Category Archive: Historical/Social Context

Good Horse Sense: Swift and the Houyhnhnm

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by Horace T. Palomino In the fourth part of Johnathon Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels,” we read of Gulliver’s encounter with the Houyhnhnms and the Yahoos. The Houyhnhnms, in Swift’s work, are a race of… Continue reading

Accusing Guenevere

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“The Defence of Guenevere” by William Morris is a poem detailing King Arthur’s wife’s defense against the accusation of adultery by Arthur’s nephew Gauwaine.  Gauwaine, or Gawain, as his name is spelled in… Continue reading

The Strange Case of Robert Louis Stevenson and Deacon Brodie: Exploring the Inspiration for Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde

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Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde, is a true psychological thriller, and brilliantly encompasses the idea of Victorian era duality. However, upon delving deep into the inspiration for… Continue reading

Exploring Jonathan Swift’s Motive and Attitude toward Women in “A Lady’s Dressing Room”

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The motive behind Jonathan Swift’s poem, “A Lady’s Dressing Room” has long been debated. Most interpretations, past and present, rely on the belief that Swift, himself, was a misogynist, and for good reason.… Continue reading

It’s Not You, It’s God: Christina Rossetti’s Relationship with Religion and Its Subsequent Role in her Poetry

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I. INTRODUCTION Setting: 20th century Mont-Blanc retreat. Four reincarnated Romantic and Victorian poets are climbing the summit of the mountain, talking amongst themselves. Elizabeth Barrett (Not-Yet) Browning: So, like, this guy keeps sending… Continue reading

The Strange Case of the Id, the Ego, and the Superego: Jekyll and Hyde as the Unconscious Mind

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While R. L. Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published a few years prior to Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytic theory, it bears a strong resemblance to his explanation of… Continue reading

The Rossetti’s Forbidden Desires

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  Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” exposes the ideas and looks placed on women while also combining shocking concepts for that time.  Within the poem the reader will clearly see the sexual tones being used… Continue reading

Remembering Belinda

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This meme is in reference to “The Rape of the Lock” by Alexander Pope and used V for Vendetta to illustrate the importance and huge impact The Baron created by cutting off a… Continue reading

Lord Byron: The Man, The Myth, The Legend

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  The Byronic hero is commonly described as arrogant and isolated, while also being seductive and mysterious. Part of the character’s mystery is usually due to their hidden, dark past. Our modern Byronic… Continue reading

Satire: From Swift to Southpark

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A look into the similarities of satirical responses to national problems from Swift and South Park.

People as a Commodity in “A Modest Proposal”

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“A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift is often regarded as one of the most powerful political essays in literature, and yet, not one word of the piece was written as explicit political advice.… Continue reading

Her Body, His Choice: Rape Culture and 18th Century Literature

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It is a woman’s body, so it should be her choice as to what happens to it, right? Well historically, this has not been the case. This is not a new occurrence, as… Continue reading

CONTINUED CHANGE: SPOTLIGHT ON THE LATE/EARLY 1800 WOMAN

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Mary Wollstonecraft: Context Category Can one voice challenge the thoughts of a crowd and bring hope for change? For one thing, women have been wishing  for rights way past the creation of Wollstonecraft’s… Continue reading

The Ignorance involved in Praising Aesthetics- As seen in Jonathan Swift’s “The Lady’s Dressing Room”

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“John, you should go and play with Sally. She is pretty cute.” “Why don’t you like her? I think she is adorable.” “Sally is pretty hot man, I’d hang out with her.” “Who… Continue reading

“FOOLS ARE MY THEME, LET SATIRE BE MY SONG”

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“I believe that the government that governs best is a government that governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.” Stephen Colbert Johnathan Swift couldn’t have said… Continue reading

The French Revolution and its Influence on Mary Wollstonecraft’s Opinions on Educational Rights

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During the late 1700’s the place currently known for their pastries, love, and the Eiffel tower underwent a radical social and political revolution. This revolution was known as the French Revolution that last… Continue reading

The Industrial Revolution as an Antithesis to Romantic Poetry

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The Industrial Revolution had the most significant effect on Romantic poetry because it served as a direct antithesis to the poet’s subject matter during that time. The Industrial Revolution directly correlated with the… Continue reading

Sort-of Based on a True Story: Robinson Crusoe

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  Daniel Dafoe based Robinson Crusoe’s survival on the genuine Alexander Selkirk and used the marooned privateer to add creditability and marketing to his novel. The story is almost entirely truth-based including Crusoe’s… Continue reading

A Christmas Carol: The Political Backstory

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Charles Dickens is a character much loved for his great contribution to English literature in the Victorian era. His thrilling stories, vivid characters and exhaustive depiction of contemporary life in the mid 1800s… Continue reading

Underlying Themes of Christianity in “Goblin Market”

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Beneath the rich language and suggestive imagery in Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” exists a strong parallel to Christianity; more specifically─ the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Though the… Continue reading

“Franken-Shelley” Autobiography?

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Everyone knows the classic tell of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; “In trying to create life, young student Victor Frankenstein unleashes forces beyond his control, setting into motion a long and tragic chain of events… Continue reading

The Study of Anatomy within Frankenstein

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Through the novel of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, we learn that the process that Victor goes through to get the body of his creation is almost over looked, rather not explained. The point… Continue reading

A Christmas Conversion

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  Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a beloved Christmas classic, but underneath the simple moral messages of the novella, are deep and sometimes disturbing themes and agendas. It’s no doubt that the… Continue reading

Jekyll in the Flesh: The Dual Mind in Victorian Englad

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Following the 1886 publication of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, author Robert Louis Stevenson maintained that the inspiration for what is now his most famous story was self-generated; the product of… Continue reading

The Great Social Evil (or, “Render up your body or die”)

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I’d like extend our class discussion about “fallen women” to certain social contexts that relate to, and frame, that concept. In particular, I’d like to look at a three Victorian documents dealing with… Continue reading

Keats’ Consumption and the Poetry Produced

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            La Belle Dame Sans Mercy is a poem wrapped around the concept of a luring death, a coming death. This is, along with much of Keats poetry,… Continue reading

Percy Shelley’s Ode to Agricultural Reform

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  From the poets of the Romantic era Percy Shelley is considered one of the most radical. Shelley was defined by his personal beliefs, which made both him and his poetry notorious, like… Continue reading

What was Barbauld really talking about?

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Anna Letitia Barbauld’s “Epistle to William Wilberforce, Esq.  On the Rejection of the Bill for Abolishing the Slave Trade” is a text that expresses ideals and emotions present in late 18th century. Abolition… Continue reading

Shelley’s Not-so-Secret Love of Science

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                Alongside these technological and social developments were the Evangelical revival, the expansion of the English middle class and the French Revolution.  The growth of the… Continue reading

Mary Prince and Slavery

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  In 1831 Mary Prince’s story was published. Prince was born on a slave farm in Bermuda. Bermuda at this time was a British colony where half the population was slave. The major… Continue reading

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