Prior to this class, I tended to avoid Victorian Literature like the plague. I’m not totally sure why; maybe I always associated it with intolerable run-on sentences, or maybe it was PTSD from high school English classes? Either way, I never gave Victorian lit a fair shot- something I now regret. Victorian literature is not the dull, frivolous, one-note thing I once thought it was. It is history, it can be exciting, and none of it is quite the same. I read both Wuthering Heights and Great Expectations in high school. And I hated both Wuthering Heights and Great Expectations in high school. But rereading them, despite my initial dread, I found them infinitely more interesting. I think something that was key to this, particularly to Great Expectations, was understanding how the story fit into the context of the era. I had never thought to consider things like Darwin and evolution, or prison reform, or anything like that when reading these stories. I think perhaps Victorian literature is misunderstood. It is not isolated narratives of the wealthy aristocrats in fancy clothes, it is much more socially conscious and relevant than you would initially think. That is what I found the most interesting about Victorian literature.
Reshaping my understanding of Victorian lit
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