Victorian NovelThe early Victorian novel, whose main representative was Charles Dickens, dealt with social and humanitarian themes and expressed the ideas of the age. In the Victorian novel the voice of the omniscient narrator provided a comment on the plot and erected a rigid barrier between right and wrong. The setting chosen by most Victorian novelists was the city, which was the main symbol of industrial civilisation as well as the expression of anonymous lives and lost identities. The plot was long and often complicated by sub plots. Victorian writers concentrated on the creation of characters and achieved a deeper analysis of the characters’ inner lives. There is a relationship between reader and writer: readers want to see their self in the story. The story is often described with realism.
Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870)Was born in Portsmouth in 1812. He had an unhappy childhood since his father was imprisoned for debt. His wife and children, with the exception of Charles who was put to in work in a factory, joined him in jail. When the finances were put partly to right and his father was released, the twelve years old Charles was further wounded by his mother’s insistence that he had to continue to work at the factory. His father however rescued him from that fate and Dickens was sent to school in London. By 1832 he had become a very successful shorthand and began to work as a reporter for a newspaper. In 1833 his first story appeared. In 1836 he married Catherine Hogarth and he started a full time career as a novelist. He produced Oliver Twist (1837), Nicholas Nickleby (1839), Christmas Carol (1844), Bleak House (1853), Hard Times (1854) and Great Expectations (1860-1). He died in London in 1870. Dickens shifted the social frontiers of the novel. The middle class world was replaced by that of lower orders. He created caricatures by describing the characters, habits, and language of the middle and lower classes in London. He ridiculed vanity and ambition freely, without sarcasm. He was always on the side of the poor, and the working class. He criticizes middle class’s education utility, the idea of education that restrict the imagination and the use of economical theories in education. He’s not a politic or intellectual. He doesn’t believe in politic, and he doesn’t want subvert status quo. He wants a change trough sensibility of people, humour, ironic (not sarcasm). He’s not socialist or anarchic and he never induce the low classes to rebel. Children are the most important characters in Dickens’s novels. He reverses the natural order of thing and opposes wise children to worthless parents. Children was the moral teachers instead of the taught, the examples instead of the imitators. His novel was influenced by the Bible, fables, nursery rhymes and by gothic novel.