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Synopsis

Seminar paper from the year 2002 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Culture and Applied Geography, grade: 2+ (B), Martin Luther University (Institute for Anglistics/ American Studies), course: The Condition of England-Question, 13 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: The Victorian age in England is generally defined by the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. Since the queen´s rulership was for such a long time, it is not possible to discuss the whole period as one homogen part. There were so many changes during the different phases of Victorias´s reign that the 64 years of her rulership may be seperated into 3 different periods: the first period which lastet until 1851 is a period of growth; England´s manufacturing and trading forces grew more and more. In 1851 the Great Exhibition in London started the second and for this paper most important period. Now England was the leading industrial country in the world; the period of supremacy had begun.The late Victorian period covers the last quarter of the century. During this phase England lost its supremacy and the society had a more critical look on the earlier periods.1 The Victorian values which were developed by the middle class were most influential during the second third of Victoria´s reign. During this time the middle class grew significantly and became very important (for example through the Reform Bills which enlarged the voting population as well as through their growing wealth). Because of their new role in society middle-class opinions, behavior and values were adopted by the other classes above and below.2 Therefore, it can be said that from its beginning onwards the mid-Victorian era was and is of a special influence on the British society in past and present: 'The opening of the Great Exhibition was also the opening of the Golden Age of Victorianism,...'.3 This 'Golden Age' even has been recognized at the end of the 20th century when the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher stated: 'Victorian Values were the values when our country became great.'4 Therefore, this term paper will discuss the famous 'Victorian Values' which were developed in one class and later characterized a whole society. How did the people of the middle class live in the middle of the 19th century? How did they practise their morals and values? What were their morals and ideals? [...] 1 David Thomson, England in the Nineteenth Century: 1815-1914 (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books 1991) 221-224. 2 Gottfried Niedhart, Geschichte Englands im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, 3 Bände (München: Verlag C.H. Beck 1987) 39-49. 3 Thomson, England 19th Century, 100. 4 Asa Briggs, A Social History of England, 2nd edition (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1994) 249.

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