Rereading the Victorian Period

There are mainly two aspects to see the Victorian period: The textual, and The ideological. These two aspects are intimately, although sometimes antagonistically, related. These aspects together criticize the conventions of Victorian developments. The traditional, emphasis in most literary studies was' on philosophy, epistemology, but these traditional emphasis has been resisted and rejected by minority and gender studies, discourse theory, later Marxism, the new historicism, as these theories are working on the ground of ideas and they exercised to bring the ideas through representation, together with the effect of the industrial revolution.

Along with these ideological frameworks, there was also a strong post-war textual criticism; new criticism, literary formalism, which has been displayed by post-structuralist formalism and textualism. The textual groups have seen mainly the linguistic elements and for them nothing is there beyond language.

1. Textual Criticism

In rereading the Victorian period, we are conscious to note the 1 950s development. In the mid 1950s, the revision of literary- studies was marvelous ideas, but during this time the' country and academies were economically expensive. A new generation of faculty members from a much broader base of class and ethnic background moved towards the high modernist formalism. The Post-World War II opened the new dimensions in literary studies; new critics like Brooks and Warren, and an alliance of Yale and Southern Agrarians, like Allen Tate and John Crowe Ransom had been actively participating in determining the shape of literary studies.

They were not satisfied with Victorian literature, for them Victorian literature was something of a "mistake". There were not many Victorian poems in Brook's and Warren's, Understanding Poetry and these groups of critics were not satisfied with the loose and baggy monsters of Victorian fiction. The development of textual criticism marched ahead from new criticism; literary formalism and liberal humanism to structuralism 'and more advanced post structuralism.

2. Ideological Criticism

 Victorian literature got a new height when it is studied from 'ideological, historical, cultural and sociological perspectives.' The ideological critics were not satisfied by language, structure or form only; they opened the dimension beyond textual parameters so they are contextual critics. In this group the emergence of new historicist approach is more worthy of mentioning; the emergence of a politically concerned historicism at a time when 'formalism dominated the academy represented not only a return, to a traditional way of looking at Victorian texts but a new social awareness.

New method of approaching Victorian studies came in 1957, which was almost exactly contemporary with the publication of Raymond William’s, Culture and Society, one of the most influential books of the last- half century. Victorian studies, culture and society reasserted the great tradition of Victorian 'study that emphasized historical depth.

Some of the young critics of Victorian studies published a journal named as ‘Victorian studies', as Michael Wolff is one of the leaders of editing board; self-consciously sets about developing an interdisciplinary context for the study of literature and, indeed blurring the boundaries between literature and other forms of discourse.

Victorian studies were precisely not an analytical consideration of individual canonical text rather this is the sense of particular historical location of the idea of culture and the peculiarities of the culture of the Victorians which became important aspects of the Victorian studies.

Hence, we can sum up the developments in Victorian studies mainly through two approaches with dividing the time frameworks too:

 Up to 1969s:

Textual criticism (formalism/new criticism) or early textual reading

After 1960s:

Historical, later textual and Interdisciplinary approach.

 We can further analyze the historical and interdisciplinary approach:

Historical and interdisciplinary approach

  1. Earlier it was influenced by Victorian journals and Raymond Williams
  2. Feminist critics replaced later - phase of this reading; they criticized the historical condition of women.