Themes

From Romantic poetry to Gothic horror, from depictions of poverty and industrialisation to portrayals of the middle classes, and from crime fiction to fin de siècle decadence: the literary works of the Romantic and Victorian periods offer a wealth of topics to explore.

Romanticism

Romanticism

How did the Romantic poets explore landscape, class, radicalism and the sublime?

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The Gothic

The Gothic

What are the key motifs of Gothic literature and how do these works reflect the contexts in which the genre emerged and evolved?

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Childhood and children's literature

Childhood and children's literature

Was children’s literature intended to entertain or instruct?

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Crime and crime fiction

Crime and crime fiction

Why was crime such a popular subject in 19th-century fiction?

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London

London

How did the writers of this period portray our iconic capital city?

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The novel 1780 - 1832

The novel 1780–1832

From the origins of the Gothic to depictions of the emerging middle classes, what are the key characteristics of late 18th- and early 19th-century literature?

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The novel 1832 - 1880

The novel 1832–1880

How did the writers of this period incorporate fantasy, realism, sensationalism, and social commentary into their work?

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Fin de siècle

Fin de siècle

How did the literature of this period reflect attitudes to gender, sexuality, immigration, class and scientific discovery?

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Victorian poetry

Victorian poetry

How did the Victorian poets approach composition, form and language, and what inspired their subjects?

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Popular culture

Popular culture

From music hall to pleasure gardens, explore the extraordinary range of entertainments on offer in Georgian and Victorian Britain.

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Poverty and the working classes

Poverty and the working classes

How did writers respond to the social inequalities of Victorian society?

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Power and politics

How did writers respond to the tumultuous political events of this period?

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Reading and print culture

How did rising literacy rates, libraries and new technologies influence literature and reading habits during this period?

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Technology and science

Technology and science

How did 19th-century authors respond to the new possibilities afforded by technology and science?

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The middle classes

The middle classes

How were the tensions surrounding social mobility explored in the literature of the period?

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Visions of the future

Visions of the future

How did 19th-century depictions of the future reflect contemporary fears of social, political and technological change?

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Gender and sexuality

Gender and sexuality

How did the literature of this period portray and challenge traditional gender roles?

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