Sonnet XXIX Historical Context

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The Victorian Era

The adjective "Victorian" historically refers to the long reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901). The first half of her reign was a period of incredible growth and prosperity, the most important example of which was the rise of the middle class as an economic and political power. A specific highlight (and example of English pride) of this half of Victoria's reign was the Great Exhibition (1851), in which hundreds of people from around the world visited London's Crystal Palace to view the fruits of technology and science. The nation enjoyed perhaps its period of greatest optimism and enthusiasm. As Barrett Browning's husband Browning wrote in Pippa Passes (1841):

The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn:
God's in his heaven—
All's right with the world!






This unbridled enthusiasm, however, was...

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This section contains 625 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Sonnet XXIX Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Sonnet XXIX from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.