, familiar and often domestic settings, thereby undermining the common Victorian-era assumption that sensational events were something foreign and divorced from comfortable middle-class life. W. S. Gilbert satirised these works in his 1871 comic opera, A Sensation Novel. When sensation novels burst upon a quiescent England these novels became immediate best sellers, surpassing all previous book sales records. However, high brow critics writing in academic journals of the day decried the phenomenon and criticized its practitioners (and readers) in the harshest terms. The added notoriety derived from reading the novels probably served only to contribute to their popularity.[2]

Notable examples

The Woman in White (185960) Great Expectations (186061) East Lynne (1861) Lady Audley's Secret (1862) Aurora Floyd (1863) The Shadow of Ashlydyat (1864) Griffith Gaunt (186566) Armadale (1866) Foul Play (1868)

Several mid-century phenomena led to the popularity of the Sensation Novel:

the abolition of the stamp duty on printing paper in 1855, the concomitant increase in the circulation of newspapers, an increase in numbers of readers in mid-Victorian Britain, the dramatic increase in the number of circulating libraries, new weekly and monthly (often illustrated) literary magazines high-interest, serialised fiction to maintain a stable readership. notorious trials such as that of the poisoner Palmer, tabloid journalism, reforms in divorce procedures public education

Thus, writing in 1863, H. L. Mansel castigated the new subgenre as "preaching to the nerves instead of the judgment" (357). Since early in his anti-Sensation diatribe Mansel refers to "A pale young lady in a white dress" (358), we can be certain that his chief target is Wilkie Collins, whose The Woman in White

(1860) initiated the Sensation mania. The typical practitioner of the new form, contends Mansel, aims at creating excitement alone in order "to supply the cravings of a diseased appetite" (357) prevalent in the recently augmented reading public: "No divine influence can be imagined as presiding over the birth of his work; no more immortality is dreamed of for it than for the fashions of the current season. A commercial atmosphere floats around works of this class, redolent of the manufactory and the shop" [357]. Although Wilkie Collins may well have been "The King of Sensation," the royal family of this new subgenre was by no means small, the most popular writers including

Charles Reade, Ellen Price (Mrs. Henry Wood) Ouida (Marie Louise de la Rame) James Payn William Black Mary Elizabeth (M. E.) Braddon ("The Queen of the Circulating Libraries") Edmund Yates Henry Kingsley

Although the form is often spoken of as a phenomenon of two decades, its influences may well be detected in works written after 1880, including the novels of Thomas Hardy (whose first effort, Desperate Remedies is very much in the Sensation vein), George Moore, Robert Louis Stevenson, and George Du Maurier, whose diabolical Svengali in Trilby (1896) is very much a Collinsian villain, except for his lack of gentlemanly status. Ira B. Nadel in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 18, has attributed the success of Collins among a crowded field of practitioners of the new form to his "expert plotting with carefully described settings" (62), so evident in the novel that appears to initiated the public's mania for Sensation Novels, The Woman in White (1860). T. S. Eliot and Dorothy L. Sayers regard Collins's second best-seller in the genre, The Moonstone (1868), as the first detective novel in English, although Edgar Allen Poe initiated the crime-and-detection story two decades earlier. Whether one is considering Ellen Price Wood's East Lynne (1861) or M. E. Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret (1862) or Collins's early Sensation Novels, one will find the pattern of "criminality and passion beneath respectable surfaces" (Kalikoff 120); often, the Sensation Novel features a beautiful, clever young woman who, like Magdalen Vanstone in Collins's No Name (1862), is adept at disguise and deception such women are doubly dangerous and generate social instability because they possess and threaten to use secret knowledge. Other strategies employed by Sensation authors include the exposure of hypocrisy in polite society, intentional and unintentional bigamy, adultery, hidden illegitimacy, extreme emotionalism, melodramatic dialogue and plotting, and the brilliant but eccentric villain with gentlemanly pretensions. Reginald C. Terry in Victorian Popular Fiction, 1860-80 employs the term "detailism" to describe yet another aspect of the Sensation Novel, its rigorous realism that catered to a contemporary "taste for the factual" (55) in its descriptions and settings, a feature that novelists such as Collins skillfully blended with the exciting "ingredients of suspense, melodrama and extremes of behaviour" (55). In addition, Terry notes how the plots of such novels often utilized "the apparatus of ruined heiresses, impossible wills, damning letters, skeletons in cupboards, [and] misappropriated legacies" (74). P. D. Edwards adds yet further "ingredients" to the Sensation formula: "arson, blackmail, madness, and persecuted innocence (usually young and female), acted out in the most ordinary and respectable social settings and narrated with ostentatious care for factual accuracy and fulness of circumstantial detail" (703). To all of these features we should add the realistic and sympathetic investigation of individual psychology and an exploration of the female psyche in the manner of George Eliot and Charlotte Bront. The prevalence of these "ingredients" in the popular fiction of the 1860s and 1870s suggests that the Sensation Novel drew its energy from a popular mid23

Victorian reaction to middle-class stodginess and prudery, a reaction that continued well past 1880 and is evident in such late Victorian works as Du Maurier's Trilby (1894) (whose arch-villain, Svengali, is reminiscent of the highly manipulative criminal master-minds of Collins, but lacks their breeding) and Stevenson's Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde (1886). P. D. Edwards notes that the term "Sensation Novel" was originally applied disparagingly to a broad range of crime, mystery, and horror novels written in the early 1860s: "A writer in the Literary Budget, November 1861, asserted that the term originated in America" (1860). The subgenre was effectively defined in a two-year period by the novels of Wilkie Collins, Ellen Price Wood, and Mary Elizabeth Braddon, first serialised in the new literary magazines before appearing in the triple-decker format favoured by the lending-libraries. Reginald C. Terry in Victorian Popular Fiction, 1860-80 contends that B. F. Fisher's in the 16 February 1861 number of the London Review is the earliest reference to "sensation novelists" in a discussion of a current trend in American literature, "although in a general way 'sensation' had been applied to Wilkie Collins in 1855 reviews of Antonia and Basil" (181). The question of identity is integral to this [The Woman in White] as to other sensation fictions. Mistaken identity, hidden identities, are the staple of Collins's No Name (1862) and Armadale (1866), and Mary Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret (1862), and are often concerned with questions of inheritance, with legal identity, but the language of psychology allowed other dimensions of the question to be addressed. What precisely constitutes identity comes into question as the workings of memory are investigated, and found to be lacking [in The Moonstone (1868)]. [Marshall, "Psychology and the sensation novel," 58-59] The features commonly associated with the publishing phenomenon of the 1860s known as the Sensation Novel include the following:

bigamous marriages misdirected letters romantic triangles heroines placed in physical danger drugs, potions, and/or poisons characters adopt disguises trained coincidences aristocratic villains heightened suspense detailism

These narrative features, common to most Sensation Novels of the early '60s, were soon parodied: This Journal will be devoted chiefly to the following objects; namely, Harrowing the Mind, Making the Flesh Creep, Causing the Hair to Stand on End, Giving Shocks to the Nervous System, Destroying Conventional Moralities, and generally Unfitting the Public for the Prosaic Avocations of Life. (mock advertisement "The Sensation Times, and Chronicle of Excitement" in Punch, 1863; cited in Hughes 3) The parodist promises the public graphic accounts of violent crimes, corporal punishments, and animal cruelty, as well as a Sensation Novel (presumably in serial) full of "hitherto undreamed of" atrocities and written by an "eminent" writer shortly to be released from a penitentiary. The novels that are the subject of this lampoon are not immediately obvious, but were undoubtedly all available for a modest annual "lending" fee at Mudie's Library or in the bookstalls of most railway stations. In The Maniac in the Cellar (1980), Winifred Hughes associates the rise of the Sensation Novel in the early 1860s with the continued popular taste for the Gothic Novel of the previous century (particularly

the goosebump gothicism of Ann Radcliffe and the more gruesome gothicism of Matthew G. "Monk" Lewis, the historical romances of Sir Walter Scott, the oriental tales of Lord Byron) and the more recent Newgate Novel, as pioneered by Harrison Ainsworth, Edward G. D. Bulwer-Lytton, and Charles Dickens. Conservative critics, she contends, regarded this new subgenre, as exemplified by the early '60s novels of Wilkie Collins, Ellen Price Wood, and M. E. Braddon, as "brash, vulgar, and subversive" (6). In his autobiography, novelist Anthony Trollope went so far as to label the Sensation Novel "unrealistic" by the mid-1870s in that he held "The novelists who are considered to be anti-sensational are generally called realistic" (1883: Vol. 2, p. 41; cited in Hughes, p. 39). He might well have added "dramatic," "theatrical," or "melodramatic" to his indictment since a number of Sensation writers acted and wrote for the stage, and since novels such as East Lynne and Lady Audley's Secret proved popular with audiences when adapted for the theatre. According to Hughes, "what distinguishes the true sensation genre as it appeared in its prime during the 1860s is the violent yoking of romance and realism, traditionally the two contradictory modes of literary perception" (16). If we take the early novels of Collins as our locus classicus, we can see that the new subgenre indeed fused opposites, both possible and improbable, solidly English and yet exotic, sordid and yet respectable, refined yet violent, scientific and yet superstitious, documentary and yet far-fetched, realistic and yet romantic, rational and at the same time absurdist, but above all romantic and suspenseful, "a kind of civilized melodrama, modernized and domesticated not only an everyday gothic, minus the supernatural and aristocratic trappings, but also a middle-class Newgate, featuring spectacular crime unconnected with the usual criminal classes. [Hughes 16] George Augustus Sala in "On the 'Sensational' in Literature and Art" (Belgravia, IV, 1868, p. 455), undoubtedly trying to legitimize the extreme form that had recently appeared, attributed the founding of the Sensation Novel to no less a figure than Charles Dickens. Although some of Dickens's later works, especially The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870), exhibit some of the tendencies of Sensation fiction, in his last novel he was more likely responding to the new form, as produced by his apprentice and associate at All the Year Round, Wilkie Collins, rather than merely aping it. Collins and Reade, however, may have borrowed their aesthetic theory from Dickens, dwelling, as Bleak House remarks, upon "the romantic side of familiar things." A holdover from an earlier generation of writers, Dickens so strenuously objected to the explicit sexuality and social radicalism of Charles Reade's Very Hard Cash (1863) that he adopted the (for him) unusual expedient of publishing a disclaimer at the conclusion of the novel's final instalment in All the Year Round. Lillian Nayder estimates that Dickens was correct in assuming that Reade's candour lost him readers "in droves" (Pilgrim Letters 10: 237), "perhaps as many as three thousand" (Nayder 137). Whereas, moreover, in Dickens, plot no matter how convoluted or complicated and character no matter how eccentric or whimsical are always enlisted in the service of theme, in much Sensation fiction plot and incident rendered complicated for their own sakes predominate because the writer's chief intention is to delight and horrify rather than to instruct and reform. Typically, no sooner has a Sensation writer solved one mystery or resolved one dilemma for us than he or she must introduce another in order to escalate suspense. "The difficulty with this [pattern], of course, is that climax becomes the routine, subjecting the reader to an endless roller-coaster effect that eventually loses its thrill" (Hughes 19). However, as Hughes is quick to point out, Collins's handling of "drawn-out mystification or impending menace" (19), particularly in The Moonstone, is so masterful and so controlled and metred out that the reader revels not so much in successive rises as in the final denouement, which harmonizes all competing narratives and executes Nemesis character by character. No sooner had the new subgenre won a popular following than M. E. Braddon and other Punch writers, as we have seen, lampooned it. Hughes makes a convincing case (based on that presented by H. J. W. Milley in "The Eustace Diamonds [run serially in the Fortnightly Review in 1871] and The Moonstone" [run serially in All the Year Round

in 1868], Studies in Philology, October 1939, pp. 651-63) for Trollope's The Eustace Diamonds as a parody of Collins's The Moonstone, complete with a young lady's falling under suspicion of having stolen her own jewels, two robberies, and a bumbling detective. At about the same time, the prospect of the royalties from producing a best-seller probably inspired young architect Thomas Hardy to write his own Sensation Novel, Desperate Remedies. Published anonymously, the potboiler utilizes many of Collins's strategies, albeit far less effectively: "murder, blackmail, illegitimacy, impersonation, eavesdropping, multiple secrets, a suggestion of bigamy, [and] amateur and professional detectives" (Hughes 173) are all present. Even those scholars and critics who assert that Hardy was one of the most original prose-fiction writers of the latter part of the nineteenth century must concede that, as the plots of even some of greater novels such as The Mayor of Casterbridge and Tess of the D'Urbervilles attest, Hardy never quite lost his taste for Sensation, even if the reading public had tired of it after 1880. In particular, Hardy had a fondness for such standard Sensation strategies as the instalment closings known as "curtains," strongly delineated characters. numerous coincidences upon which the plot seems to hinge, bigamous or secret marriages, illegitimacy, and the "return-from-the dead" scenario, even providing what H. L. Mansel in 1863 had termed "some demon in human shape" (360) in the person of Alec D'Urberville.