New Literary Forms and Style in Victorian Era

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      The new literary output of the Victorian era is rich and varied, no doubt, but the amount of actual innovations is by no means very great. Writers were as a rule content to work upon the former models; yet there were no innovations which were not very important and are out of doubtful value.

Victorian new Literary movement

      In poetry, the older lyrics of the romantic age were the models for the poets and their achievements were not inconsiderable. Yet new development was not altogether absent. Thus one great and noteworthy improvement was the 'dramatic lyric' or 'dramatic monologue', which is a combination of the lyric and drama. The dramatic monologue was the invention of Browning and it is the typical form in which he cast many of his tamous poems. Herein lies the newness of his art.

      In descriptive and narrative poetry there is a greater advance to chronicle. In the narrative poems of Browning and Morris there is great variety of the subject, drawn from many ciumes and times. The method is also diverse. Tennyson sought to revive the epic but as his epic impulse was not sufficiently strong, he produced only small fragments which he called the Idylls. His Idyls of Kings, deals with Arthurian legends, reshaping and modernising them in the context of the new age, Brownings Ring and the Book may be called 'a psychological epic, in which action is altogether subordinated to emotion and psychological analysis of minds. Morris's The Earthiy Paradise is a return to the old romantic tales as we find in Chaucer.

      In the field of drama, Matthew Arnold's Merope and Swinburne's Atalanta in Calydon deserve notice. These two have a distinct place in the development of drama. In them classicism is the main inspiration and these are built on the modeis or tne Greek tragedy. As a drama Merope is formal and cold. Atalanta in Calydon is a sort of lyrical drama, a combination of drama and lyrics and in its lyricism it reminds one of Shelley. The choruses of the drama are well-known. The genius of Swinburne is not dramatic.

      It is, however, in the field of prose that the Victorian age made rapid strides. The novel in this age had thrust itself into the first rank as species of literature. In the hands of Dickens, Thackeray, Eliot, The Bronte sisters, Meredith, Hardy, it "explored fresh fields and pastures new" both in matter and manner. The traditional novel, set up by Richardson and Fielding was transformed and developed into new forms. The closer approximation of life to literature led to the dominant tendency of realism. The novel became a reflection of contemporary life in various aspects-social, political, economic, religious, etc. A new type was the autobiographical novel in which Dickens became an adept. The historical novel in the hand of Thackeray achieved a remarkable success and showed much improvement on the methods of Scott. Esmond is a great historical novel. The scerne is laid in the times of Queen Anne. The style and atmosphere of the bygone days are reproduced here with extraordinary accuracy and minuteness of details. In reading it we are made to feel that we are living in the time it recreates.

      One remarkable product of the prose of the time is Lecture'. Carlyle, Thackeray Dickens and many others published their lectures in book form. Heroes and Hero Worship and The English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century are most famous. Ruskin gave a distinct style and manner to the lecture. Cardinal Newman's famous Idea of a University is a good example of lecture having literary finish and beauty. The historians of the age are no less remarkable. Their: works, which avoided literary manners of Carlyle and Macaulay, were, the results of patient and laborious research and made valuable additions to human knowledge of history.

      In the matter of style, Tennyson showed a great mastery of art; Browning was mannered and obscure; Arnold was classical in dignity and finish and studied simplicity. In prose Carlyle and Macaulay developed invividual styles. The styles of Ruskin and Newman are vigorous, ornate and full of verve. The novelists. on the whole wrote in a middling style, almost journalistic, though each gave a distinct stamp to it by peculiarly individualistic qualities.

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