Romantic period and Victorian period were two main periods in Englishliterature. The Romantic period was considered as the time period from the1770s to the 1830s and was characterized by both an emotional language and acomplement of nature. On the other hand, the Victorian period was a time when Queen Victoria ruled England between1837 and 1901 (Kumari, 2017, para.1). This period was qualified with theexpanding British Empire together with increasing development and poverty.
Additionally, theRomantic period was mainly influenced by emotionalism, imagination, freedom of thought and expression, and anidealization of nature, whereas the Victorianperiod was influenced by scientific and technological discoveries of theperiod. Apparently, there aresome significant differences and similarities between the Romantic period andthe Victorian period. The first difference is thetheme.
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Unlike the Romantic period, the Victorianperiod did not pay attention to nature and emotion. Latter was more realisticand influenced by technological inventions of the period. Coodin says that One of the chief markers of Romanticism is a deepbelief in the power of nature. Poets such as Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth, andColeridge are famous for looking to the natural world for inspiration in acorrupted world. By contrast, Victorian writers had little faith in nature toovercome the problems of the world.
Poets and novelists such as Hardy, Tennyson,and Browning depicted the world as dark and disturbed. Charles Dickens’ novels,meanwhile, showed the misery of the working poor. (para. 3)Additionally, in the Romantic period, there wereindividualism, solitary life rather than life in society, and devotion tonature. But in the Victorian period, there were medieval myths and legends aswell as realistic issues such as the struggle between science and religion. 4 The second difference is theusage of language. Coodinsays that “Differences between Romanticism and Victorianism are apparentin the contrasting ways in which they use language” (para 5).
The Romanticperiod used everyday language on unsophisticated subjects, mostly on nature. Carter & McRae (2002) point that the Romanticperiod’s poets developed ways of writing which were intended to be closer toeveryday speech and tried to access to general reader (p.221). Furthermore, Kayihan (2002)states that in Romantic Period, poetsdidn’t use unusual word combinations because what you write about is moreimportant than how you write (p.
36). On the other hand, in the Victorian period, poets usedmore complex language and style in their works than they inherited from theRomantic period.Despite the differences between the Romantic period and the Victorianperiod, there are still several similarities between them.Firstly,both the Romantic period and Victorian period had historical backgrounds.Changes and occurrences that happened between the 18th and 19thcenturies such as colonization and technological developments were reflected inliterary works in terms of art, work and daily life of the people. Coodin says that Romanticismwas in part a reaction against the Industrial Revolution.
As urbanization and factory production swept acrossEurope in the 18th century, writers looked to nature as a way to reclaim a wayof life that was being threatened. Similarly, increased economic inequalitythrough the 19th century led Victorian writers to want to expose the horrors ofpoverty. Disenchanted by the decline of religious belief in Europe, poets andnovelists saw their role as chronicling the bleakness of the modern world.(para.2) 5 Furthermore,the Romantic period was politically dominated by the French Revolution and itsconsequences, whereas Victorian period was affected by rapid industrialization,technological progress and urbanization.Secondly,both periods had a male dominant society. Inboth periods, women were not treated as equal as men. They had to struggle fortheir independence in society.
Moti (2006) states that The women novelists frequently addressed thisinequality in their novels. For example, in Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights”,Cathy chooses a loveless marriage because of society’s attitude to women, orGeorge Eliot’s Maggie in “Mill on the Floss” is an independent, high-spiritedyoung woman who does not fit in with the community around her. However, themale novelists see things differently. In Dickens’ novels, women are sometimestreated as objects to be adored, worshipped and protected.
For instance, in”Nicholas Nickleby” both Madeline Brayand Nicholas’s sister, Kate, need to be rescued from men who treat them badly.(para.7)Additionally,during the Romantic period and the Victorian period,Britain was a patriarchal society and women were not allowed to vote, and theyhad few opportunities in the workplace. Nonetheless, some women rose above their discrimination and soughtout careers as novelists and businesswomen but this was quite rare.In conclusion, there areseveral differences and similarities between the Romantic and the Victorianperiods in some areas.
When considering all, even though these are twodifferent types of periods, there is a development from the Romantic periodinto the Victorian period with more research, knowledge and the development oftechnology.