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Victorian literature

            In the mid-Victorian period women have been represented in many different ways, using various forms of literature, for example through poetry, novels, and newspaper articles and also in visual form through paintings and etchings, they show how women were represented, how fathers, husbands and society treated them in general. The mid-Victorian period is classified as being around 1851-1870, a period of "intense and prolific activity in literature, especially by novelists and poets, philosophers and essayists," (The Critical Poet). .
             Unlike the earlier romantic 19th century novels of Jane Austen whose characters such as Elizabeth Bennett lived happily ever after, Victorian novelist George Eliot, broke the tradition of the standard romantic novel by representing women in unhappy relationships and the reality and problems of the woman's role in life and their place in society, this is particularly evident in her realist novel Middlemarch.
             Another example of the way women were represented in the mid-Victorian period is in poetry such as Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott" who is bound by the web she weaved within the confines of "Four gray walls and four gray towers", (p755, line 15, Romantic Period Verse), but once she broke free from the web to join the "delights" and the "magic sights", to follow Sir Lancelot, (lines 64, 65), her fate was sealed and she cried "The curse is come upon me", (line 116), as she is led to her death.
             Art critic, and writer John Ruskin wrote the article Sesame and Lilies, it is a primary source published in 1865 to use as a lecture, which was given in Manchester on December 6, 1864. Deborah Epstein-Nord described in her edition of Sesame and Lilies that it is a "classic nineteenth-century statement on the natures and duties of men and women", (Epstein-Nord, 2002). Ruskin's account of how the Victorian women should behave can be seen as the "conservative ideal of Victorian womanhood", (The Norton Anthology of English Literature).

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