VICTORIAN NOVELISTS CHARLES DICKENS THOMAS HARDY OSCAR WILDE
His natural sense of humor can be found in
Sometimes it is united to pathos and
CHARLES DICKENS A subtle observer of London life He was able to give a minute description of school systems, law court procedures, domesic life of lower or middle classes, manners, traditions and popular festivities.
CHARLES DICKENS His characters are derived from the observation of real people. They are individual with their particular idiosincratic features. He is not great at drawing the spiritual side of his characters but he is excellent at catching their humoristic side.
His plots lack real organic unity
His main characters are sometimes superficially
Sentimentalism and pathos are excessive
Comic scenes are sometimes exaggerated
His tragic scenes are sometimes too
A neverending range of incidents and situations
His minor characters with their foibles are mermorable
His plots keep attention high
His style is fluent and effective
Striking use of symbolism
Powerful descriptive passages
Wessex as a link between past and present
The change from an agricultural society under the
impact of industrial life
The presence of nature is relevant in his works
Only in rustic life men can express their passion
THOMAS HARDY ROMANTIC AND REALIUSTIC ELEMENTS Nature as a mother and then indifferent to man’s destiny. Love, the main source of most of his novels turns into disillutionment and failure because of institutions, society or Fate.
THOMAS HARDY PESSIMISM Its source is in the clash of all traditional beliefs due to the theories by Darwin, Schopenhauer, Mill. Man is a simple insect in a universe indifferent to him, far from being the beloved son of a providential Father- God. This fatalistic vision of the universe led him to a sort of predestination to failure.
THOMAS HARDY CHARACTERS He feels compassion for all suffering people. That’s why his characters, even when they fail in their search for true values, have a moral dignity. Around them there is a community made up by country people believing in superstitions and moved by instinct.They all form an extension of the rural landscape.
THOMAS HARDY TECHNIQUE It can be defined architectual and cinematic at the same time. He usually starts panning to secure a panoramic effect and then focuses on the various elements of nature until he gives a single detail. He also makes use of perspective and lighting devices and often lets objects speak for themselves turning them into symbols.
A woman forced by circumstances to submit and
to use violence, can still be pure in her heart: an open challenge to the moral conventions of the time
Its characters are victims of their choices
Tragic melodramatic conclusion
Plot with fatalism and pessimism
Its inner structure is made up of antagonisms and conflicts:
Prejudice versus feeling
Culture versus ignorance
Individual vs community
Human will vs destiny
OSCAR WILDE His name is connected to Aestheticism and even more with Decadentism, even though he stands a little apart. The Aesthetic writers broke with the conventions of the time and gave free rein to imagination and fantasy, echoing Romantics but taking their theories and attitudes to extremes. They chose to live an extravagant life, devoted to the cult of beauty and art.
OSCAR WILDE Decadentism was marked by a sort of extremism. Their representatives, disregarding the simple genuine values of life and disdaining mediocrity, cut themselves off from masses. They often fall in vice and corruption. Despite his decadent aestheticism, Wilde was still Victorian at heart and the precept of ‘Art for Art’s sake’ was for him basically a moral as well as an aesthetic imperative
OSCAR WILDE That’s why in The Preface to ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’, among other things he stressed the integrity and coherence of the artist, who must always be ‘in accord with himself’. Even his novel which was branded as immoral, when it appeared, can be read as a morality. Its conclusion sounds like the ‘deserved’ punishment of a life only devoted to the pursuit of sensation.
A man pretending to be something else (mask)
Mask as the only identity, as a multiple possibility with contrasting viewpoints
Personal vision of truth which can be perceived by two different individuals
Negation of commonplace
Tendency towards a lack of sense of pity
The idea of fatality and doom
Images of duality and double life with two distinct tones
Blend of aesthetic discussions and epigrammatic wit