Outline of Triumph of Bourgeoisie

This post reviews history, philosophy and religion, literature, art and architecture and goes from 1830 to 1871. The “bourgeoisie” means the middle or business class standing between the old aristocracy and the working class.

The existence of bourgeoisie was more visible in Europe, but its visibility rapidly caught up in America.

This post has a Conclusion section at the end, which asks the Western world to do some things.

If you’re in a hurry, use the ctrl-f search to find your key term.

Please click on the corresponding post Timeline of the Triumph of the Bourgeoisie for more information.

Let’s get started with royal relationships to clarify the issues.

Genealogical Tables

Sources for tables: John Fabb, European Royalty of the Victorian and Edwardian Era (London: B. A. Seaby, 1986)

I. Introduction

A. Timeframe:

1. 1830: Bourgeois Monarchy in France

2. 1871: End of Franco-Prussian War

II. Bourgeois Monarch and Liberal Empire in France

A. Louis-Philippe (r. 1830-48)

1. Constitutional monarchy that was fairly liberal

2. Status quo economically and politically, rich rule and show no mercy to working and poor classes

3. Uprisings of workers in Paris and Lyon are successfully suppressed

B. Emperor Napoleon III (r. 1851-1870)

1. Liberal

a. At first conservative

b. He decides badly in foreign affairs

1)  Supports disastrous intervention in Mexico btwn 1861-67, led by Archduke Maximilien of Austria

2)  Loses war with Prussia and they occupy land until indemnity is paid

3)  Battle of Sedan in Sept. 1870 he is captured, imprisoned then exiled to England, and dies in 1873

III. Economic Advance and Social Unrest (1830-1848)

A. Industrial Revolution

1. Proletarianization

a. Entry of workers into a wage economy

b. Gradual loss of ownership of means of production, such as tools and equipment

c. Gradual loss of control over conduct of own trades or jobs, such as shoemaker

2. Confection

a. Workshop masters make goods, such as shoes, clothing and furniture, in standard sizes and styles, not made-to-order

b. Division of labor in workshop

c. Less skill required for artisan

d. Migration spawns availability of unskilled workers

e. Result:  artisan squeezed out and unskilled laborer dominates

B. Revolutions of 1848

1. Causes

a. Severe food shortages since 1846 (grain and potato)

b. Liberals push for reforms by appealing to working classes

c. Nationalism (outside France) among Germans, Hungarians, Italians, Czechs

2.  France

a. Louis-Philippe forbids meetings criticizing gov’t policies on Feb. 21, 1848

b. Workers swarm streets on Feb. 22

c. Feb. 24, Louis-Philippe abdicates and flees to England

d. National Assembly created by universal suffrage, made up of moderates and conservatives on Apr. 23

1)  Provinces fear Paris radicals

2)  Church and local notables exercise considerable influence

3)  Small landowning peasants fear socialists will confiscate land

e. Conservatives crackdown on workers, killing 400 and hunt for and capture 3k more in street-to-street fighting

f. Louis Napoleon (1808-1873) is elected president in late 1848, nephew of the emperor

g. He argues with National Assembly and cracks down

1) Troops disperse Assembly

2) 200 people die resisting

3) 26k arrested throughout France

4) 10k transported to Algeria

h. Dec. 21, 1851 more than 7.5 million voters support him and a new constitution

i. In Dec. 1852 an empire is proclaimed, Emperor Napoleon III until 1870

3. Habsburg Empire resists nationalism

a. Borders cut across national lines (Vienna, Prague, Hungary, N. Italy, and Czechs)

b. Each resisted

4. Rome and Papal States

a. Radicals revolt and make Rome a republic in Feb. 1849

b. French troops (10k) lay siege to Rome and it surrenders in June 1849

1)  France did not want a strong neighbor to South

2)  Protection of pope good for public relations for Emperor

5. Prussia

a. Popular disturbances erupt in Berlin on Mar. 15, 1848

b. Frederick William IV (r. 1840-61) refuses to turn troops on people, believing that trouble caused by foreign conspirators

c. Yet on Mar. 18, troops do kill some

d. People circle palace and emperor asks for liberal constitution

e. Assembly proves to be radical and democratic

f. King and conservatives ignore it and dissolve it in Apr. 1849

g. Monarch proclaims own constitution

h. Three-class voting

1)  According to who pays taxes and how much

2)  Thus, the largest taxpayers, only five percent, elect one-third of Parliament

Revolutions of 1848

France Habsburg Empire Italy Germany
Feb 22: workers in Paris riot

Feb 24: Louis-Philippe abdicates and flees to England

Second Republic (1848-1852)

Apr 23: Election based on universal suffrage, but conservatives in country, due to their resentment of Paris, elect conservative National Assembly

May 15: Paris workers and radicals revolt, so government closes National Workshops, which had opened in Feb

May-June 26: Government troops suppress uprisings in Paris

Dec 2, 1851: Louis-Napoleon stages coup which is affirmed by elections

Dec 1852: New elections establish an Empire



Mar 3: Magyar nationalist (Louis Kossuth) stirs up students; army fails to quell uprisings

May 17: Emperor Ferdinand (r. 1835-48) flees to Innsbruck; Habsburgs declare serfs free, as did Hungarian Parliament, so uprising loses momentum;

Dec 2: Ferdinand abdicates and gives power to Francis Joseph, who retakes Vienna (Oct)


Mar 15: The same happens as in Vienna; Results:

March Laws:

1) equality of religion

2) jury trials

3) relatively free press

4) election of lower chamber

5) nobility pays taxes

Jan 5, 1849: Budapest retaken by Francis Joseph, crushing revolts and reforms

Czech Nationalism:

June 2: First pan-Slavic Congress issues manifesto calling for equality of Slavs within Habsburg Empire; but govt. divides middle class from radicals

June 17: Revolt is crushed

N. Italy (Milan and Piedmont): uprisings suppressed by Austrians in July

Papal States:

Pope Pius IX (r. 1846-78) reforms administration of his States, so revolts never ignite


Nov 15: Pelligrino Rossi, (r. 1787-1848) liberal minister of Papal States, is assassinated;

Nov 25: Pope Pius IX flees to Naples;

Jan 5: Roman Republic proclaimed

Feb 1849: Giuseppe Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi flock to Rome to help uprisings

Mar 23: Victor Emmanuel II

(r. 1849-1878), now king of Piedmont helps uprising

June 1849: French lay siege to Rome; they don’t want unified Rome

July 3: Rome falls, and Pope IX returns to Vatican, renounces his liberal policies, and becomes archconservative


Mar 15, 1848: Large publics disturbances, so Frederick William IV (r. 1848-61) announces limited reforms;

Mar 18: He asks Constituent Assembly to write new constitution;

Apr 1849: Assembly is too radical, so it is dissolved; monarch proclaims his own Constitution: vote according to three classes

For example, largest taxpayers (5% of pop) elects one-third of Prussian Parliament

Frankfurt Parliament:

May 18, 1848: Convene to write German Constitution

Mar 27, 1849: Completes task with moderate Constitution, which alienates conservatives and liberals (not old order, liberal free trade, no guilds)

Mar 28, 1849: Parliament offers crown of Germany, which he rejects (divine right to rule, not human right)

Troops disperse Parliament

Gain: expanded franchise

V. German Unification (1861-1871)

A. William I (r. 1861-1888)

1. Frederick William IV

a. Adjudged insane

2. Policy

a. Enlarge army

b. Parliament, which was reorganized by Constitution of 1850, refuses to approve of policy

c. Parliament and monarchy deadlocked

B. Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898)

1. Development

a. From Junker (noble landlord) stock

b. Attended university

c. Joins student society and displays interest in German unification

d. In 1840’s elected to provincial diet (parliament) and expresses radical views

e. From 1851-59 he serves as Prussian minister to Frankfurt Diet of German Confederation

f. Was ambassador to Russia

h. Just named ambassador to France when William I calls on him in 1862 to be prime minister

i. He has mellowed to a conservative

2. Danish Wars (1864)

a. He defeats Danish dukes who had ruled two northern duchies without their being part of Denmark

3. Defeat of Austria in 1866

4. North German Confederation

a. Brought under Prussian leadership because states of Hanover, Hesse, and Nassau, and city of Frankfurt supported Austria

5. Franco-Prussian War (1870-71)

a. Corrupt Bourbon queen deposed in 1868 by military coup

b. Spain appoints Prince Leopold, a Cath. And cousin of William I of Prussia on June 19, 1870

c. France disapproves and dissuades Leopold’s father lest war erupts thru ambassador Count Vincent Benedetti (1817-1900)

d. Situation resolved peaceably, says a telegram, stating substance of meeting

e. Bismarck re-edits telegram as if to show that William I insulted ambassador Benedetti

f. France declares war on July 19

g.  On Sept. 1, 1870, at battle of Sedan, Germans defeat France and captures Napoleon III

h.  Late Sept. Paris is besieged and falls on Jan. 28, 1871

C. Result

1. Strong Germany

a. Rich in natural resources and talented citizens

b. Militarily and economically Germany stronger than Prussia alone

2. Conservatism

a. New state was a conservative creation

b. Conservatism back by strongest state in Europe

3. WWI

a. Seeds sown for future conflict

VI. America

A. Civil War (1861-1865)

See the Triumph of the Bourgeoisie Timeline for more information

Political Philosophy

I. Introduction

A. Problem

1. Money

a. What do we do with the money emerging from industrial revolution?

II. Classical Economics

A. Free Enterprise

1. Competition

a. Individuals would compete to fulfill consumer demands

b. Most economic decisions should be met through mechanisms in the marketplace

B. Government

1. Laissez-faire

a. Hands off or literally “let do” (by itself)

2. Corrupt

a. It should stay out of business because it is corrupt

3. Maintenance and law enforcement

a. Maintain sound currency

b. Enforce laws (contracts, and low tariffs and taxes)

C. Result

1. Prosperity

a. For middle classes

2. Misery

a. For laboring class

D. Application

1. Iron Law of Wages

a. David Ricardo (1772-1832) Principles of Political Economy (1817)

b. Thomas Malthus (1766-1834), Essay on the Principle of Population (1798)

c. Although human population grows exponentially, food supply grows arithmetically

d. It would outrun food supply

e. Working class would suffer first and worst

f. If wages were raised, then people would have more children, so keep wages at a minimum

g. Ideas spread by Harriet Martineau (1802-76), Illustrations of Political Economy in 1830s through journals, newspapers and short stories

2. French Gov’t

a. Gov’t says go forth and be fruitful

b. France constructs roads, railways and canals for capitalists

c. Not much done for poverty

3. British Gov’t

a. Utilitarianism

III. Utilitarianism

A. Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)

1. Fragment on Government (1776)

2. The Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789)

B. Definition

1. Greatest happiness for greatest number of people

2. Result

a. No special interests

b. Utilitarianism would overcome the special interests of privileged groups who prevented rational gov’t

C. Result

1. Combination of Utilitarianism and Classical Economics

a. Core of disciples combines his ideas with classical economics

2. Poor Law

a. In 1834 House of Commons passes Poor Law

b. Establishes a Poor Law Commission that sets but to make poverty the most undesirable of all social situations

c. Commission supposes that poor would not work because people were lazy

d. Gov’t’s relief for poor was to be disbursed in workhouses

e. Workhouses consciously designed to be more unpleasant than life outside

1)  Husbands and wives were separated

2)  Food was bad

3)  Social stigma unbearable

4)  Laboring class sees new “Bastilles”

See Outline of John Stuart Mill’s Ethics

IV. Evolutionary Socialism

A. Description

1. Industrialism

a. Generally likes it

2. Suffering of workers

a. Seeks to come up with new ways to handle wealth different from classical economics

3. Utopianism

a. Creates new communities

b. Radical in regard to sexuality and family

1)  Free love

2)  Open family

B. Robert Owen (1771-1858)

1. Life

a. Self-made cotton manufacturer

b. In 1820s he becomes co-owner in one of largest in Britain:  New Lanark, Scotland

2. Tenets

a. If humans were placed in correct environments, people would improve

b. No incompatibility between making a healthy profit and humane industrial environment

3. Practice

a. After buying out his partners who objected to his philosophy, he provided for the workers

1)  Good living quarters

2)  Recreation abound

3)  Children receive an education

4)  Several churches, though he was a free thinker

b. Company makes a fine profit

c. People from all over Europe see it as a model

d. Unable to convince legislators to go for it

V. Revolutionary Socialism

A. Karl Marx (1818-1883)

1. Life

a. Born in Rhineland

b. Heritage was Jewish, but his father had converted to Lutheranism

c. Attends University of Berlin and gets doctorate in Classics

d. Radical ideas do not allow him to get a professorship in Prussia

e. During 1842-43, edits radical Rhineland Gazette (Rheinische Zeitung)

f. German authorities drive him out

2. Important works

a. Communist Manifesto (1848) (see Timeline of Triumph of Bourgeoisie)

b. Capital (vol. 1, 1867)

B. Tenets

1. Class struggle

a. Between those who control means of production

b. Those who do not control means of production but who sell their labor power as a commodity

1)  In Marx’s days, this boiled down to struggle between bourgeoisie and proletariat

2. Laborers’ fate

a. They are forced to be part of labor class

b. Personal endowments and circumstances drive them into it

3. Proletarianization

a. Number of unpropertied proletariat increases steadily

b. Caused by capitalist production and competition

4. Capitalist giants grow

a. Squeeze out smaller middle-class units

5. Proletariat revolt

a. From increased suffering of proletariat

b. Caused by ever-increasing large firms

6. Dictatorship of proletariat

a. It would organize production

7. Property-less and classless society

See So What’s Wrong with Socialism, Anyway?


I. Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)

Please click on the corresponding post Timeline of the Triumph of the Bourgeoisie for more information.


I. Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

A. Life

1. Educated at Christ’s College, Cambridge University

2. Earns M.A. degree in 1831

3. Embarks on five-year journey on H.M.S Beagle in 1831 as a naturalist to map out lands, writing observations

4. Raises questions

a. Why do giant tortoises and finches vary from island to island so that natives can tell where the finches and tortoises come from?

b. Do these species share a same ancestry, or were they created as they were?

c. Did they evolve, or is there a fixity of species?

5. His life is spent seeking answers

6. Secretary of Geological Society (1838)

7. Fellow of Royal Society (1839)

8. Marries Emma Wedgwood in 1839

B. Publications

1. Journal of Researches (1836)

a. On his return of Galapagos

b. Naturalist’s travel book

2. The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859; 1872) (see Timeline of Triumph of Bourgeoisie post)

a. Greeted with strong (even violent and malicious) criticism

3. The Descent of Man (1871; 1874) (Please click on the corresponding post Timeline of the Triumph of the Bourgeoisie for more information.)

C. Social Context

1. Evolution of governments and economy

2. Industrial revolution already under way, especially in England, since 1760s

3. Scientific revolution begun by Bacon, Galileo, Copernicus, et al. (Renaissance and Baroque)

4. Enlightenment

a. Thinkers perpetuate scientific revolution

b. They clear path for new ideas to grow

c. Politically possible to publish radical ideas

5. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who published Philosophie Zoologique in 1809, a thorough evolutionist

D. Main Tenets

1. Struggle for existence

a. Battle for existence differentiates successful species from unsuccessful ones

b. Result of competition among and within species

c. Less fit are weeded out

d. Environment selectively retains those species that have genetically based features that give them competitive advantage

e. Transmit features to offspring

2.  No teleological purpose

a.  Genetically based variations are random

b.  Chosen or weeded out by environment

c.  No design to survival

E. Influence on Society and Economy (Please click on the corresponding post Timeline of the Triumph of the Bourgeoisie for more information.)

Romanticism and Realism in Literature

I. Romanticism in England

A. Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855)

1. Life

a. B. in Thornton, Yorkshire, dau. of Rev. Patrick Brontë, Irish

b. Mother dies in 1821

c. Two older sisters die in boarding school, Clergy Dau’s School at Cowan Bridge

d. Surviving children pursue educ. at home, delving into rich fantasy; she and brother invent Angria, imaginary world

e. 1831-2 she is at Miss Wooler’s School, where she becomes a teacher 1835-8

f. Governess from 1839-41

g. Studies language, in Belgium with Emily (1842)

h. In 1845 she finds poetry of Emily and, convinced of their quality, publishes their own poems jointly under Currer Bell (Charlotte), Ellis (Emily), and Acton (Anne), but did not sell and received little attention

i. In 1847 publishes Jane Eyre and it receives immediate success

j. Branwell, her brother, dies in Sept. 1848, Emily in Dec., and Anne in summer 1849

k. In 1854 marries A. B. Nichols, father’s curate, but she dies a few months afterwards of an illness probably associated with pregnancy

2. Works

a. Jane Eyre (1847)

1) An independent woman striving upward, seeking her place in the world

2) The Readings juxtaposes storm to Jane’s passions and emotions

3) It has realist tendencies, but it does not criticize society as sharply as Realism does

4) She ends her life married to Edward Rochester, who she has to take care of with his blindness and then one bad eye; so she wins social freedom or equality; she is not as dependent on him if he were healthy

5) Jane ends up happy and fits into society

6) It has Gothic element, as Rochester’s first wife is mad and terrorizes household from attic

B. Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

1. Life

a. Born in Somersby, Lincolnshire

b. Educated at home and at Louth Grammar school

c. Entered Trinity College, Cambridge; joins The Apostles, group of intellectuals

d. Won prize for “Timbuctoo” (1829)

e. He fears Tennyson “black blood” or melancholy; his father dies in 1831, a violent alcoholic

f. In 1842 Poems appears, and he is established as foremost Victorian poet

g.  He is awarded a civil list pension by Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel at 200 pounds a year (1845)

h.  He succeeds Wordsworth as Poet Laureate (1850)

1)  His poetry is at times very patriotic

i.  Settles in Farringford, on Island of Wight, 1854

i.  Made a peer in 1884

2. Works

a. “Ulysses” (1833; publ. 1842)

1)  Inspired by death of his friend Arthur Hallam, Univ. friend

2)  Melancholy and emotions are explored and validated

b. But, he appeals to middle class and is very  patriotic

II. Romanticism in America (1770s to 1870s+)

A. Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

1. Life

a. B. in Concord, Mass, to French, Scottish, Quaker, Puritan stock

b. Natural education in woods of Concord and ordinary preparatory school

c. Graduates from Harvard in 1837

d. After graduation teaches school in native town with his brother John

e. Lives with Ralph Waldo Emerson (1841-43), serving as handyman, but really a disciple

f. Joins Transcendental Club

1) Name outsiders gave Emerson’s group

2) 1836-43/44

3) Meets in Emerson’s home to discuss philosophy, theology, and lit.

g. July 4, 1845 to Sept. 6, 1847, he spends on Walden Pond, near Concord, where he builds a hut

1) Subject of book Walden

2) Gets back to simplicity of life, where he “subdues and cultivates a few cubic feet of flesh”

3) Day at Pond interrupted with a day in prison for refusing to pay toll tax, subsidizing Mexican War, which, to him, was a land grab by slave owners

h. Returning to Concord, he lives in house of Emerson, who was abroad

i. Makes scientific study of nature (sometimes erroneous), but is also a Transcendentalist who communes with Nature

j. In 1849-53 he gets involved with antislavery movement and delivers speeches

k. During last years, he travels, meets Whitman

l. He travels to Great Lakes and Mississippi R., but goes home to edit journals

m. Dies of Tuberculosis

2.  Works

a. Walden (1854)

1) Nonconformist

2) Get back to nature

3) Politically liberal

4) In order to “subdue and cultivate a few acres of flesh”

5) Chew the cud of his thoughts and get to core of universe, by living deep and sucking out “marrow of life”

B. Frederick Douglass (?1818-1895)

1. Life

a. B. into slavery into the Hugh Auld family near Baltimore, Maryland

b. He learns to read and write by imitating street boys

c. He escapes to Massachusetts in 1838, where he is employed as antislavery lecturer

d. In 1845 he publishes Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave

1) A. C. C. Thompson claims that it is fraudulent and his claim is printed in Delaware Republican and Liberator, but this is promptly refuted with a reply in the Liberator Jan. 27, 1846

2) F. D. writes that Thompson confirms he’s a slave

3) F. D. quotes from state statutes that Thompson’s claim that blacks and whites got equal treatment in Maryland is false

e. Fearing captive as a fugitive, he leaves for England and Ireland, where he lectures successfully and popularly

f. Two English women buy his freedom from the Aulds at end of 1846, so he returns to U.S. in 1847

g. He begins journalist career and establishes antislavery journal, North Star, advocating political methods for freeing slaves

h. Organizes two regiments to fight in Civil War for Mass.

i. Secretary of Santo Domingo Commission (1871)

j. Marshal for D.C. (1877-81)

k. Recorder of the Deeds (1881-86)

l. Minister to Haiti (1889-91)

m. Dies in D.C. and is buried in Rochester, N.Y.

2. Works

a. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845, rev. 1892)

1) Freedom of the soul and body

2) Abolitionism

3) New genre, steeped in realism compared with Rousseau’s confessions, so it may serve as a crossover for Realism

C. Walter Whitman (1819-1892)

1. Life

a. B. on Long Island of English. Dutch, and Welsh stock

b. Family lives in Brooklyn ca. 1823-33

c. Itinerant school teacher, reading Bible, Shakespeare, Ossian, Scott, Homer, Greek and Hindu poets, Nibelungenleid, and Dante

d. Enters politics as a Democrat, and after 1841 was actively assoc. with ten newspapers and magazines in NY and Brooklyn, mostly contributing thin, sentimental melancholy stories

e. He denounces “mad fanaticism” of Abolitionists, but favored abolitionism

f. In 1848 he travels to New Orleans with bro. Jeff

g. Returning to Brooklyn, he travels by way of St. Louis, Chicago, and upstate NY, all of which influences his poetry (e.g., “Pioneers! O Pioneers!”)

h. He edits various papers (Brooklyn Times)

i. Influences

1) Metropolitan life (opera, oratory, omnibus drivers, Shakespeare plays)

2) Democratic equality and individual rebellion against restriction in soc.

3) Goethe’s autobiography, man surveying universe in terms of himself

4) Hegel’s philosophy of thesis, antithesis, synthesis, as history moves towards purpose

5) Carlyle’s Heroes and Hero Worship, suggesting a superior individual is a power above man-made laws

6) Emerson’s Transcendentalism, that individual is not only an eccentric but an impersonal seer at one with Nature

7) Science, but it’s cold and sterile, compared with faith in divine purpose

8) Wide as George Sand and American Indian

j. Travels to Washington in 1862; affected by Civil War, becoming unofficial nurse to N. and S. soldiers in army hospitals

k. Nominally a Republican at this time

l. Becomes a clerk in the Indian Bureau, but dismissed a few months later for immorality in Leaves of Grass

m. In 1873 suffers a paralytic stroke, produced by infection in hospital

1) Realistic style becomes one of suggestion and indirection

2) Politics change from individualism to nationalism, even internationalism

3) Less interested in freedom than in regulation

2. Works

a. Leaves of Grass (1855, 1856, 1860, 1867, 1871, 1889) (Please click on the corresponding post Timeline of the Triumph of the Bourgeoisie for more information.)

1) Repetition, parallelism, rhetorical mannerisms, employment of phrase as unit of rhythm, not foot; free verse

2) Celebrates life and nature, and freedom of individual

b. “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed” (added into Leaves in 1871)

1) Commemorates Lincoln’s assassination on April 15, 1865, which affected Whitman deeply

2) Spring symbols: Lilacs (poet’s love), fallen western star (Lincoln), hermit thrush (chant of death)

D. Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (1830-1886)

1. Life

a. B. Amherst, Mass., to Edward, a prominent lawyer

b. Educ. at Amherst Academy and for one year at Holyoke Female Seminary

c. Life outwardly eventless, for she lived quietly at home for the last 25 years, in seclusion

d. Though she never married, she has friendships of intellect

e. Composed over 1,000 brief lyrics, her “letter to the world”

f. Publication, in her view, was not poet’s business, so work was not published, until after her death; so poems in scraps

2. Works

a. Poems (publ. 1890) (Please click on the corresponding post Timeline of the Triumph of the Bourgeoisie for more information.)

1) Candid insights into her own states of consciousness

2) Speculations on the timeless mysteries of love and death

3) Poems full of paradoxes of material and immaterial world

4) Preference for the intrinsic and essential leads her to gnomic phrase

5) Modulation of simple meters and delicate management of imperfect rhymes

III. Realism in England

A. Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

1. Life

a. B. in Portsmouth, first son and second of eight children of John and Eliz Barrow; father, clerk in Navy pay office (1812-24)

b. Becomes an avid reader, esp. of 18th c. novels

c. In 1824, John imprisoned in the Marshalsea, debtor’s prison; Chaz. becomes ill-paid manual laborer in London blacking warehouse for a few months

d. 1824-27, resumes school after father’s release; leaves school at fifteen and awarded prize for Latin

e. 1827-30, employed as clerk in law offices

f. 1830-34, expert shorthand reporter in Parliament, which he likens as pantomime “strong in clowns”; rounds off educ. with reading in lib. of Brit. Museum; engaged to Maria Beadnell, banker’s dau., but he’s unsuitable, so engagement broken off after 4 yrs.

g. 1833-36 Becomes newspaper reporter for morning chronicle

h. 1836-37, Marries Catherine Hogarth; first child born (of ten); publ. first novel, The Pickwick Papers in 20 monthly installments

i.  1842, Tours America for five months; loses his high hopes for democracy; disillusionment with U.S. (cf. Martin Chuzzlewit)

j. 1843 A Christmas Carol

k. 1844-49, Travels in It., Switz. and France with his large family

l. 1850, Founds popular magazine Household Words, with installments of novels and articles dealing with social issues

m. 1851-57, “Dark Period Novels” Bleak House (1853), Hard Times (1854), and Little Dorrit (1857); interested in amateur play productions; laments that marriage is sham

n. 1858-61, separates from wife, lives with young actress; sis-in-law, Georgina Hogarth, stays with him and children; A Tale of Two Cities (1859) and Great Expectations (1861)

o. Continues public reading tours in England, and for five months in 1867-68, in U.S., which are lucrative

p. Working on novel, he dies of a big stroke, and dies on June 9, at Gad Hill, his home he acquired 1858-61, near Rochester

q. Buried in poet’s corner in Westminster Abbey

2. Works

a. Hard Times (1854)

1) Against Utilitarianism

2) Against Education of facts, not frills like the arts; just the facts

3)  Against oppression of management in class struggle of proletariat; “Condition of England” question

IV. Realism in France

A. Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880)

1. Life

a. B. in Rouen, house attached to a hospital; son of surgeon

b. Enjoys school work, esp., history, and lit. talent at 14

c. Short stories 1837-38; first person confessions, Mémoires d’un fou (1838), and philosophical drama Smarh (1839)

d. Expelled from lycée in 1839, studies law unenthusiastically in Paris (1841-43)

e. Onset of nervous disease similar to epilepsy, so active life nil

g. 1846, father and sister die, and he settles down with mother in Croisset

h. Never marries, but has love affair with poet Louise Colet

i. Travels often in Mediterranean, but winters in Paris, meeting authors

j. 1857, Madame Bovary, and put on trial for immorality, acquitted

k. Accommodates himself to Second Empire society

l. 1862, friendship with Princess Mathilde, cousin of emperor

m. After 1869, life not so well; collapse of Empire in 1871, so he despises Prussians and communards; mother in 1872; financial problems in 1875, to rescue his niece’s husband from bankruptcy

n. Working on novel, he dies suddenly in 1880

2. Works

a. Madame Bovary (1857) (Please click on the corresponding post Timeline of the Triumph of the Bourgeoisie for more information.)

V. Realism in America

A. Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910) (a.k.a. Mark Twain)

1. Life

a. B. Florida, Missouri, son of restless Virginian who dreamed of making a fortune in land speculation

b. 1839, family settled in Hannibal, Missouri

c. 1847, father dies, and he becomes printer’s apprentice, writer of humorous sketches, and steamboat pilot

d. 1860, outbreak of Civil War, confederate irregular briefly; went to Nevada

e. 1862, joined staff of Virgina City Territoral Enterprise

f. 1868, goes to Europe and Holy Land

g. 1870, marries Olivia Langdon and settles in Hartford, Conn.

h. 1894, bankruptcy after investing in unperfected typesetting machine; to discharge the debt, he goes on tour around world

i. 1898, pays off debt, but pessimism dominating his mind, tho’ it was hinted at in earlier writings; continues tour

j. Loses wife and two daughters

2. Works

a. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)

1) Comic realism, even language

2) Pessimism, life-is-hard pervade work, despite humor

VI. Realism in Russia

A. Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881)

1. Life

a. B. in Moscow to Physician; mother dies 1837

b. 1838, goes to St. Petersburg to enter army engineering college, spending 3 years

c. 1839, Father murdered by peasants on his small estate south of Moscow

d. 1842, Commissioned as second lieutenant

e. 1843, Trans. Balzac’s Eugénie Grandet

f. 1844, leaves military; starts Poor Folk; 1845, finishes it and enjoys lit. success

g. 1849, arrested for political activities; death sentence commuted in last minute as he was led out to execution to four yrs hard labor in Omsk, W. Siberia, followed by exile

h. 1857, marries Marya Dmitrievna Isaeva, a widow who suffers from hysteria and tuberculosis

i. 1859, Permitted to return to European Russia; settles in St. Petersburg

j. 1862, first visit to W. Europe; affair with Apollinaria Suslova

k. 1864, first wife dies (April); bro. Mikhail dies (July); Notes from Underground

l. 1866, Crime and Punishment

m. 1867-71, marries Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina, his stenographer, and takes up residence abroad

n. 1868, The Idiot

o. 1878, Three-year-old son, Alexei, dies of epilepsy

p. 1879, The Brothers Karamazov

q. 1881, dies in St. Petersburg after lung hemorrhages

2. Works

a. Notes From Underground (1864) (Please click on the corresponding post Timeline of the Triumph of the Bourgeoisie for more information.)

1) Throws mud on reader with unnamed protagonist, who cannot get along with anyone

VII. Romanticism vs. Realism

A. Reactions

1. Romanticism against Rationalism

a. Against classicism and neoclassicism, though poets admired Greeks

b. Abandonment of heroic couplet in favor of new forms, such as blank verse

c. Dropping of conventional poetic diction in favor of bolder figures

d. Sympathetic interest in past, esp. the medieval

2. Realism against Romanticism

a. No longer idealization and flights of fancy and imagination

b. No longer glorifies distant past

c. No more subjectivity and exaltation of the self

B. Society

1. Romanticism Bifurcates

a. It had spent its full energies by 1830s, but still Romantics around

b. It still reacts against majority values

1) Henry David Thoreau

2) Frederick Douglass

c. But it had spoken for middle class, so this class is getting comfortable with it

1) Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre settles into middle class life, comfortably

2. Realism Reacts

a. Critiques society vigorously

b. Opposes majority values

c. Suspicious of the Industrial Revolution

d. Opposes slavery in America

e. Often supports stronger democratic ideals

C. Nature

1. Romanticism Exalts

a. Love of nature

b. Storms and passion

1) Jane Eyre selection juxtaposes Jane and her emotions with a storm

2. Realism Uses

a. Realism uses it as a setting or does not bother with it as much as Romanticism does

1) Country life is described clinically in Madame Bovary

b. See nature as it is

c. Or it is caught in it (Naturalism)

D. Themes and Methods

1. Genres

a. Romanticism may use many genres: poetry, novels, and dramas

1) Dickinson’s poems

b. Realism emphasizes novels first and dramas second; poems infrequent

1) Not many anthologies have realist poems

2. Verisimilitude (truth-like)

a. Romanticism may use improbable coincidences and the unusual (ghosts or unexplained)

1) Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Brontë’s Jane Eyre

2) Caution: Frederick Douglass uses heavy doses of realism

b. Realism condemns the fantastic or unusual

1) Twain’s Huckleberry Finn

3.  Characters

a. Romanticism idealizes more; makes characters strive upward, even in tragic outcomes

1) Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

2) Faust

b. Realism professes a “slice of life,” more earth bound and even pessimistic

1) Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground

2) Twain’s Huck Finn has a pessimism even though comical

Art and Architecture

I. Neoclassicism and Romanticism after 1830

A. Painting

1. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867)

a. The Turkish Bath (nudes in a cold, idealized fashion)

2. Eugène de la Croix (1798-1863)

a. The Abduction of Rebecca (from Ivanhoe a Gothic novel by Sir Walter Scott; bold colors, undulating shape accentuate violence and turmoil

B. Architecture

1. Charles Barry (1795-1860)

2. A. W. N. Pugin (1812-1852)

a. House of Parliament (Gothic style)

II. Realism

A. France

1. Gustave Courbet (1819-1877)

a. “I do not paint angels because I’ve never seen one”

b. The Meeting, or Bonjour M. Courbet (no drama or narrative; slice of life)

c. Interior of My Studio (allegory, which is Romantic; but not of high subject; irony)

2. Honoré Daumier (1808-1879)

a. The Freedom of the Press (Charles X has been knocked down; Louis Philippe is threatening him; theme is political, and subject is ordinary man)

b. The Third-Class Carriage (theme is slice of life, and subject is lower-class people)

3. Jean-François Millet (1814-1875)

a. The Sower; rural person main subject; but influenced by Constable)

b. The Gleaners

4.  Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899)

a. The Horse Fair (accuracy of details and movement, unlike de la Croix’s)

5.  Edouard Manet (1832-1883)

a. Luncheon of the Grass (scandalous; dispassionate art; subject in woods with still life on left)

b. A Bar at the Folies-Bérgère (lower class, but it reminds me of Impressionism)


Get up, Western world! Reclaim your good heritage, like your true Christian biblical faith, rather than empty religion! No longer focus on your bad past. Don’t allow the left and Islamists to browbeat you about it. You fought for liberty. Now live like it.

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