In my first blogpost, I wrote about being excited to learn about the characteristics of Victorian literature–the what that this literature is made up of. Before coming into this class, my idea of Victorian literature was that of only romance and trivial things that didn’t really interest me, things I couldn’t really connect with. After reading works by many different authors during this time period and on an array of topics, my opinion changed drastically. I realized that I had only been exposed to less than a fraction of all Victorian literature and that these works tackled some important and very interesting topics. We read works that dealt with religion, science, the portrayal of women, grief, identity, love, violence, and so much more. It’s honestly funny to me how much I thought I couldn’t connect to the topics in Victorian literature because now I see so many connections in my own life, the lives of those around me, and just humanity in general.
I think my favorite piece we read this semester was In Memoriam by Tennyson. I thoroughly enjoyed not only reading this poem about grief, remembrance, and the value of writing, but also our discussions in class. Seeing grief grappled with by someone else that lived many years before me made me feel less alone. That has been the most interesting and rewarding part of this class–seeing these feelings and topics discussed by people in the past to remind me that these feelings, not just grief, are universal and connecting. Victorian literature doesn’t have to be about silly romance and trivialities, it can be about the connecting feelings every human has. So while I did learn some of the characteristics that makes Victorian literature up like class, race, gender, progress, science vs religion, and identity, the one characteristic I was grateful to see was us–humans and their universal longings and feelings.