The age of Victoria (1837-1901) approaches our own so
closely that it is still difficult to form an accurate judgment of
its history or literature. In a review of the history of the age we
noted three factors, democracy, science, imperialism, which have
profoundly influenced English letters from 1850 to the present
Our study of Victorian literature includes (1) The life and works
of the two greater poets of the age, Tennyson and Browning. (2) The
work of Elizabeth Barrett, Matthew Arnold, Rossetti, Morris and
Swinburne, who were selected from the two hundred representive
poets of the period. (3) The life and the chief works of the major
novelists, Dickens, Thackeray and George Eliot. (4) A review of
some other novelists of the age, the Brontë Sisters, Mrs. Gaskell,
Anthony Trollope, Blackmore, Kingsley, Meredith, Hardy and
Stevenson. (5) The typical essayists and historians, Macaulay,
Carlyle, Ruskin, with a review of other typical groups of writers
in the fields of religion, history and science.
Selections for Reading
Typical selections from all authors named
in the text are found in Manly, English Poetry, English Prose;
Pancoast, Standard English Poems, Standard English Prose; and
several other collections, which are especially useful in a study
of the minor writers. The works of the major authors may be read to
much better advantage in various inexpensive editions prepared for
school use. Only a few such editions are named below for each
author, but a fairly complete list is given under Texts in the
Tennyson's selected minor poems, Idylls of the King, The Princess
and In Memoriam, in Standard English Classics, Riverside
Literature, Pocket Classics, Silver Classics. A good volume
containing the best of Tennyson's poems in Athenĉum Press Series.
Browning and Mrs. Browning, selected poems in Standard English
Classics, Lake Classics, English Readings, Belles Lettres Series.
Matthew Arnold, selected poems in Golden Treasury Series, Maynard's
English Classics; Sohrab and Rustum in Standard English Classics;
prose selections in English Readings, Academy Classics.
Dickens, Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield, Christmas Carol in
Standard English Classics, Lake Classics; other novels in
Thackeray, Henry Esmond in Standard English Classics, Pocket
Classics; English Humorists in Lake Classics, English Readings;
other works in Everyman's Library.
George Eliot, Silas Marner, in Standard English Classics, Riverside
Literature; Mill on the Floss and other novels in Everyman's
Blackmore's Lorna Doone and Mrs. Gaskell's Cranford in Standard
English Classics. Reade's Cloister and the Hearth, Kingsley's
Westward Ho and Hypatia in Everyman's Library.
Macaulay, selected essays in Standard English Classics, Riverside
Literature, Lake Classics.
Carlyle, Essay on Burns in Standard English Classics, Academy
Classics; Heroes and Hero Worship in Athenĉum Press, Pocket
Classics; French Revolution in Everyman's Library.
Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies and selected essays and letters in
Standard English Classics; selections from Ruskin's art books in
Riverside Literature; other works in Everyman's Library.