The Age of Reading

In the Victorian Era (pg 1066-1068)


-Publishing became a major industry in this time era.

-97% of the people were able to read by 1900 (men AND women).

-Very high intelligence in the Victorian Age

-"...many of today's classics were best-sellers then."

-Photographs replaced hand-drawn works.

-Tastes differed among class, income, and education.

-The middle class was the majority of the readers and some of the writers.

-Series of novels were invented during this time peiod.

-Golden age of the English novel

-Authors now had to make each part of their novels interesting so people would continue

buying and reading them.

-Authors had to censor the content of their writings.

-Publishers and libraries could take out anything that they thought was inappropriate.

-The press was "creator, shaper, and transmitter of public opinion," much like today.

-Authors were thought of as heroes.

-The public looked to the major authors for guidance.

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"Mariana" - Sir John Everett Millais

-Tennyson's poem "Mariana" inspired this

-The painting had two lines saying she is alone and weary.

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"Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket"- James McNeill Whistler

Whistler opposed mainstream Victorian art. The painting is fireworks exploding over the Cremome Gardens amusement park.
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"The Awakening Conscience" -William Holman Hunt

A mistress and her lover have been singing at the piano when she has a spiritual revelation. She realizes it's not too late to change her ways.

Series of Books

Authors began inflating prices, so readers began renting books from libraries. This required authors to publish their novels in "three deckers." This tripled rental fees and let three readers read the same novel at the same time. Readers could also buy "numbers" of a book. The numbers would come out in monthly publications. Dicken's Pidwick Papers had tremendous success with this.

Serializing novels impacted the way authors wrote. Readers became much more involved in the writing by telling the author which character they wanted to see more of and possibly giving ideas for part of the plot. Authors listened to the readers because they had to keep their books interesting. If readers became disenterested in the story they would not go out and buy or rent the next one. Through serialization, authors became heroes to their audiences. Readers sought their favorite authors for guidance in many aspects of life.

Works Cited

Damrosch, David and Kevin J.H. Dettmar. Eds. "The Age of Reading." The Longman

Anthology British Literature Volume Two. Fourth Edition. Boston: Longman, 2010.

1066-1068. Print.