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Alcott, Louisa May
Thoreau, Henry David
About Victorian Literature
The Victorian period is often regarded as a high point in literary history, generating a wealth of material that is still regarded as canonical as well as a diverse range of literary genres. This period, which encompasses the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901, produced a large number of prominent authors such as Charles Dickens, the Brontë sisters, and Oscar Wilde, and witnessed a huge expansion in the literary market (partly because of the rise in literacy).
The Victorian era was highly conscious of its own relation to the past – its ‘heritage’ or place in history – but it also sensed its role in shaping the future. For modern readers, it has come to represent both our literary past and the beginnings of modernity as we experience it today. Although the study of Victorian literature has a rich and well established critical literature, it remains a highly active field due to its popularity with students and researchers alike, and is constantly responding to the regular emergence of new interpretations and theoretical ideas.
In addition to this extensive body of scholarship, the study of Victorian literature has been quick to move online so that today’s students and researchers have ready access to key primary source texts and a range of other electronic resources.
This editorial excerpt is borrowed from the Oxford University Press website at http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/page/victorian-literature.