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The Novel in the Victorian age

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The Novel in the Victorian age

The novel was the most important literary genre in Victorian age and the novelists assured a role of great social importance. In the mid century novel acted as spokesman for the society and took on a moral function. They treated the many issues of the day for example democracy, rapid industrialization and its consequences, philanthropy, etc. The greatest novelists share a faith in the perfectibility of the mankind and believed that the goodness of human heart could improve the general situation. Their moralistic purpose led to the adoption of happy endings in their works to show that good is capable to triumphing over evil. At the end of the century did novelists begin to examine the soul of the individual and to lose their faith in easy or social solutions.

For example one of the most important novelists was CHARLES DICKENS, who wrote about each social class of the time, from the upper middle class to the most unfortunate members of the society. Dickens' characters are not realist and his administration of moral justice is also unrealistic.

Dickens' most imp works are "Oliver Twist" and "David Copperfield".

Other two important writers of Victorian age were the BRONTĖ sisters. In their works they described the suffering of an individual personality and presented a new conception of the heroine as a woman of vital strength and passionate feelings. Brontės most important novel was "Jane Eyre", the first work in English literature which explores the role of woman in society and proclaims women's right to the same of social and intellectual freedom as men.

GEORGES ELLIOT was the pseudonym of another important novelist of this age, Mary Ann Evans. Women in fact, were forced to used a pseudonym if they would that their works were judged for its own merits.

The main purpose of Mary Ann Evans's novels is to examine moral problems. Her characters are developed and analysed skilfully and minutely. Through her characters Mary Ann Evans show a profound understanding of human mind and emotions. Her works have always an happy ending. One of her novel is "Middlemarch" in which Dorothea refuses to accept her role as an inferior member of the human race.


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