The Victorians laid the foundations for much of modern Britain. Yet their ideas about the problems of society often seem a world away from modernity. How did the Victorians think about life, death, democracy, science, race, politics and the past? We will examine the Victorian mind, in all its familiarity and difference.
Themes on the course include:
Victorian ideas of the afterlife, spiritualism, and the 'celebration of death'.
Attitudes towards democracy, and why democracy was delayed by Britain's politicians.
Ideas of race, and how British people understood the inhabitants of the empire.
The Victorian understanding of the past, and the beginnings of 'heritage' culture.
The crisis of faith, and the growth of scientific rationalism.
Victorian ideas of industry, money and what industry meant for Britain's image.
Gender relations, and the place of women in society.