Category Archives: 19th Century Literature

Below you will see my posts and peer reviews pertaining to my studies in 19th Century Literature

Peer review Sara Saladino

OK so I know this is Sara’s blog post for Shakespeare but I hope I can count it as a peer review.


Wow, What a personal post. Sometimes it’s hard to write these things, feelings, because in so doing, you have to admit that it is actually true. Does love really always run smoothly? I don’t believe so. But I believe that even when the rough times come along, love is strong enough to overcome the hard times.
I have just thought of an analogy that may be considered a Romantisist view of love. Love may be like a river, not because it runs smoothly, but on many other levels. It bends and winds to accommodate the world around it. People and animals may drink from your love to be themselves replenished, but the river runs strong. there is love enough for all. There are rocks in the river, which roll along underwater until they become smooth and the love can run right over them, not hampered in the least be the intrusion of the rock. There are times of drought, when love may seem almost dried up, and there are times of flood, when you feel overwhelmed by love. Love runs like a river to the sea and when we gather all the love in the world there is a pool that can overcome any obstacle.


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Peer Review Manizha Lalee

Is all truth beautiful? Is all beauty, in fact truth. Many think that beauty means aesthetically pleasing. If this is the case, then seeing the truth in all things would be beautiful. For me there is beauty in a flower, but there is also beauty in a child’s singing, or laughing. There is beauty when we see love blossoming between 2 people, sometimes even when they themselves can’t see it. There is beauty when we see someone helping someone else in need, or less fortunate. Beauty has so many layers, so many forms.

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“All Art is Quite Useless”

This was the sentiment of the society in the Victorian Era. It is a quote from Oscar Wilde, . Oscar promoted the school of Aesthetics which said art is for art sake. It is not meant to have a use. “Those who go beneath  the surface do so at their peril”. What he was saying here, is appreciate art for its own sake, don’t try to find meaning in it where possibly there is none. Both quotes are from ‘Preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray’.



Art today however is not useless. Art is used by our Utilitarian society for the promotion of products. An image, a logo designed by a graphic artist, would be used around the world for people to recognise the brand as Universal.

Where have all our writers gone… long time passing?

Where have all our writers gone… long time ago?

Where have all our writers gone? Gone to movies and music everyone.

When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn.

(thank you Peter, Paul and Mary).

It is my thought that writers of good literature or poetry are being swallowed by the media machine. When one reads a new action fiction book, we think of how good that would transfer to be a movie. And inevitably we proclaim, that the movie is never as good as the book…. But a writer has to eat. Plays are no longer written, but screenplays are, such is the evolution of literature as I have espoused before.

Likewise our poets cannot make a living as a poet anymore. Much poetry is now adapted to become songs. Songwriting is much more lucrative than poetry writing.

I beg for the return of good literature to again fill our shelves. What will future students of 21st literature say about writers of our generation? We as writers need to give them something to talk about.

Art can indeed be utilitarian as well as aesthetic. Producing art, in any form can be so therapeutic. Have you seen the latest trend? Colouring in for Adults, as a form of stress relief. Music is used in therapy. Reading books lowers the heart rate and calms the nerves, (although I am not sure if reading screens does the same thing).

The Expanse conference which I attended  last year and the SPARC conference are recruiting artists of all kinds to encourage them to use their art for the good of social causes around the world; to make the first world aware of third world problems and issues that can be more easily digested than just mere facts.

My aim in Life as I have spouted before, is to look for beauty in this world and share it with people who have difficulty seeing it for themselves.. Whether this be through my art, my photography, my music or my writings. This is the whole purpose of my life. Don’t keep the beauty of your world to yourself, let others see it, and smile.

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Palm Sunday Painting; William Blake


The text below comes from an app on my phone called DailyArt. Each day they present an artwork and provide commentary on the artwork presented. Since the entry today was from William Blake, I decided to share it here for my fellow 19th Century Literature students. I hope you enjoy, and maybe subscribe to this great free app. The painting comes from

Blake, William, 1757-1827; Christ's Entry into Jerusalem

Blake, William; Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem; Glasgow Museums;


Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. It is the Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in each of the four canonical Gospels.

This image by William Blake painted for Thomas Butts is out of the ordinary even for Blake. The subject of Jesus entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday receives a distinctive treatment. Jesus and his party of disciples enjoy a conventional treatment although they display the elongated bodies and reduced sized heads which Blake adopted for a period of time. The crowd gathered around Jesus are definitely unconventional since they are in various degrees of undress. The contrasting sizes of the various figures leads to a confusion of scale and perspective.

The Window through which Jerusalem is visible is framed by trees which are being climbed by figures of individuals attempting to reach a higher level. Jerusalem is not pictured as the earthly city of Jesus’ day but as the heavenly Jerusalem of the vision of John of Patmos.

During the period when Blake was reevaluating Classical thought as an influence on his myth and prophecy, he seems to have reconsidered the neoclassical style of art which he had adopted in much of his work. Neoclassicism gained prominence with the enlightenment; Blake looked to replace them both. This picture owes much to Mannerism, a style of the 16th century. According to this National Gallery website Mannerism demonstrated that “excellence in painting demanded refinement, richness of invention, and virtuoso technique, criteria that emphasized the artist’s intellect.” Blake found that this technique allowed him to use his intellect and inventiveness to stimulate a fresh view of a Biblical scene which could be opened to vision


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My lover, Lord Alfred Douglas.

Lord Alfred Douglas, nicknamed Bosie, was a young aristocrat and poet, the youngest son of the Marquess of Queensberry. He looked like an angel: fragile, with a very pale complexion, blonde hair an…

Source: My lover, Lord Alfred Douglas.

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The importance of being funny

On Monday this week, my 19th Century literature class went to see a screening of the British play “The Importance of being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde. If you have never seen this play, or a film version of it, I implore you to do so.

This particular version is hilarious with David Suchet as Lady Bracknell, and the other actors all putting their particular ‘bent’ on the roles, making the play absolutely come to life.

Oscar Wilde was a brilliant man who was born and raised in Dublin. His father was also a brilliant man and a talented surgeon, who was knighted for his medical service. He founded a hospital to treat the poor and funded it out of his own pocket. Oscar’s mother, Jane was a talented linguist and poet. So Oscar came from good stock.

Oscar Wilde was an Oxford scholar who loved to promote the aesthetic movement. That is that art should be for arts sake, for pleasure. He was all for making people laugh. He also authored many popular children’s stories and short stories which were popular with society.

Although Wilde was a member of the Elite Society, I think he would have abhorred being associated with it. His play, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ was making fun or satirising the very society of which he was a part. He thought that “polite society” was all too serious (or earnest) about things that one should not be serious about at all.

The play opened to rave reviews and much applause. It seems that people liked to have a laugh at themselves. On the opening night of the play however, The Marquess of Queensberry left a card calling Oscar Wilde a  somdomite(sic). At the time Wilde was in a relationship with the son of the Marquess, Lord Alfred Douglas. With the encouragement of some young friends, Oscar then sued the Marquess for libel; a case he lost.

It seems that throughout the History of Britain, politicians and Royalty have found homosexuality to be desirable.Way back in the first century A.D. ( I refuse to use BCE), the Emperor Hadrien, of the wall fame, himself had a male lover. King Edward II and King James I both had homosexual lovers. However polite society of the 19th century did not talk about things that were unpleasant or serious, preferring to be serious about the mundane, giving off an air of naivety of the unpleasant. It was OK to be homosexual, just don’t talk about it.

Picture Credit:

Oscar Wilde was never one to obey rules. He bucked and kicked through tradition until tradition changed. His fashion sense was decidedly effeminate, and he was quite open about his relationships with younger men. The basis of the relationships, his defence from the docks, was that the relationships he had with the young men were not primarily sexual but took the form of a mentorship.  His letters and writing were produced by the prosecution, confirming what people already knew; that despite being married with 2 boys of his own, Oscar indeed preferred the company of men. He stated that one could not help but love some men of such beauty, innocence and purity. Unfortunately, he was convicted of Gross Indecency (buggery could not be proved). He was sentenced to 2 years hard labour.

Oscar Wilde Quotes - poets-and-writers Fan Art

Picture credit:

Oscar Wilde became a persona non grata in society even after he served his time. He was forced to go live in France, where he died not long after. At the time, the works of Oscar Wilde were no longer found on the shelves of those in society, he was not talked about, it was as if history had forgotten him. But time indeed has a way of healing old wounds and the great works he wrote seemed to fight through the condemnation that society metted out. Dorian Gray being heralded as one of the best novels ever written, and ‘Earnest’ one of the best plays.

I think society has changed somewhat since then. We have started to accept that while  a person may be bad, we admit (not out loud), that the work they create can be brilliant. Look at the artwork of former hitman Roy ‘Red Fox’ Pollitt for example, or the writings and other activities of Mark  “Chopper” Read. There was even a comedy event called “Comedians with a Criminal Record” in the US.

It is indeed Important to be Earnest, but it is also important to laugh.


many thanks to

Mark Brandon Chopper Read

and Miss Mermaid Blue for her constructive criticism.



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Literatures’ influence on life.

It occurs to me that literature in itself is not just a reflection of life as we know it, but a shaper of thoughts and feelings. Literature inspires people to be greater, to try harder. Literature can shape behaviour and thought.

The 19th Century Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, said in his essay ‘A Defence of Poetry” in 1820, “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the World.” He claimed that poets and their words could shape a nation’s and even the world’s thoughts and feelings oabout issues and laws. Perhaps this is why Churchill, in WWI supported the poem of Rupert Brooke entitled ‘The Soldier’.
IF I should die, think only this of me;
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware, 5
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less 10
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

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This poem is a call for young men to fight for England in WWI. The poem was shared from the pulpits of churches and published in newspapers of the time, and was the inspiration behind so many young men going to war, and even losing their lives for patriotism.

We then as writers, whether that be a poet, novelist, or journalist can influence peoples lived for good, or in fact for evil.

The Stephen King book ‘Rage’ which he wrote under the nom de plume of Richard Bachman was said to be responsible for a school hostage situation, and the shooting of a prayer group in a high school. In the book, a high school student shoots his teacher and takes his classmates hostage. When he heard of these killings, Stephen King asked that the book not be reprinted.

‘Catcher in the Rye’ is said to be the inspiration of the killing of John Lennon, amongst others. The shooter, Mark David Chapman, considered his crime as Chapter 27, the next chapter of the Salinger classic.

Words in the Salman Rushdie book, ‘Satanic Verses’, so enraged those of the Islamic faith that a Fatwa was ordered, that is, that the leaders of the religion ordered his murder by any Muslim that saw him. It was a worldwide fatwa so Rushdie was not safe anywhere.

Words from all different authors have influenced life for good. The Bible encourages people to change their lives for good every day. Arguably many atrocities have also been caused by the misinterpretation of the words within.

Writers need to be cautious with words. We need to be aware of the influence it can have over people, and indeed nations. Let’s try to keep the writing real, but also use words to encourage and influence for the common good rather than harm.





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