The human and artistic concerns of both the Romantic and Victorian Ages are similar to our own concerns; the response to those concerns- given by poets, novelists, dramatists and artists- can help us live fuller, more meaningful and creative lives in our own times.
It’s sad to see that the journey through 19th century literature comes to an end. I can personally say that it was both quite enjoyable and an eye opener. With all the texts that we have studied, they have commented on the social status of the world in its time. Poetry, novels and other work done by writers also focused on how good the simple life was, embracing nature, rather than highlighting the advantages of advancing in a technological & modern matter. These texts however, continue to comment on today’s society, showing how corrupt humanity is, as we are ‘enslaved by technology.’
The romantic period had the main focus on embracing the environment and an individual’s creativity. Embracing the environment was one way to show how much humanity has taken advantage of mother nature. Romantic poets, however did comment on modern society back then, however had used it to contrast what the world was prior to revolutionising. This can be seen in different poems, such as “The Garden of Love” written by William Blake. This poem explores how humanity has destroyed nature, through the battle between nature nurture. Blake has done this by using his childhood memories, to contrast what the garden of love was, before it was destroyed by humanity. The other thing Blake does in this poem is in a way, depict negative aspects of religion. This has been done by contrasting what religion is about (embracing nature and God’s creation) to taking advantage of nature, destroying it and not allowing peace and harmony with the gates to the church locked with “Thou shalt not writ over the door”.
Then we travel to the Victorian age. Much like the Romantic Period, the victorian age explores the simple times, where people enjoyed their life. Charles Dicken’s “Hard Times” visualises the idea of embracing the simple life. This is shown through the life of the circus family, embracing human experience, showing an example of the true life. This had contrasted to Mr. Hartfield, as he preferred to know more fact than human experience. Dickens had strong views on the social economic classes in the victorian age, especially the upper class society. Through Mr. Hartfield, Dickens has portrayed his personal views as Hartfield felt that they have failed to contribute to England’s society. Comparing to Hartfield, to the Circus family,
Continuing onto Victorian Age, we have “The Scholar Gypsy,” written by Matthew Arnold. Arnold had a rich understanding of the victorian age, which was crushed by modern society. In “The Scholar Gypsy”, the gypsy is somehow seen as an ‘immortal’ due to the different lifestyle. The speaker begins to question life in the 19th century, as they are jealous of the scholar gypsy’s lifestyle, fleeing from modern society. The one idea that has been raised in Arnold’s poem is that finding identity and meaning is an issue. In compared to the speaker and the scholar gypsy, the speaker wishes that they are able to find their own true identity and meaning, to be able to live a fulfilling life. I personally feel that this is a major problem in todays society especially, because many people seem to fall into having an identity crisis, which can cause a problem to not only themselves and those around them, but the community as a whole.
The Romantic and Victorian periods throughout the 19th century, still has a toll on the everyday life in today’s society. Whether it is commenting on the idea to embrace the environment, or how our idea of focusing on work and money, disengages us from the idea to live life to it’s full potential, writers from the 19th century raises their concerns, which carries onto modern society. As much as its sad to say goodbye to the 19th Century literature journey, I can say that it wont be the end.
So long for now….