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Victorian Poetry and Realism
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  1. VictorianPoetry and Realism

  2. Victorian Realism

  3. Victorian Realism • Reaction to Romanticism • Depicted life as it was really lived • Ordinary people facing nitty-gritty reality • Novel form, e.g. Dickens • Themes of family relationships, religion and morality, social change, social reform, and industrialization. • Naturalism: offshoot of realism. Examination of life using scientific observation. Rejected the idea that nature mirrored human emotions. Calls for social reform.

  4. The Brownings • Robert Browning eloped with Elizabeth Barrett (an invalid) in 1846. They spent the rest of their lives in Florence, Italy. • R.B.’s poems show some Romantic attitudes • Others seek to portray individuals with un-romantic authenticity, e.g. dramatic monologue “My Last Duchess” • E.B.B. wrote Sonnets from the Portuguese, now recognized as one of the greatest sonnet sequences in English. (note her rhyme scheme!)

  5. Elizabeth Barrett Browning How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.I love thee to the depth and breadth and heightMy soul can reach, when feeling out of sightFor the ends of Being and ideal Grace.I love thee to the level of everyday'sMost quiet need, by sun and candle-light.I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.I love thee with a passion put to useIn my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.I love thee with a love I seemed to loseWith my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,I shall but love thee better after death.

  6. ”My Last Duchess” • Oneof Rober Browning’smostfamousdramaticmonologues • The dramatic monologue was highly psychological, but developed before the ideas of psychology or psychiatry were established in society! • It exposed pretense and revealed the character’s inner self.

  7. The Pre-Raphaelites • Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood formed in 1848 • Protested the ugliness of industrialization • Painted/wrote about nature in the style of Italian art found before Raphael, the Renaissance painter (1483-1520). • “art for art’s sake” Aestheticism (see Oscar Wilde) • emphasized themes of eroticized medievalism and pictorial techniques that produced moody atmosphere. • Poetry emphasizes lush vowel sounds, sensuous description, and subjective psychological states. Thispainting by the Italianpainter Raphael is calledThe SchoolofAthens

  8. Christina Rosetti: ”A Birthday” MYheartis like a singing bird Whose nest is in a water'd shoot; My heart is like an apple-tree Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit; My heart is like a rainbow shell That paddles in a halcyon sea; My heart is gladder than all these, Because my love is come to me. Raise me a daïs of silk and down; Hang it with vair and purple dyes; Carve it in doves and pomegranates, And peacocks with a hundred eyes; Work it in gold and silver grapes, In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys; Because the birthday of my life Is come, my love is come to me. • The second stanzaofthis poem has beenpraised as a ”fully Pre-Raphaeliteword-picture”. Think aboutwhatyouhave just learnedabout the movement and explainwhyyouthinkthis is so.

  9. DG Rossettiused Christina as his model • What event doesthispaintingdepict? • Howwouldyoudescribe the expression on her face? • What sorts of symbols arerepresented in the painting? • How is it ”Pre-Raphaelite”? • Howdoesthispaintingdiffer from the moretraditional images ofthis event?