Visitors reply: why do Us citizens use the term ‘Victorian’?

Why do Individuals use the expression “Victorian”? Victoria came to the British throne in 1837, additional than 60 several years immediately after the US declared independence. Tim Howell, Newquay

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Audience reply

A single solution is: they do and they don’t. American historical past that happened along the north Atlantic coastline is typically referred to as having location “in Victorian times”, but any heritage that occurred west of the Rockies is usually talked over as “in the aged west”. Relying on what time in Victoria’s reign is below discussion, historical past happening in the south-east may possibly be reviewed as “in the operate-up to the civil war” or “during Reconstruction”.

When they do phone American background Victorian, the cause is that Individuals may have declared independence in the authorized feeling, but at the time the British empire was continue to significantly and away the most essential political entity in the English-speaking world. American literature, social mores, style, theatre, field, science and politics have been all deeply formed on a each day foundation by what was occurring in London. Primarily for the duration of the operate of weak, corrupt presidents for the duration of the Gilded Age, it was far more beneficial and intuitive for People to refer to what they thought of as the centre of civilisation. catseyemousehole

I remember currently being surprised to hear San Francisco’s Painted Females getting explained as Victorian. The rationale could be that the metropolis wasn’t the outdated west, but settled in part by Europeans – not automatically British – who had arrived by ship somewhat than by wagon coach throughout the continent. jno50

Frequently talking, in the US, we use the term Victorian for activities, each historic and cultural, that happened in the course of her reign. During that period, there ended up 18 US presidents, who were in place of work for involving six months and eight years, so one particular can rarely define these timeframes as an period. Also, thinking of virtually a quarter of the population were being topics of the British empire at that time, I picture that it turned a reasonably typically recognized expression. Peridot

For the reason that it is shorthand for the bulk of the 19th century, even in Europe. Victoria’s reign was so lengthy and noticed so quite a few adjustments – and not just in Britain or the British colonies. She was also in all probability the previous head of condition to task a world wide graphic for so lengthy. In addition, Victorian is an architectural, vogue and artistic style. AliHargreaves61

As a time period to describe the artwork and architecture of an period, it’s an a lot easier umbrella time period than the wide selection of international ornate variations that ended up well known during Victoria’s reign: all the revival designs these types of as pre-Raphaelite, neo-gothic, neo-Byzantine, Arts and Crafts etc. Its other meanings – prudishness, hypocrisy, or a society the place enormous poverty exists along with intense wealth – are unfortunately as pertinent to specific quarters of American and British culture right now as they had been in the 19th century. appealforsanity

I never know that it is applied very considerably at all in many elements of the US, but commonly it’s in reference to a type of architecture or style, perhaps selected fashions. Undoubtedly, in the north-east, there would in this period nevertheless be a terrific deal of direct trade and conversation amongst Britain and the US, and pretty a great deal of cross-pollination, so to talk, specially amid wealthier family members, in conditions of sending their adult children (sons, predominantly) both east or west throughout the ditch for applications of schooling, apprenticeship and oversight of relatives corporations, cementing of social connections. shangers

Most Americans who use the adjective Victorian utilize it to literature (particularly British literature), and do so correctly to spot it in time, or to an aesthetic reminiscent of the time. The large the vast majority of People in america by no means use the expression at all. There are a lot of explanations for this. The most palatable just one: literature classes for American kids are (regardless of what you may well browse about the authoritarian censorship horrors in Florida) progressively inclusive, with an energy to read through extra ladies, non-heterosexual, non-white writers. quiettess

Progressive/leftwing north-east American right here. I think when it is applied – not pretty typically, the place I’m from – the phrase we’re seeking for is “puritan”. Quips like: “That’s so Victorian,” are really informal, fleeting and so vaguely refer to a time that we assume was a great deal less progressive for women and brutal in many ways, for case in point the ways health conditions and surgeries were managed. barndotghost

We will talk about Victorian attitudes or morals in reference to American mores, but it’s typically a little bit derogatory, as in a fondness for masking table limbs with material. And refusing to acknowledge that tables and chairs have legs. AspasiasUli

We use Victorian to label a established of social mores that we believe have been notable in the British Empire during the mid-19th century, and that “better” American society emulated. It stands in contrast to modernity, the distinction captured by Cole Porter:

In olden days, a glimpse of stocking

Was looked on as some thing shocking

But now, God understands

Something goes.”


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