Novel of the Victorian Period. [P236]
Novel became the most widely read and the most vital and challenging expression of progressive thought. A harvest in novel
William Makepeace Thackeray
Mrs. Gaskell Anthony Trollope
They were angry at the inhuman social institutions， the decaying social morality as represented by the money-worship and Utilitarianism， and the widespread misery， poverty and injustice. Their truthful picture of people’s life and bitter and strong criticism of the society had done much in awakening the public consciousness to the social problems and in the actual improvement of the society.
George Eliot， the pioneering woman， was the first novelist that “started putting all the actions inside”
Thomas Hardy， the Wessex man who not only continued to expose and criticize all sorts of social iniquities， but finally came to question and attack the Victorian conventions and morals.
Prose of the Victorian Period [P236]
Poetry of the Victorian Period [P236-237]
The poetry of this period was mainly characterized by experiments with new styles and new ways of expression. Robert Browning who created the verse novel by adopting the novelistic presentation of characters. This transferred the thematic 主题的interest from mere narration of the story to revelation 新发现，提示 and study of character’s inner world and brought to the Victorian poetry some psycho-analytical element.
Charles Dickens （1812-1870）
The definition of Critical Realist：
（1） A number of novelists who are strongly critical of the social reality of their day.
（2） They don’t want to overthrow the existing social order and so they can’t see a way out of the terrible situation.
（3） They have a word of sympathy for the miseries of the poor laboring masses and cried out loud against social injustice.
（4） But they don’t approve the use of violence to right the social wrongs.
（5） Therefore， they fear rather than welcome the Chartist Movement.
Life of Charles Dickens
1812 Son of a petty navy officer. Because of financial problem， his father along with his family members was put into prison. Dickens spent some of his childhood in prison.
1824 12y， He worked for a shoe blacking factory as a child work. Later， he wrote his miserable life there in Oliver Twist.
1827 Dickens entered a lawyer’s office in London， where he acquainted with law court. While in London， he often read book at the British Museum Library.
1828 He became a Parliament reporter. The job enabled him to get some insideknowledge of British legal and political system， a chance to meet people of all kinds， a good foundation for writing.
1837 25y， Pickwick Paper was published. Dickens gained fame.
Major works of Charles Dickens
Oliver Twist （1837-1838） attacked the workhouse system.
A Tale of Two Cities （1859） attacked the French Revolution.
Dombey and Son （1846-1848） attacked the Capitalist.
Bleak House （1852-1853） attacked the law court.
Hard Time （1854） attacked the Utilitarianism （facts）。
Oliver Twist In this novel， Dickens attacked the workhouse system. Workers who worked hard but so little can’t supply their family， hungry to death.
Plot Oliver is an orphan working in a workhouse. He can’t stand the hungry so he turns to theft. In order to live， he becomes a thief and leads an underworld life. At the end of the novel， with the help of kind-hearted men， he learns that he isn’t an orphan but is born in a decent family.
Significance of Oliver Twist
（1） The novel is the truthful presentation of the miseries of the poor and the oppressed.
（2） It blames the social system and institutions for such miseries. In Dickens’s depiction， labors， they either become oppressors or criminals.
The progressing aspect of the novel
It’s said the publication of Oliver Twist has bettered the conditions in the English workhouses.
Dombey and Son à attacked the Capitalist
Dombey regards his wife chiefly as a woman whose duty is to give birth， and regards his son as someone who carries his name and inherit his property. He thinks that his daughter is useless， can be neglected. He teaches his son that money can buy everything. His son died young. After his wife died， he marries a young beauty. He thinks that he buys her and she gets social status and money. Dombey thinks the marriage is a good business.
Dombey is very inhumane to his daughter. When his second wife shows her concern to the daughter. Dombey is annoyed. He thinks that he buys the second wife to love him only. She can’t love another person. The second wife finally elopes with Dombey’s manager who later cheats away his money.
In his late life， Dombey lives in poverty and solitude. Only his daughter stays with him and takes care of him.
Bleak House à attacked the law court
It’s about a family lawsuit. Almost all family members are involved in the lawsuit for many years. The result is that the long legal procedure makes everybody poor and miserable.
Hard Time à attacked Utilitarianism
Utlitiarianists show their concern over facts. The novel exposed the influence of Utilitarianism in education. An educated man teaches his son and daughter by facts. The children have no time to play and to learn beautiful natural things. They only learn abstract， logical things. The son finally becomes a thief and is almost killed by others. The daughter becomes moral degenerated.
Charles Dickens means that Utilitarianism is a failure of education. It’s also an attack on social Darwinism， which drugs people mind “you are poor and incapable so you have to work for me. “
Charles Dickens’ point of view [P239]
（1） It’s his serious intention to expose and criticize in his works all the poverty， injustice， hypocrisy and corruptness he sees all around him.
（2） He hates the state apparatus， esp. the parliament， but as a bourgeois writer， he can in no way supply any fundamental solution to the social plights.
（3） He hopes to call people’s attention to the existing social problems， thus effecting some reform or amelioration.
Charles Dickens’ style [P241]
（1） Charles Dickens is a master story-teller.
（2） The settings of his stories have an extraordinary vividness， a result of years’ intimacy and rich imagination.
（3） In language， he is often compared with Shakespeare for his adeptness with the vernacular and large vocabulary with which he brings out many a wonderful verbal picture of man and scene.
（4） His humor and wit seem inexhaustible.
（5） Character-portrayal is the most distinguishing feature of his works.