Times of Change in British Literature
British literature from 1785 through the WWI era was characterized by change, reform and progress. The Romantic Period was an era of "boundless revolutionary hope" and "radical individualism" according to our textbook. Individuals prided themselves in pushing the envelop of social norms and standards. Science, philosophy and psychology were prominent in the Victorian Age. People challenged tradition as well as social norms. And finally in the WWI Era people began to evaluate life on a realistic level.
Within these three time periods we saw the foundations being laid for some of the most influential and radical reforms tale place. The change in values and roles is reflected in the literature of those days. In the Romantic Period, Mary Wollstonecraft began to champion for women's rights and equality. In the Victorian Age, Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution and challenged the authority of the Church.
And in the WWI Era, authors such as Chinua Achebe depicted the sadness of racism and its effects on the cultures it touched. These three reformative movements have been prevalent all over the world since their foundings, and the authors mentioned, turned their worlds upside down when the issues were first introduced.
During the Romantic Period, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote several essays and novels in outspoken candidness responding to opinions of her day. One such response was her A Vindication of the Rights of Men, which attacked Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, published in 1790. In this work, Wollstonecraft details the suffering of the lower classes and the cruelty of those in power. Later she penned her A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, which spoke out against gender inequality. According to our textbook, this work was "unprecedented in its firsthand observations of the disabilities...