Spirit Of The Age Victorian Essays

The Spirit of the Age: Victorian Essays3.43 · Rating details ·  7 Ratings  ·  2 Reviews

None of the stereotypes of Victorian England—narrow-minded, inhibited, moralistic, complacent—prepares us for the vitality, variety, and above all extraordinary quality of intellectual life displayed in this volume of essays. Selected and annotated by Gertrude Himmelfarb, a distinguished historian of Victorian thought, the writings address a wide range of subjects—religionNone of the stereotypes of Victorian England—narrow-minded, inhibited, moralistic, complacent—prepares us for the vitality, variety, and above all extraordinary quality of intellectual life displayed in this volume of essays. Selected and annotated by Gertrude Himmelfarb, a distinguished historian of Victorian thought, the writings address a wide range of subjects—religion, politics, history, science, art, socialism, and feminism—by eminent figures of the era, including Carlyle, Mill, Macaulay, Dickens, Eliot, Thackeray, Newman, Arnold, and Wilde. The selections reflect what Himmelfarb terms “the spirit of the age”—contentious as well as earnest, given to high aspirations and convictions, and at the same time subject to deep anxieties and doubts.



The Victorians, undisputed masters of the long, serious essay, found the genre congenial to the expression of their most compelling and provocative views. This volume offers a representative sampling of essays from the early, middle, and late Victorian periods, each accompanied by an introductory note. Himmelfarb also introduces the volume with two enlightening essays, one on the evolving spirit of the age, and the other on the essay as a genre and on the important periodicals that attracted such a large and engaged audience....more

Paperback, 336 pages

Published April 14th 2009 by Yale University Press (first published November 5th 2007)

Tennyson's Ulysses as a Victorian Role Model Essay

2158 Words9 Pages

Ulysses as a Victorian Role Model

Ulysses is a classical hero who reappears in the literary work of great poets such as Homer and Tennyson. During the Victorian era, Alfred Lord Tennyson was one of the most famous poets in England, he even held Britain’s prestigious position of Poet Laureate. Tennyson began writing during a period in which duty and conformity were traits that distinguished the middle class from the lower class. In a two-volume collection of “Poems,” Tennyson writes “Ulysses” after the death of a close friend, Arthur Henry Hallam. Hallam inspired the character Ulysses, while the loss of the special friendship influenced the tone of the piece. The Ancient Greek hero describes his loathing of regal position and desire to…show more content…

Ulysses desires to begin a new journey, a journey for the knowledge of things that he has not before seen, heard, nor dreamed. The last stanza of the poem is Ulysses attempt to strengthen his crew’s spirit. Ulysses admits that they all are growing old, but he says there is still honor and work to be done at an old age. He and his crew have become a unified spirit of courage. That spirit may have been made weak by time and fate, but they have held to their resolve to accomplish whatever they strive for. The most important thing to Ulysses is for his crew to never give up, never loose their desire “to strive, to seek, to find” (Tennyson 70). With help from the form and language of the poem, Tennyson is able to directly express Ulysses inconsistent mood brought upon by his return home. “Ulysses” was written as a dramatic monologue in iambic pentameter, which adds a elegant and unconstrained flow to Ulysses speech. The lines are in blank verse, probably used since the basic story is derived from epics, allowing Ulysses’ speech to sound more smooth and natural. His thoughts do not end with each full line. Rather, the sentences often end in the middle, appropriate for this poem about pushing forward “beyond the utmost bound of human thought” (Tennyson 32). The poem is divided into three sections, each with its own theme. The first is about his hunger and thirst for life, the second about the love for his son,

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