Victoria(Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876.She inherited the throne aged 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no surviving legitimate children. The United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy, in which the sovereign held relatively little direct political power. Privately, Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments; publicly, she became a national icon who was identified with strict standards of personal morality. Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840. Her reign of 63 years and seven months is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. She was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover.
Victorian age was characterised by a great progress and a great industrialization. In this period England was the world centre of finance and this condition brought prosperity and wealth to England. The progress reached improved Victorians lifestyle (the railway, the electricity, the photograph, the Penny Post etc). But there were bad aspects too; in fact industrialization brought hard living conditions: workers and their families had to live and
work in unhealthy conditions. So Victorian society was characterised by Utilitarianism, a social philosophy: The duty of reason and law is the development of a system which can guarantee the happiness of more families. In fact in this period great importance was attributed to the family which symbolised the values of decency, sobriety and virtue. People became also sensible on Christian actions and charitable works, an example of this was the
abolition of the slave trade and of slavery from the British Empire. At last there was also another important event: Women began to improve their social condition, in fact they began to work. They began to work in
factories, and then they expand their profession and became writers, journalists and teachers.
The Victorian era was the great age of the English novel. Novels became the most popular form of literature; they are read aloud within the family. The novelist felt that they had a moral and social responsability, for this they wrote about social problems and changes like Industrial Revolution, the struggle for democracy and the growth of towns. Charles Dickens introduced a new form of novel which had a great success: He published installments of novels in newspapers and magazines using the technique of suspense. The great success is demonstrated by the rising of naturalistic novels, psychological novels and adventure novel: The first tended to view life more scientifically; the second explored the hidden motives of human action; the last dealt with exciting plots and exotic geographical and historical settings. These novels were also joined by the detective story, the fantasy novel and the mystery- detective novel which represented the short story novels.
Movements during the victorian era
Victorian Era was characterised by a large number of movements: Utilitarianism, the Pre-Raphaelite and the aesthetic movement. Utilitarianism is a social philosophy developed by Jeremy Bentham which is founded on the principles that the worth of human life could be calculated avoiding pain and achieving pleasure. According to this philosophy the duty of reason and law is the development of a system which can guarantee the happiness of more people. The aesthetic movement was developed against Utilitarianism. The most exponent of this movement was Oscar Wilde who considered art as substitute for life. The aesthetes tried to live according to their principles which were provocative and took them to the contrast with the society. The Pre-Raphaelite movement wanted to reform art by rejecting what they considered to be the mechanistic approach. The movement assigned a prime value to beauty assuming an essentially aesthetic tendency of”art for art’s sake”, art had no moral function.