19th century in literature  

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Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821 – 1881)  Illustration: A Th. Dostoiewski (1895) by Félix Vallotton
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Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821 – 1881)
Illustration: A Th. Dostoiewski (1895) by Félix Vallotton
Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849) is an icon of 19th century literature
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Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849) is an icon of 19th century literature
Charles Baudelaire (1821 – 1867) (portrait by Etienne Carjat, ca. 1863)
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Charles Baudelaire (1821 – 1867) (portrait by Etienne Carjat, ca. 1863)

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The 19th century was perhaps the most literary of all centuries, because not only were the forms of novel, short story and magazine serial all in existence side-by-side with theatre and opera, but since film, radio and television did not yet exist, the popularity of the written word and its direct enactment were at their height. Major trends included Romanticism, the Decadent movement, Naturalism, Realism and Symbolist literature.

On the democratization of literature, Resa L. Dudovitz notes:

"By the mid-nineteenth century cheaper editions and improved access to reading material through subscriptions and in France, through reading rooms, pushed sales of a popular novel as high as 10,000 copies. Although critics continued to function as the arbiters of taste, the critical elite could no longer claim literature to be their exclusive property."

An excellent public domain overview of 19th century literature is found in Danish critic Georg Brandes's Main Currents in Nineteenth Century Literature.

Contents

Short overview

Literature of the 19th century refers to world literature produced during the 19th century. The range of years is, for the purpose of this article, literature written from (roughly) 1799 to 1900. Many of the developments in literature in this period parallel changes in the visual arts and other aspects of 19th century culture.

In Germany, the Sturm und Drang period of the late 18th century merges into a Classicist and Romantic period, epitomized by the long era of Goethe's activity, covering the first third of the century. The conservative Biedermeier style conflicts with the radical Vormärz in the turbulent period separating the end of the Napoleonic wars from the Revolutions of 1848.

In Britain, the 19th century is dominated by the Victorian era, characterized by Romanticism, with Romantic poets such as William Wordsworth, Lord Byron or Samuel Taylor Coleridge and genres such as the gothic novel and the fashionable novel.

In the later 19th century, Romanticism is countered by Realism and Naturalism. The late 19th century, known as the Belle Époque, with its Fin de siècle retrospectively appeared as a "golden age" of European culture, cut short by the outbreak of World War I in 1914.

Titles

The Crimes of Love (1800) - The Devil's Elixir (1815/16) - The Sandman (1817) - Frankenstein (1818) - Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1821) - Histoire de ma vie (1822) - The Lustful Turk (1828) - The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831) - Le Rouge et le Noir (1831) - Gamiani (1833) - Viy (1835) - Histoires extraordinaires (1840s) - Bartleby the Scrivener (1853) - Les Fleurs du mal (1857) - Madame Bovary (1857) - On Wine and Hashish (1851) - Artificial Paradises (1860) - Salammbô (1862) - The Painter of Modern Life (1863) - Notes from Underground (1864) - Le Spleen de Paris (1869) - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) - Venus in Furs (1870) - Carmilla (1872) - The Temptation of Saint Anthony (1874) - Les Diaboliques (The She-Devils) (1874) - Anna Karenina (1877) - Index Librorum Prohibitorum (1877) - Flatland (1884) - À rebours (1884) - The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) - Psychopathia Sexualis (1886) - The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) - La Bête humaine (1890) - Hunger (1890) - New Grub Street (1891) - The Yellow Wallpaper (1892) - Jude the Obscure (1895) - The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896) - Dracula (1897) - The She Devils (1898) - Torture Garden (1899)

By language

Printing industry

printing industry

Paper remained relatively expensive through the centuries, until the advent of steam-driven paper making machines in the 19th century, which could make paper with wood pulp. Although older machines predated it, the Fourdrinier paper making machine became the basis for most modern papermaking. Together with the invention of the practical fountain pen and the mass produced pencil of the same period, and in conjunction with the advent of the steam driven rotary printing press, wood based paper caused a major transformation of the 19th century economy and society in industrialized countries. With the introduction of cheaper paper, schoolbooks, fiction, non-fiction, and newspapers became gradually available to all the members of an industrial society by 1900. Cheap wood based paper also meant that keeping personal diaries or writing letters became universal. The clerk, or writer, ceased to be a high-status job, and by 1850 had nearly become an office worker or white-collar worker , which transformation can be considered as a part of the industrial revolution.

Unfortunately, the original wood-based paper was more acidic and more prone to disintegrate over time, through processes known as slow fires. Documents written on more expensive rag paper were more stable. Mass-market paperback books still use these cheaper mechanical papers (see below), but the more careful book publishers now use acid-free paper for hardback and trade paperback books.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "19th century in literature" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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