6V Literature - Victorian Age & Poetry

A Survey of English Literature
Victorian Age & Poetry
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This lesson contains 46 slides, with interactive quizzes, text slides and 4 videos.

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Items in this lesson

A Survey of English Literature
Victorian Age & Poetry

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Today's lesson
Introduction to the Victorian Age

A Victorian poem:
- My Last Duchess by Robert Browning

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Victorian Times 

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Victorian Era

Slide 4 - Mind map

The Victorian Age (1)
  • Started around 1830 ended in early 20th century
  • Named after Queen Victoria (1837 - 1901)
  • Britain: great economic and political power
  • "The empire on which the sun never set"

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Young Victoria
Elderly Victoria

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The Victorian Age (2)
  • Empire building: Britain's national destiny
  • Sense of moral superiority (white man's burden)
  • From  1830s: Laws aimed at reform (Reform Bills, Poor Laws, educational laws)
  • It was a period of great social inequality
  • rich vs poor ("the two nations")
  • men vs women 

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Types of jobs for poor women

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The Victorian Age (3)
  • Scientific discovery and progress
  • Religious beliefs vs scientific evidence
  • Discovery of fossils
  • Theory of evolution 

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Victorian literature - Poetry
  • A continuation of the Romantic period yet much more rational
  • Themes: nature  / the past / the human spirit
  • Important poets:
  1. Alfred Tennyson (1809 - 1892)
  2. Robert Browning (1812 - 1889)

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Victorian literature - the novel
  • The age of the novel
  • Growing audience for "true stories"
  • Better education (rise in literacy)
  • Instalment system (novels published in serial form)

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Important authors
  • Charles Dickens
  • The Brontë Sisters (Charlotte, Emily and Anne)
  • George Eliot
  • Thomas Hardy

Women did not write under their own names

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Important names
Oscar Wilde - The Importance of being Earnest
George Bernard Shaw - Pygmalion

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What was Great Britain called in the 19th century?
The Empire on which the sun never sets
Old America
The Indian Empire
The Commonwealth Empire

Slide 16 - Quiz

What do you know about Charles Darwin?
He has invented a new type of religion
He has written the evolutionary theory
He was the Prime Minister from 1850-1854
He was Queen Victoria's brother-in-law

Slide 17 - Quiz

Who is this person?

Slide 18 - Open question

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Robert Browning

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Today's goal
Get to know Robert Browning
Understand his poem "My Last Duchess"
Know the background of this poem. 
Improve note making + listening skills. 

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Characteristics of Browning's poetry: 
  1. pleasure in observing people
  2. optimism
  3. human progress
  4. individualims
  5. rarely shows the poet's emotions
  6. Italian Renaissance 

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My Last Duchess
  • Read the poem 
  • Try to answer as many questions from 1-12 
       as you can

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Slide 25 - Video


Slide 26 - Video

What does the phrase “some officious fool” reveal about the Duke’s attitude towards his wife’s admirers? (Line 27)
He is amused by them.
He is unaware of them.
He is intimidated by them.
He is contemptuous of them.

Slide 27 - Quiz

What does the description of the last Duchess’ behavior in lines 25-31 reveal about her?
She was friendly and kind to everyone she met.
She kept a proper distance from people of lower rank.
She preferred other people’s company to her husband’s.
She purposely acted in a way that irritated her husband.

Slide 28 - Quiz

“She thanked men, — good! but thanked / Somehow — I know not how — as if she ranked / My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old-name / With anybody’s gift.”
What do these lines reveal about the way the Duchess’ behavior affected the Duke? (Lines 31-34)
His heart was broken because he realized that she loved another man.
His reputation was ruined because his court knew she was unfaithful.
His pride was wounded because she did not regard him as superior.
His love grew because he admired her kindness and generosity.

Slide 29 - Quiz

How does the enjambment between lines 47-48 affect the meaning of these lines?
It emphasizes the phrase “There she stands,” showing how the Duke is haunted by her memory.
It demonstrates the strained, jerky way the Duke speaks, showing readers how nervous he is.
It emphasizes the phrase “As if alive,” alerting readers to the Duchess’s death.
It allows the poet to maintain the rhythm and rhyme scheme of the poem.

Slide 30 - Quiz

What effect do lines 49-54 have on the mood of this poem?
They create a melancholy mood by reminding readers of the Duke’s lost love.
They create a hopeful mood by foreshadowing a new love for the lonely Duke.
They create an ominous mood by indicating that the murderous Duke seeks to marry again.
They create a celebratory mood by indicating that there may be a wedding in the near future.

Slide 31 - Quiz

As used in lines 43-44, what does the word “stoop” mean?
to lower oneself
to instruct someone
to flirt with someone
to change one’s mind

Slide 32 - Quiz

Why does the Duke most likely point out his statue of “Neptune... Taming a sea-horse” to his visitor? (Lines 54-55)
to impress the Count’s servant with his ability to purchase expensive art
to emphasize the control he expects to exert over his second wife
to make himself appear sophisticated and well-educated
to distract from his accidental admission of wrongdoing

Slide 33 - Quiz

Which statement best summarizes the plot of the poem?
The Duke becomes so emotional looking at his last wife’s portrait that it is clear he is still grieving and not ready to marry again.
The Duke’s last wife offended his sense of self-importance with her friendliness to others, eventually resulting in her untimely death.
The Duke’s last wife was disloyal, so he meets with the Count’s servant in order to stress how important it is that his next wife be faithful to him.
The Duke’s last wife vanished under mysterious circumstances, so the Count takes extra precautions before approving the Duke’s marriage to his daughter.

Slide 34 - Quiz

Let's dig deeper! 
Make notes while you watch. 
Make sure you include: dramatic monologue, enjambment, iambic pentameter, metaphor and context. 

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Slide 36 - Video

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Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

  • criminals are made, not born
  • closely concerned with every day life (poverty etc.)
  • father had debts, was send to prison
  • rest of the family to the workhouse
  • Charles had to work in factory as a 12 -year-old

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Slide 43 - Video

Special for Dickens's novels (II)
flat and vivid characters
most of the novels took place in the busy city
workhouse, child labour
mostly male characters

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subtle irony
Subtle irony: not immediately obvious irony. Use of words to convey a meaning that is
      the opposite of the real meaning.

...where on a rough, hard bed, he sobbed himself to sleep. Novel illustration of the tender laws of England. They let the paupers go to sleep.

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*  Alles wat in de reader staat, ook uitleg en achtergrond info over b.v. schrijver of tijdperk
* Lees en onthoudt alle verhalen in de reader 
* Belangrijk tekstdelen te  herkennen, bv. Canterbury Tales
*Alle vragen + antwoorden uit de reader gebruiken om te checken of je de tekst beheerst
* Ken soorten sonnetten: Italian/Petrarchan, English/ Shakespearean & uitleg 
*gebruik SMILE bij alle gedichten die je leest

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