Week 11

Week 11: Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Victoria and Prince Albert

Alexandria Victoria (24 May 1819-22 January 1901) and Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel (26 August 1819 – 14 December 1861) were married just over 20 years and had nine children together (five daughters and four sons).  Prince Albert was the love of the Queen's life.  He was also her first cousin, since his father and her mother were siblings and were both German.   Albert sought Victoria's attention from afar for years--even before she was crowned queen at the age of 18.   After a couple of in person visits, she eventually became smitten with him and decided to propose to him.  She had to do the proposing because she was then the queen.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were known for having a rocky love affair.  First there was the queen's fiery temper.  Then there were her mixed feelings about being a mother and needing to rely on her husband to keep up her duties as sovereign. Nonetheless, their bond grew incredibly strong over the years, and the queen was launched into an intense and protracted state of sorrow upon Prince Albert's death in 1861--at a mere 42 years of age.

RECOMMENDED READING

This wonderful book by Christopher Hibbert will be useful to us all year. Hibbert is one of greatest "popular" historians, meaning that he writes books you want to read. Many of you have used his great one-volume history of the Medici as well as his excellent History of Rome, History of Florence, and History of Venice.Many of us used his excellent biography of Mussolini last year in the Modern Italy class. IN this book, Hibbert takes us all through Victorian society. We have not made it "required" but we are sure you will enjoy it if you buy it and read it.

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

Gillian Gill,

We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals,

Ballantine Books (November 30, 2009),

ISBN 0345520017

12

Week 12: Tuesday, January 12, 2021
The Revolutions of 1848

The Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, People's Spring, Springtime of the Peoples, or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It remains the most widespread revolutionary wave in European history.

The revolutions were essentially democratic and liberal in nature, with the aim of removing the old monarchical structures and creating independent national states. The first revolution began in January in Sicily. Revolutions then spread across Europe after a separate revolution began in France in February. Over 50 countries were affected, but with no coordination or cooperation among their respective revolutionaries. According to Evans and von Strandmann (2000), some of the major contributing factors were widespread dissatisfaction with political leadership, demands for more participation in government and democracy, demands for freedom of press, other demands made by the working class, the upsurge of nationalism, and the regrouping of established governmental forces.

The uprisings were led by shaky ad hoc coalitions of reformers, the middle classes and workers, which did not hold together for long. Tens of thousands of people were killed, and many more forced into exile. Significant lasting reforms included the abolition of serfdom in Austria and Hungary, the end of absolute monarchy in Denmark, and the introduction of representative democracy in the Netherlands. The revolutions were most important in France, the Netherlands, the states of the German Confederation that would make up the German Empire in the late 19th and early 20th century, Italy, and the Austrian Empire. (Wikipedia)

RECOMMENDED READING

This wonderful book by Christopher Hibbert will be useful to us all year. Hibbert is one of greatest "popular" historians, meaning that he writes books you want to read. Many of you have used his great one-volume history of the Medici as well as his excellent History of Rome, History of Florence, and History of Venice.Many of us used his excellent biography of Mussolini last year in the Modern Italy class. IN this book, Hibbert takes us all through Victorian society. We have not made it "required" but we are sure you will enjoy it if you buy it and read it.

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

Gillian Gill,

We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals,

Ballantine Books (November 30, 2009),

ISBN 0345520017

Mike Rapport,

1848: Year of Revolution,

Basic Books; Reprint edition (October 19, 2010),

ISBN 0465020674

13

Week 13: Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Charles Dickens

Charles John Huffam Dickens (/ˈdɪkɪnz/; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the 20th century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories enjoy lasting popularity. Born in Portsmouth, Dickens left school to work in a factory when his father was incarcerated in a debtors' prison. Despite his lack of formal education, he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children's rights, education, and other social reforms. Dickens's literary success began with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humor, satire, and keen observation of character and society. His novels, most published in monthly or weekly installments, pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication. The installment format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience's reaction, and he often modified his plot and character development based on such feedback. For example, when his wife's chiropodist expressed distress at the way Miss Mowcher in David Copperfield seemed to reflect her disabilities, Dickens improved the character with positive features. His plots were carefully constructed, and he often wove elements from topical events into his narratives. Masses of the illiterate poor chipped in ha'pennies to have each new monthly episode read to them, opening up and inspiring a new class of readers. Dickens was regarded as the literary colossus of his age. His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Oliver Twist and Great Expectations are also frequently adapted, and, like many of his novels, evoke images of early Victorian London. His 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris, is his best-known work of historical fiction. Dickens has been praised by fellow writers—from Leo Tolstoy to George Orwell and G. K. Chesterton—for his realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism. On the other hand, Oscar Wilde, Henry James, and Virginia Woolf complained of a lack of psychological depth, loose writing, and a vein of saccharine sentimentalism. The term Dickensian is used to describe something that is reminiscent of Dickens and his writings, such as poor social conditions or comically repulsive characters. (Wikipedia)

REQUIRED READING

Charles Dickens,

Great Expectations,

Penguin Classics; Revised edition (December 31, 2002),

ISBN 0141439564

RECOMMENDED READING

This wonderful book by Christopher Hibbert will be useful to us all year. Hibbert is one of greatest "popular" historians, meaning that he writes books you want to read. Many of you have used his great one-volume history of the Medici as well as his excellent History of Rome, History of Florence, and History of Venice.Many of us used his excellent biography of Mussolini last year in the Modern Italy class. IN this book, Hibbert takes us all through Victorian society. We have not made it "required" but we are sure you will enjoy it if you buy it and read it.

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

Claire Tomalin,

Charles Dickens: A Life,

Penguin Books; Reprint edition (October 30, 2012),

ISBN 9780143122050

14

Week 14: Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Great Expectations

Great Expectations is the thirteenth novel by Charles Dickens and his penultimate completed novel; a bildungsroman that depicts the personal growth and personal development of an orphan nicknamed Pip. It is Dickens's second novel, after David Copperfield, to be fully narrated in the first person. The novel was first published as a serial in Dickens' weekly periodical All the Year Round, from 1 December 1860 to August 1861. In October 1861, Chapman and Hall published the novel in three volumes. The novel is set in Kent and London in the early to mid-19th century and contains some of Dickens's most memorable scenes, including the opening in a graveyard, where the young Pip is accosted by the escaped convict, Abel Magwitch. Great Expectations is full of extreme imagery of poverty, prison ships and chains, and fights to the death—and has a colorful cast of characters who have entered popular culture. These include the eccentric Miss Havisham, the beautiful but cold Estella, and Joe, the unsophisticated and kind blacksmith. Dickens's themes include wealth and poverty, love and rejection, and the eventual triumph of good over evil. Great Expectations, which is popular both with readers and literary critics, has been translated into many languages and adapted numerous times into various media. Upon its release, the novel received near universal acclaim. Although Dickens's contemporary Thomas Carlyle referred to it disparagingly as that "Pip nonsense," he nevertheless reacted to each fresh installment with "roars of laughter." Later, George Bernard Shaw praised the novel, as "All of one piece and consistently truthful." During the serial publication, Dickens was pleased with public response to Great Expectations and its sales; when the plot first formed in his mind, he called it "a very fine, new and grotesque idea." (Wikipedia)

REQUIRED READING

Charles Dickens,

Great Expectations,

Penguin Classics; Revised edition (December 31, 2002),

ISBN 0141439564

 

15

Week 15: Tuesday, February 2, 2021
The Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and plate-glass structure originally built in Hyde Park, London, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. More than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in its 990,000-square-foot (92,000 m2) exhibition space to display examples of technology developed in the Industrial Revolution. Designed by Joseph Paxton, the Great Exhibition building was 1,851 feet (564 m) long, with an interior height of 128 feet (39 m). It was three times larger than the size of St Paul's Cathedral. The introduction of the sheet glass method into Britain by Chance Brothers in 1832 made possible the production of large sheets of cheap but strong glass, and its use in the Crystal Palace created a structure with the greatest area of glass ever seen in a building and astonished visitors with its clear walls and ceilings that did not require interior lights. It has been suggested that the name of the building resulted from a piece penned by the playwright Douglas Jerrold, who in July 1850 wrote in the satirical magazine Punch about the forthcoming Great Exhibition, referring to a "palace of very crystal". After the exhibition, it was decided to relocate the Palace to an area of South London known as Penge Common. It was rebuilt at the top of Penge Peak next to Sydenham Hill, an affluent suburb of large villas. It stood there from 1854 until its destruction by fire in 1936. The nearby residential area was renamed Crystal Palace after the famous landmark including the park that surrounds the site, home of the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, which had previously been a football stadium that hosted the FA Cup Final between 1895 and 1914. Crystal Palace F.C. were founded at the site in 1905 and played at the Cup Final venue in their early years. The park still contains Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins's Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, which date back to 1854. In 2013 a Chinese developer proposed to re-build the Crystal Palace but the developer's sixteen-month exclusivity agreement with Bromley council to develop its plans was cancelled when it expired in February 2015. (Wikipedia)

REQUIRED READING

Charles Dickens,

Great Expectations,

Penguin Classics; Revised edition (December 31, 2002),

ISBN 0141439564

16

Week 16: Tuesday, February 9, 2021
The Crimean War

(Wikipedia) The Crimean War (French: Guerre de Crimée; Russian: Кры́мская война́ Krymskaya voina or Восто́чная война́ Vostochnaya voina("Eastern War"); Turkish: Kırım Savaşı; Italian: Guerra di Crimea; English: Crimean War) was a military conflict fought from October 1853 to February 1856 in which the Russian Empire lost to an alliance of the Ottoman Empire, France, Britain and Sardinia. The immediate cause involved the rights of Christian minorities in the Holy Land, which was a part of the Ottoman Empire. The French promoted the rights of Roman Catholics, while Russia promoted those of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The longer-term causes involved the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the unwillingness of Britain and France to allow Russia to gain territory and power at Ottoman expense. It has widely been noted that the causes, in one case involving an argument over a key, have never revealed a "greater confusion of purpose", yet led to a war noted for its "notoriously incompetent international butchery".

While the churches eventually worked out their differences and came to an agreement, Nicholas I of Russia and the French Emperor Napoleon III refused to back down. Nicholas issued an ultimatum that the Orthodox subjects of the Empire be placed under his protection. Britain attempted to mediate and arranged a compromise that Nicholas agreed to. When the Ottomans demanded changes, Nicholas refused and prepared for war. Having obtained promises of support from France and Britain, the Ottomans declared war on Russia in October 1853.

The war started in the Balkans, where in July 1853 Russian troops occupied the Danubian Principalities, (part of modern Romania) which were under Ottoman suzerainty, then began to cross the Danube. Led by Omar Pasha, the Ottomans fought a strong defensive campaign and stopped the advance at Silistra. A separate action on the fort town of Kars in eastern Anatolia led to a siege, and a Turkish attempt to reinforce the garrison was destroyed by a Russian fleet at Sinop. Fearing an Ottoman collapse, France and Britain rushed forces to Gallipoli. They then moved north to Varna in June, arriving just in time for the Russians to abandon Silistra. Aside from a minor skirmish at Köstence (today Constanța), there was little for the allies to do. Karl Marx quipped, "there they are, the French doing nothing and the British helping them as fast as possible".

Frustrated by the wasted effort, and with demands for action from their citizens, the allied force decided to attack Russia's main naval base in the Black Sea at Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula. After extended preparations, the forces landed on the peninsula in September 1854 and marched their way to a point south of Sevastopol after the successful Battle of the Alma. The Russians counterattacked on 25 October in what became the Battle of Balaclava and were repulsed, but at the cost of seriously depleting the British Army forces. A second counterattack, at Inkerman, ended in stalemate. The front settled into a siege and led to brutal conditions for troops on both sides. Smaller actions were carried out in the Baltic, the Caucasus, the White Sea and in the North Pacific.

Sevastopol fell after eleven months, and neutral countries began to join the Allied cause. Isolated and facing a bleak prospect of invasion from the west if the war continued, Russia sued for peace in March 1856. This was welcomed by France and Britain, as their subjects were beginning to turn against their governments as the war dragged on. The war was ended by the Treaty of Paris, signed on 30 March 1856. Russia was forbidden from hosting warships in the Black Sea. The Ottoman vassal states of Wallachia and Moldavia became largely independent. Christians there were granted a degree of official equality, and the Orthodox Church regained control of the Christian churches in dispute.

The Crimean War was one of the first conflicts to use modern technologies such as explosive naval shells, railways and telegraphs.

 

RECOMMENDED READING

Hugh Small,

The Crimean War: Queen Victoria's War with the Russian Tsars,

Tempus Publishing, Limited (March 1, 2014),

ISBN 0752443887

17

Week 17: Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale (May 1820 – August 1910) was an English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. She came to prominence while serving as a manager of nurses trained by her during the Crimean War, where she organized the tending to wounded soldiers. She gave nursing a highly favorable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture, especially in the persona of "The Lady with the Lamp" making rounds of wounded soldiers at night. . . . Historians agree on the decisive importance of her follow-up achievements in professionalizing nursing roles for women. In 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas' Hospital in London. It was the first secular nursing school in the world, now part of King's College London. In recognition of her pioneering work in nursing, the Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses, and the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve, were named in her honor, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on her birthday. Her social reforms include improving healthcare for all sections of British society, advocating better hunger relief in India, helping to abolish prostitution laws that were over-harsh to women, and expanding the acceptable forms of female participation in the workforce. Nightingale was a prodigious and versatile writer. In her lifetime, much of her published work was concerned with spreading medical knowledge. Some of her tracts were written in simple English so that they could easily be understood by those with poor literary skills. She also helped popularize the graphical presentation of statistical data. Much of her writing, including her extensive work on religion and mysticism, has only been published posthumously. (Wikipedia)

 

RECOMMENDED READING

Hugh Small,

The Crimean War: Queen Victoria's War with the Russian Tsars,

Tempus Publishing, Limited (March 1, 2014),

ISBN 0752443887

18

Week 18: Tuesday, February 23, 2021
John Stuart Mill

Why is John Stuart Mill so important?
Here is a quotation from a brilliant essay on Mill by Isaiah Berlin entitled John Stuart Mill and the Ends of Life:
"Mill is not interested in actuarial calculations. At the center of his thought and feeling lies, not his utilitarianism, nor the concern about enlightenment, nor about dividing the private from the public domain—but his attempt to fuse rationalism and romanticism; the aim of Goethe and Humboldt; a rich, spontaneous, many-sided, fearless, free, and yet rational, self-directed character. He perceived something profound and essential about the destructive effect of man's most successful efforts at self-improvement in modern society."

Berlin alerts us to the extraordinary insight of Mill as he lived through the mid-nineteenth century and contended with the two conflicting visions of the previous 100 years: Enlightenment Rationalism and Romantic emotionalism. This was the great debate of Voltaire and Rousseau. But now in 1850 you added trains and coal.

John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 8 May 1873) was an English philosopher, political economist and civil servant. One of the most influential thinkers in the history of liberalism, he contributed widely to social theory, political theory and political economy. Dubbed "the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century", Mill's conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control. Mill was a proponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by his predecessor Jeremy Bentham, and contributed significantly to the theory of the scientific method. A member of the Liberal Party, he was also the first Member of Parliament to call for women's suffrage.

 

RECOMMENDED READING

Richard Reeves,

John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand,

Atlantic Books; Main edition (September 1, 2008),

ISBN 1843546442

RECOMMENDED READING

John Stuart Mill,

On Liberty and the Subjection of Women,

Penguin Classics; 1 edition (April 24, 2007),

ISBN 014144147X

19

Week 19: Tuesday, March 2, 2021
The Victorians and Electricity

The Victorians "discovered" electricity. The word went all the way back to the Greeks, and various scientists through the centuries saw electrical static and imagined its power. But it was Benjamin Franklin with his famous kite experiment who begins to really understand the potential power of this mysterious explosion. In the Nineteenth Century two Victorians, Michael Faraday and Maxwell advance our modern understanding of electricity.

(Wikipedia) Michael Faraday(1791–1867)was an English scientist who contributed to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. His main discoveries include the principles underlying electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis. Although Faraday received little formal education, he was one of the most influential scientists in history. It was by his research on the magnetic field around a conductor carrying a direct current that Faraday established the basis for the concept of the electromagnetic field in physics. Faraday also established that magnetism could affect rays of light and that there was an underlying relationship between the two phenomena. He similarly discovered the principles of electromagnetic induction and diamagnetism, and the laws of electrolysis. His inventions of electromagnetic rotary devices formed the foundation of electric motor technology, and it was largely due to his efforts that electricity became practical for use in technology. Faraday was an excellent experimentalist who conveyed his ideas in clear and simple language; his mathematical abilities, however, did not extend as far as trigonometry and were limited to the simplest algebra. James Clerk Maxwell took the work of Faraday and others and summarized it in a set of equations which is accepted as the basis of all modern theories of electromagnetic phenomena. On Faraday's uses of lines of force, Maxwell wrote that they show Faraday "to have been in reality a mathematician of a very high order – one from whom the mathematicians of the future may derive valuable and fertile methods." Albert Einstein kept a picture of Faraday on his study wall, alongside pictures of Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell. Physicist Ernest Rutherford stated, "When we consider the magnitude and extent of his discoveries and their influence on the progress of science and of industry, there is no honour too great to pay to the memory of Faraday, one of the greatest scientific discoverers of all time."

RECOMMENDED READING

Alan W. Hirshfeld,

The Electric Life of Michael Faraday,

Walker Books; First Edition edition (March 7, 2006),

ISBN 0802714706

John Gribbin,

The Scientists: A History of Science Told Through the Lives of Its Greatest Inventors,

Random House Trade Paperbacks,

ISBN 0812967887

Richard Holmes,

The Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror of Science,

Vintage; 1st edition (March 2, 2010),

ISBN 1400031877

20

Week 20: Tuesday, March 9, 2021
Albert Gone, Victoria Alone

On December 14, 1861, Queen Victoria lost her lover, husband, and trusted consort, Prince Albert, at the relatively young age of 42. The consensus is that the immediate cause of death was typhoid fever, though there has been much speculation that he also suffered from one or more chronic conditions that had put him in poor health for a couple of years prior to his death. The fact that his death was anticipated in no way seems to have lessened the profound blow to his companion, the Queen. She wore black the rest of her extensive life and insisted that her husband's quarters be maintained as they were when he was alive. Unfortunately, her immense grief in some ways impeded her ability to continue the legacy that Prince Albert had sought to achieve in terms of the royal family being a public example of morality, since she largely withdrew into seclusion.

RECOMMENDED READING

This wonderful book by Christopher Hibbert will be useful to us all year. Hibbert is one of greatest "popular" historians, meaning that he writes books you want to read. Many of you have used his great one-volume history of the Medici as well as his excellent History of Rome, History of Florence, and History of Venice.Many of us used his excellent biography of Mussolini last year in the Modern Italy class. IN this book, Hibbert takes us all through Victorian society. We have not made it "required" but we are sure you will enjoy it if you buy it and read it.

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

Gillian Gill,

We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals,

Ballantine Books (November 30, 2009),

ISBN 0345520017

 

All

Week 11: Tue., Jan. 5, 2021
Victoria and Prince Albert

Alexandria Victoria (24 May 1819-22 January 1901) and Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel (26 August 1819 – 14 December 1861) were married just over 20 years and had nine children together (five daughters and four sons).  Prince Albert was the love of the Queen's life.  He was also her first cousin, since his father and her mother were siblings and were both German.   Albert sought Victoria's attention from afar for years--even before she was crowned queen at the age of 18.   After a couple of in person visits, she eventually became smitten with him and decided to propose to him.  She had to do the proposing because she was then the queen.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were known for having a rocky love affair.  First there was the queen's fiery temper.  Then there were her mixed feelings about being a mother and needing to rely on her husband to keep up her duties as sovereign. Nonetheless, their bond grew incredibly strong over the years, and the queen was launched into an intense and protracted state of sorrow upon Prince Albert's death in 1861--at a mere 42 years of age.

RECOMMENDED READING

This wonderful book by Christopher Hibbert will be useful to us all year. Hibbert is one of greatest "popular" historians, meaning that he writes books you want to read. Many of you have used his great one-volume history of the Medici as well as his excellent History of Rome, History of Florence, and History of Venice.Many of us used his excellent biography of Mussolini last year in the Modern Italy class. IN this book, Hibbert takes us all through Victorian society. We have not made it "required" but we are sure you will enjoy it if you buy it and read it.

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

Gillian Gill,

We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals,

Ballantine Books (November 30, 2009),

ISBN 0345520017

Week 12: Tue., Jan. 12, 2021
The Revolutions of 1848

The Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, People's Spring, Springtime of the Peoples, or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It remains the most widespread revolutionary wave in European history.

The revolutions were essentially democratic and liberal in nature, with the aim of removing the old monarchical structures and creating independent national states. The first revolution began in January in Sicily. Revolutions then spread across Europe after a separate revolution began in France in February. Over 50 countries were affected, but with no coordination or cooperation among their respective revolutionaries. According to Evans and von Strandmann (2000), some of the major contributing factors were widespread dissatisfaction with political leadership, demands for more participation in government and democracy, demands for freedom of press, other demands made by the working class, the upsurge of nationalism, and the regrouping of established governmental forces.

The uprisings were led by shaky ad hoc coalitions of reformers, the middle classes and workers, which did not hold together for long. Tens of thousands of people were killed, and many more forced into exile. Significant lasting reforms included the abolition of serfdom in Austria and Hungary, the end of absolute monarchy in Denmark, and the introduction of representative democracy in the Netherlands. The revolutions were most important in France, the Netherlands, the states of the German Confederation that would make up the German Empire in the late 19th and early 20th century, Italy, and the Austrian Empire. (Wikipedia)

RECOMMENDED READING

This wonderful book by Christopher Hibbert will be useful to us all year. Hibbert is one of greatest "popular" historians, meaning that he writes books you want to read. Many of you have used his great one-volume history of the Medici as well as his excellent History of Rome, History of Florence, and History of Venice.Many of us used his excellent biography of Mussolini last year in the Modern Italy class. IN this book, Hibbert takes us all through Victorian society. We have not made it "required" but we are sure you will enjoy it if you buy it and read it.

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

Gillian Gill,

We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals,

Ballantine Books (November 30, 2009),

ISBN 0345520017

Mike Rapport,

1848: Year of Revolution,

Basic Books; Reprint edition (October 19, 2010),

ISBN 0465020674

Week 13: Tue., Jan. 19, 2021
Charles Dickens

Charles John Huffam Dickens (/ˈdɪkɪnz/; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the 20th century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories enjoy lasting popularity. Born in Portsmouth, Dickens left school to work in a factory when his father was incarcerated in a debtors' prison. Despite his lack of formal education, he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children's rights, education, and other social reforms. Dickens's literary success began with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humor, satire, and keen observation of character and society. His novels, most published in monthly or weekly installments, pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication. The installment format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience's reaction, and he often modified his plot and character development based on such feedback. For example, when his wife's chiropodist expressed distress at the way Miss Mowcher in David Copperfield seemed to reflect her disabilities, Dickens improved the character with positive features. His plots were carefully constructed, and he often wove elements from topical events into his narratives. Masses of the illiterate poor chipped in ha'pennies to have each new monthly episode read to them, opening up and inspiring a new class of readers. Dickens was regarded as the literary colossus of his age. His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Oliver Twist and Great Expectations are also frequently adapted, and, like many of his novels, evoke images of early Victorian London. His 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris, is his best-known work of historical fiction. Dickens has been praised by fellow writers—from Leo Tolstoy to George Orwell and G. K. Chesterton—for his realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism. On the other hand, Oscar Wilde, Henry James, and Virginia Woolf complained of a lack of psychological depth, loose writing, and a vein of saccharine sentimentalism. The term Dickensian is used to describe something that is reminiscent of Dickens and his writings, such as poor social conditions or comically repulsive characters. (Wikipedia)

REQUIRED READING

Charles Dickens,

Great Expectations,

Penguin Classics; Revised edition (December 31, 2002),

ISBN 0141439564

RECOMMENDED READING

This wonderful book by Christopher Hibbert will be useful to us all year. Hibbert is one of greatest "popular" historians, meaning that he writes books you want to read. Many of you have used his great one-volume history of the Medici as well as his excellent History of Rome, History of Florence, and History of Venice.Many of us used his excellent biography of Mussolini last year in the Modern Italy class. IN this book, Hibbert takes us all through Victorian society. We have not made it "required" but we are sure you will enjoy it if you buy it and read it.

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

Claire Tomalin,

Charles Dickens: A Life,

Penguin Books; Reprint edition (October 30, 2012),

ISBN 9780143122050

Week 14: Tue., Jan. 26, 2021
Great Expectations

Great Expectations is the thirteenth novel by Charles Dickens and his penultimate completed novel; a bildungsroman that depicts the personal growth and personal development of an orphan nicknamed Pip. It is Dickens's second novel, after David Copperfield, to be fully narrated in the first person. The novel was first published as a serial in Dickens' weekly periodical All the Year Round, from 1 December 1860 to August 1861. In October 1861, Chapman and Hall published the novel in three volumes. The novel is set in Kent and London in the early to mid-19th century and contains some of Dickens's most memorable scenes, including the opening in a graveyard, where the young Pip is accosted by the escaped convict, Abel Magwitch. Great Expectations is full of extreme imagery of poverty, prison ships and chains, and fights to the death—and has a colorful cast of characters who have entered popular culture. These include the eccentric Miss Havisham, the beautiful but cold Estella, and Joe, the unsophisticated and kind blacksmith. Dickens's themes include wealth and poverty, love and rejection, and the eventual triumph of good over evil. Great Expectations, which is popular both with readers and literary critics, has been translated into many languages and adapted numerous times into various media. Upon its release, the novel received near universal acclaim. Although Dickens's contemporary Thomas Carlyle referred to it disparagingly as that "Pip nonsense," he nevertheless reacted to each fresh installment with "roars of laughter." Later, George Bernard Shaw praised the novel, as "All of one piece and consistently truthful." During the serial publication, Dickens was pleased with public response to Great Expectations and its sales; when the plot first formed in his mind, he called it "a very fine, new and grotesque idea." (Wikipedia)

REQUIRED READING

Charles Dickens,

Great Expectations,

Penguin Classics; Revised edition (December 31, 2002),

ISBN 0141439564

 

Week 15: Tue., Feb. 2, 2021
The Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and plate-glass structure originally built in Hyde Park, London, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. More than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in its 990,000-square-foot (92,000 m2) exhibition space to display examples of technology developed in the Industrial Revolution. Designed by Joseph Paxton, the Great Exhibition building was 1,851 feet (564 m) long, with an interior height of 128 feet (39 m). It was three times larger than the size of St Paul's Cathedral. The introduction of the sheet glass method into Britain by Chance Brothers in 1832 made possible the production of large sheets of cheap but strong glass, and its use in the Crystal Palace created a structure with the greatest area of glass ever seen in a building and astonished visitors with its clear walls and ceilings that did not require interior lights. It has been suggested that the name of the building resulted from a piece penned by the playwright Douglas Jerrold, who in July 1850 wrote in the satirical magazine Punch about the forthcoming Great Exhibition, referring to a "palace of very crystal". After the exhibition, it was decided to relocate the Palace to an area of South London known as Penge Common. It was rebuilt at the top of Penge Peak next to Sydenham Hill, an affluent suburb of large villas. It stood there from 1854 until its destruction by fire in 1936. The nearby residential area was renamed Crystal Palace after the famous landmark including the park that surrounds the site, home of the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, which had previously been a football stadium that hosted the FA Cup Final between 1895 and 1914. Crystal Palace F.C. were founded at the site in 1905 and played at the Cup Final venue in their early years. The park still contains Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins's Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, which date back to 1854. In 2013 a Chinese developer proposed to re-build the Crystal Palace but the developer's sixteen-month exclusivity agreement with Bromley council to develop its plans was cancelled when it expired in February 2015. (Wikipedia)

REQUIRED READING

Charles Dickens,

Great Expectations,

Penguin Classics; Revised edition (December 31, 2002),

ISBN 0141439564

Week 16: Tue., Feb. 9, 2021
The Crimean War

(Wikipedia) The Crimean War (French: Guerre de Crimée; Russian: Кры́мская война́ Krymskaya voina or Восто́чная война́ Vostochnaya voina("Eastern War"); Turkish: Kırım Savaşı; Italian: Guerra di Crimea; English: Crimean War) was a military conflict fought from October 1853 to February 1856 in which the Russian Empire lost to an alliance of the Ottoman Empire, France, Britain and Sardinia. The immediate cause involved the rights of Christian minorities in the Holy Land, which was a part of the Ottoman Empire. The French promoted the rights of Roman Catholics, while Russia promoted those of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The longer-term causes involved the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the unwillingness of Britain and France to allow Russia to gain territory and power at Ottoman expense. It has widely been noted that the causes, in one case involving an argument over a key, have never revealed a "greater confusion of purpose", yet led to a war noted for its "notoriously incompetent international butchery".

While the churches eventually worked out their differences and came to an agreement, Nicholas I of Russia and the French Emperor Napoleon III refused to back down. Nicholas issued an ultimatum that the Orthodox subjects of the Empire be placed under his protection. Britain attempted to mediate and arranged a compromise that Nicholas agreed to. When the Ottomans demanded changes, Nicholas refused and prepared for war. Having obtained promises of support from France and Britain, the Ottomans declared war on Russia in October 1853.

The war started in the Balkans, where in July 1853 Russian troops occupied the Danubian Principalities, (part of modern Romania) which were under Ottoman suzerainty, then began to cross the Danube. Led by Omar Pasha, the Ottomans fought a strong defensive campaign and stopped the advance at Silistra. A separate action on the fort town of Kars in eastern Anatolia led to a siege, and a Turkish attempt to reinforce the garrison was destroyed by a Russian fleet at Sinop. Fearing an Ottoman collapse, France and Britain rushed forces to Gallipoli. They then moved north to Varna in June, arriving just in time for the Russians to abandon Silistra. Aside from a minor skirmish at Köstence (today Constanța), there was little for the allies to do. Karl Marx quipped, "there they are, the French doing nothing and the British helping them as fast as possible".

Frustrated by the wasted effort, and with demands for action from their citizens, the allied force decided to attack Russia's main naval base in the Black Sea at Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula. After extended preparations, the forces landed on the peninsula in September 1854 and marched their way to a point south of Sevastopol after the successful Battle of the Alma. The Russians counterattacked on 25 October in what became the Battle of Balaclava and were repulsed, but at the cost of seriously depleting the British Army forces. A second counterattack, at Inkerman, ended in stalemate. The front settled into a siege and led to brutal conditions for troops on both sides. Smaller actions were carried out in the Baltic, the Caucasus, the White Sea and in the North Pacific.

Sevastopol fell after eleven months, and neutral countries began to join the Allied cause. Isolated and facing a bleak prospect of invasion from the west if the war continued, Russia sued for peace in March 1856. This was welcomed by France and Britain, as their subjects were beginning to turn against their governments as the war dragged on. The war was ended by the Treaty of Paris, signed on 30 March 1856. Russia was forbidden from hosting warships in the Black Sea. The Ottoman vassal states of Wallachia and Moldavia became largely independent. Christians there were granted a degree of official equality, and the Orthodox Church regained control of the Christian churches in dispute.

The Crimean War was one of the first conflicts to use modern technologies such as explosive naval shells, railways and telegraphs.

 

RECOMMENDED READING

Hugh Small,

The Crimean War: Queen Victoria's War with the Russian Tsars,

Tempus Publishing, Limited (March 1, 2014),

ISBN 0752443887

Week 17: Tue., Feb. 15, 2022
Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale (May 1820 – August 1910) was an English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. She came to prominence while serving as a manager of nurses trained by her during the Crimean War, where she organized the tending to wounded soldiers. She gave nursing a highly favorable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture, especially in the persona of "The Lady with the Lamp" making rounds of wounded soldiers at night. . . . Historians agree on the decisive importance of her follow-up achievements in professionalizing nursing roles for women. In 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas' Hospital in London. It was the first secular nursing school in the world, now part of King's College London. In recognition of her pioneering work in nursing, the Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses, and the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve, were named in her honor, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on her birthday. Her social reforms include improving healthcare for all sections of British society, advocating better hunger relief in India, helping to abolish prostitution laws that were over-harsh to women, and expanding the acceptable forms of female participation in the workforce. Nightingale was a prodigious and versatile writer. In her lifetime, much of her published work was concerned with spreading medical knowledge. Some of her tracts were written in simple English so that they could easily be understood by those with poor literary skills. She also helped popularize the graphical presentation of statistical data. Much of her writing, including her extensive work on religion and mysticism, has only been published posthumously. (Wikipedia)

 

RECOMMENDED READING

Hugh Small,

The Crimean War: Queen Victoria's War with the Russian Tsars,

Tempus Publishing, Limited (March 1, 2014),

ISBN 0752443887

Week 18: Tue., Feb. 23, 2021
John Stuart Mill

Why is John Stuart Mill so important?
Here is a quotation from a brilliant essay on Mill by Isaiah Berlin entitled John Stuart Mill and the Ends of Life:
"Mill is not interested in actuarial calculations. At the center of his thought and feeling lies, not his utilitarianism, nor the concern about enlightenment, nor about dividing the private from the public domain—but his attempt to fuse rationalism and romanticism; the aim of Goethe and Humboldt; a rich, spontaneous, many-sided, fearless, free, and yet rational, self-directed character. He perceived something profound and essential about the destructive effect of man's most successful efforts at self-improvement in modern society."

Berlin alerts us to the extraordinary insight of Mill as he lived through the mid-nineteenth century and contended with the two conflicting visions of the previous 100 years: Enlightenment Rationalism and Romantic emotionalism. This was the great debate of Voltaire and Rousseau. But now in 1850 you added trains and coal.

John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 8 May 1873) was an English philosopher, political economist and civil servant. One of the most influential thinkers in the history of liberalism, he contributed widely to social theory, political theory and political economy. Dubbed "the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century", Mill's conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control. Mill was a proponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by his predecessor Jeremy Bentham, and contributed significantly to the theory of the scientific method. A member of the Liberal Party, he was also the first Member of Parliament to call for women's suffrage.

 

RECOMMENDED READING

Richard Reeves,

John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand,

Atlantic Books; Main edition (September 1, 2008),

ISBN 1843546442

RECOMMENDED READING

John Stuart Mill,

On Liberty and the Subjection of Women,

Penguin Classics; 1 edition (April 24, 2007),

ISBN 014144147X

Week 19: Tue., Mar. 2, 2021
The Victorians and Electricity

The Victorians "discovered" electricity. The word went all the way back to the Greeks, and various scientists through the centuries saw electrical static and imagined its power. But it was Benjamin Franklin with his famous kite experiment who begins to really understand the potential power of this mysterious explosion. In the Nineteenth Century two Victorians, Michael Faraday and Maxwell advance our modern understanding of electricity.

(Wikipedia) Michael Faraday(1791–1867)was an English scientist who contributed to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. His main discoveries include the principles underlying electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis. Although Faraday received little formal education, he was one of the most influential scientists in history. It was by his research on the magnetic field around a conductor carrying a direct current that Faraday established the basis for the concept of the electromagnetic field in physics. Faraday also established that magnetism could affect rays of light and that there was an underlying relationship between the two phenomena. He similarly discovered the principles of electromagnetic induction and diamagnetism, and the laws of electrolysis. His inventions of electromagnetic rotary devices formed the foundation of electric motor technology, and it was largely due to his efforts that electricity became practical for use in technology. Faraday was an excellent experimentalist who conveyed his ideas in clear and simple language; his mathematical abilities, however, did not extend as far as trigonometry and were limited to the simplest algebra. James Clerk Maxwell took the work of Faraday and others and summarized it in a set of equations which is accepted as the basis of all modern theories of electromagnetic phenomena. On Faraday's uses of lines of force, Maxwell wrote that they show Faraday "to have been in reality a mathematician of a very high order – one from whom the mathematicians of the future may derive valuable and fertile methods." Albert Einstein kept a picture of Faraday on his study wall, alongside pictures of Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell. Physicist Ernest Rutherford stated, "When we consider the magnitude and extent of his discoveries and their influence on the progress of science and of industry, there is no honour too great to pay to the memory of Faraday, one of the greatest scientific discoverers of all time."

RECOMMENDED READING

Alan W. Hirshfeld,

The Electric Life of Michael Faraday,

Walker Books; First Edition edition (March 7, 2006),

ISBN 0802714706

John Gribbin,

The Scientists: A History of Science Told Through the Lives of Its Greatest Inventors,

Random House Trade Paperbacks,

ISBN 0812967887

Richard Holmes,

The Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror of Science,

Vintage; 1st edition (March 2, 2010),

ISBN 1400031877

Week 20: Tue., Mar. 9, 2021
Albert Gone, Victoria Alone

On December 14, 1861, Queen Victoria lost her lover, husband, and trusted consort, Prince Albert, at the relatively young age of 42. The consensus is that the immediate cause of death was typhoid fever, though there has been much speculation that he also suffered from one or more chronic conditions that had put him in poor health for a couple of years prior to his death. The fact that his death was anticipated in no way seems to have lessened the profound blow to his companion, the Queen. She wore black the rest of her extensive life and insisted that her husband's quarters be maintained as they were when he was alive. Unfortunately, her immense grief in some ways impeded her ability to continue the legacy that Prince Albert had sought to achieve in terms of the royal family being a public example of morality, since she largely withdrew into seclusion.

RECOMMENDED READING

This wonderful book by Christopher Hibbert will be useful to us all year. Hibbert is one of greatest "popular" historians, meaning that he writes books you want to read. Many of you have used his great one-volume history of the Medici as well as his excellent History of Rome, History of Florence, and History of Venice.Many of us used his excellent biography of Mussolini last year in the Modern Italy class. IN this book, Hibbert takes us all through Victorian society. We have not made it "required" but we are sure you will enjoy it if you buy it and read it.

Christopher Hibbert,

Life in Victorian England,

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 31, 2016),

ISBN 1541383559

Gillian Gill,

We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals,

Ballantine Books (November 30, 2009),

ISBN 0345520017