The Victorian era of British literature spanned almost an entire century and saw writers from Carlyle to Rossetti, Kipling to Barrett Browning, and Dickens to Tennyson. The fabric of London changed as industry and invention flourished, along with poverty and social decay. Significant changes in politics, science, and religious thinking emerged as well. As British society moved further away from its roots in agriculture and devout religion, British literature also moved further away from its roots in Renaissance humanism towards the decadence and aestheticism that characterize late nineteenth-century works. By tracing the shift of styles and use of rhetorical devices in Victorian literature, the story of Victorian England and the changes in philosophies emerges.
Caitlin Larracey is a senior English major with minors in Spanish, GLBT Studies, and History. She conducted this research as an Honors Contract under the mentorship of Dr. Derek Leuenberger of the English Department. She presented this paper at the 2012 National Conference on Undergraduate Education.
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