The Victorian era, named for Queen Victoria of England and coinciding with her reign from 1837 to 1901, covers a period so full of complex change and advancement that some have called it the second English Renaissance. The Victorians were concerned with much more than modest dress, and many technologies and social and philosophical ideas familiar to us today stem from the cerebral, socially conscious Victorians.

Discoveries and Inventions

The Victorian era was a time of numerous inventions, including the bicycle, telephone, commercial railways, Morse Code, steel-framed buildings, X-rays and even baby buggies. Victorians experienced rapid advancements in science, such as evolution, and the era gave rise to the literary genre of science fiction. Meanwhile, Britain expanded its colonies in Africa.

Literature and Life

Many of the great Victorian novels are classics today, including those by Dickens, George Eliot, the Bronte sisters and Thomas Hardy. Through literature, the Victorians grappled with applying their faith to practical matters, such as giving charity to the poor, and some questioned the whole institution of religion, such as Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx. Many novels illustrated the great divide between the lower and upper classes.