The 19th century (Critical Realism)

The 19th century was characterized by sharp contradictions. In many ways it was an age of progress: railways and ships were built, great scientific discoveries were made, education became more widespread; but al the same time it was an age of profound social unrest, because there was too much poverty, too much injustice. The growth of scientific inventions mechanized industry and increased wealth, but this progress only enriched the few at the expense of the many. Dirty factories, long hours of work, child labour, exploitation, low wages, slums and frequent unemployment -these were the conditions of life for the workers in the growing industries of England, which became the richest country in the world towards the middle of the 19th century.
By the thirties of the 19th century English capitalism had entered a new stage of development. England had become a classical capitalist country, a country of industrial capitalism. The Industrial Revolution gathered force as the 19th century progressed, and profound changes in hand-looms gave way, within a hundred years, to factory towns, railroads, and steamships. The population of Manchester, Birmingham and other industrial centres was growing rapidly as the number of factory workers increased, while the number of poor farmers decreased and many rural districts were depopulated. The basic social classes in England were no longer the peasants and the landlords but the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.
Having won the victory over aristocracy, the bourgeoisie betrayed the interests of the working class. The workers fought for their rights. Their political demands were expressed in the People's Charier in 1833. The Chartis Movement was a revolutionary movement of the English workers, which lasted till 1848.
The Chartists introduced their own literature, which was the first attempt to create a literature of the working class. The Chartist writers tried their hand at different genres. They wrote articles, short stories, songs, epigrams, poems. Their leading genre was poetry.
The ideas of the Chartism attracted the attention of many progressive-minded people of that time. A lot of prominent writers became aware of the social injustices around them and tried to depict them in their works. Thus this period was mirrored in literature by the appearance of a new trend, the Critical Realism. The greatest novelists of the age are Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, Charlotte Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskell.
These writers used the novel as a means to protest against the evils in contemporary social and economic life and to picture the world in a realistic way. Their greatness also lies in their profound humanism. Their sympathy lies with the ordinary people. They believed in the good qualities of the human heart.


Юлія Коротченко said...

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Anonymous said...

My exam question,thank you:)