The middle classes
Throughout the course of the 19th century, the middle classes expanded rapidly. Those moving up the social scale had to learn new modes of behaviour and ways of life. How was this sector of society reflected in the literature of the period, and how were the tensions surrounding social mobility explored?
- Article by:
- Matthew Taunton
Dr Matthew Taunton takes us through 19th-century suburbia, showing how aspirations to respectability led the Victorian lower-middle class away from political involvement. The homogeneity and apathy of the suburbs provided rich satire for writers, as well as a setting for dystopian and science fiction.Read more
- Article by:
- Matthew White
With increasing variety in clothes, food and household items, shopping became an important cultural activity in the 18th century. Dr Matthew White describes buying and selling during the period, and explains the connection between many luxury goods and slave plantations in South America and the Caribbean.Read more
What are the key motifs of Gothic literature and how do these works reflect the contexts in which the genre emerged and evolved?
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?
How did the writers of this period incorporate fantasy, realism, sensationalism, and social commentary into their work?
How did the literature of this period reflect attitudes to gender, sexuality, immigration, class and scientific discovery?
How did the Victorian poets approach composition, form and language, and what inspired their subjects?
From music hall to pleasure gardens, explore the extraordinary range of entertainments on offer in Georgian and Victorian Britain.
How did writers respond to the social inequalities of Victorian society?
How did rising literacy rates, libraries and new technologies influence literature and reading habits during this period?
How did 19th-century authors respond to the new possibilities afforded by technology and science?
How were the tensions surrounding social mobility explored in the literature of the period?
How did 19th-century depictions of the future reflect contemporary fears of social, political and technological change?