The word 'Victorian' derives from queen Victoria eho ruled from 1837 to 1901 and became the symbol of the nation.
This period is remembered as complex and contradictory,because England was a very rich powerful nation.However, there was a very big difference between the living conditions of the rich and poor.
There were positive and negative aspects.Positive aspects were:progress,stability,great social reforms and English colonial empire,in fact England colonized lots of countries like India and we can remember 'The book of the Jungle' wrote by Rudyard Kipling.Colonialism influenced patriotism and ideas of racial superiority.Negative aspects were:poverty,injustice and social unrest,but also child labour.Utilitarism of Jeremy Bentham was important theory that said things which produce happiness is useful.But Charles Dickens attacked the utilitarism,whit some his novels like 'David Copperfield','Oliver Twist' and his works like 'Hardtimes'.An important scientific discovery was the origin of species by Charles Darwin.
During the Victorian Age for the first time there was acommunion of interest and opinions between writers and readers.One reason of this was the spread of literature also with circulating libraries and various periodicals.Novels became the most popular form of literature,they are read aloud within the family.The novelist felt they had a moral and social responsability,for this they told about social changes like Industrial Revolution,the struggle for democracy and the growth of towns.
We can devide Victorian novels in three groups:
1) The Early-Victorian Novel,with writers like Charles Dickens,he told about social and humanitariam themes.
2) The Mid-Victorian Novel,was linked to the persistence of Romantic and Gothic traditions.
3) The Late-Victorian Novel,with authors like Thomas Hardy and Oscar Wilde.