The Romantic View

It is hard to judge the impact of Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley novels published over an eighteen-year period from 1814, except to say it was more than considerable. Rousing tales such as Rob Roy, Ivanhoe and Quentin Durwood fuelled a Gothic Medieval architectural revival elevating the romantic view. By way of contrast descriptions of the abject misery of poverty and cruelty portrayed in novels by the Bronte Sisters and Charles Dickens aroused the social conscience. They inspired the Victorian family to do ‘good works’ because a romantic and self-indulgent view of life is far more powerful. Victorian England had no income tax, no capital gains or carbon tax and with the Industrial revolution in top gear the country was full of very rich people. The rising middle classes were violently critical of aristocratic arrogance, immorality and inefficiency of the upper classes. They brought about social upheaval and change.

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