Critical Blogs

Blog Five

Explore The Victorian Web: http://victorianweb.org/ and give a brief account of how valuable this site can be for a comprehensive study of all aspects of Charles Dickens’ work. Provide links to some of the most important things you found there.

The Victorian Web is an excellent source of information regarding the life of Charles Dickens and his remarkable oeuvre. After a brief look around the website I couldn’t help but think to myself, this is quite dull. However, I could not have imagined the amount of information waiting for me when I clicked on the link to his name. This webpage holds content ranging from his works to his political history and everything in between!

This website has greatly assisted in allowing myself to recap upon information that my brain had deemed lost since I studying ‘Great Expectations’ back in high school. The most notable section of the site for me would have to be the in depth biography found via:

http://victorianweb.org/authors/dickens/bioov.html

Being able to access this 80’s style web account of his life has the potential to inform readers about the context that he formed his literature around. One thing I had never known (which might be obvious to others) is the travels in which he embarked to the United States, Italy, France and Sweden!

However, do be warned! I wouldn’t go as far as to include this information in an essay. Although it is a thorough account of Dickens life, it is stated that the work is not all peer reviewed material. Nonetheless, still an interesting read!

André Gill
14 June 1868
Colored engraving
Éclipse (Paris)
http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/dickens/gallery/13.html

Blog Two:

Why was Wordsworth’s Preface to the Lyrical Ballads so revolutionary?

William Wordsworth’s ‘Preface to Lyrical Ballads’ captures the integral meaning of the body of work constructed with Samuel Coleridge, whilst also simultaneously contributing to the commencement of the romantic era. This preface is regarded revolutionary as it shone a light upon unlocking a multitude of avenues for common society to access meaningful poetry. Wordsworth believed previous poets including those of the ‘The Age of Enlightenment’ incorporated diction and other devices ungraspable for others in order for them to be ‘carefully excluded’. This exclusion was however, further described as a ‘separation between themselves and the sympathies of men’. This preface envisioned art that encompassed “incidents and situations from common life” expressed through a language “really used by men” (men relating to mankind). This vision was a cog that turned in unison with concepts that formed around the primary laws of nature and elementary principle of pleasure. It is here that the focus on the “low and rustic life” of people broke down the barriers towards speaking a “more empathetic language” stemming from the ‘repeated experience and regular feelings’ of these said individuals.

Although Wordsworth created opportunities for the public, he also further challenged the meaning of what it meant to be a poet. Disregarding the previously held belief among many that a poet was only somebody who understood the intricacies of techniques and structure, Wordsworth simply described a poet as “a man speaking to men”. Delving into this idea, Wordsworth’s description of poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of feelings” must be retained, as we grow to understand that Wordsworth believed a poet’s role is the role of a communicator who translates ‘their feelings to those of the persons whose feelings he describes’ rather than only that of themselves.