Making Progress? Literature in a Changing Environment (EASM099)
The perception of history as one of continual progress, enlightenment and improvement was one of the most powerful narratives of the nineteenth century. The myth of progress underpinned a wide variety of changes in the Victorian period, including, among others, the economic conditions of commercial growth; the Woman Question; financial prosperity and surplus goods; the global conditions of imperial expansion; attitudes to nature and the environment; the impact of new technologies and industrialization; and the theory of evolution. Making Progress explores the contrasting ways in which Victorian writers defined and responded to this narrative of progress and to a culture that was changing spectacularly around them.