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The Victorian Period can be regarded as the period of progress and prosperity. It is a very significant age. Because we find several changes in different sectors in this period. These changes are obvious in politics in economics, in religion and even in literature. Science and realism have also brought a great change in the mind of the Victorians. Realism becomes dominant in the social life of the Victorian people. Mills, industries and factories advance Industrial Revolution and they change their mode of life. So the impact of science on Victorian literature is immense. Many factors were active in the Victorian Period. They were nothing but the movements at that time. Among them, two prominent factors in the life and literature of the era are remarkable. They are the steady advance of democratic ideals and the progress of scientific thought. Both these movements profoundly affected the literature of the period, both directly and indirectly. The advance of science profoundly affected the outlook and temper of man as well as intellectual activity during the period. The evolutionary theories of Charles Robert Darwin and Herbert Spencer completely revolutionized the contemporary views about man and society. Faith in "The Biblical" view of creation was shaken. It was replaced by the Darwinian theory of evolution through struggle for existence According to Compton-Rickett, science influenced the literature of the period in two ways. First, it fostered a spirit of restlessness and by increasing man's material resources. It commercialized contemporary life. Wordsworth lamented the increasing materialism at the very outset when he cried out-
The world is too much with us, late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers". 

Matthew Arnold laments over the death of the religious faith in many of his poetry too. "Dover Beach" is one of them. In "The Scholar Gipsy", he has regarded the Victorians as the moderns. He considers them to be materialistic.The effects of geological and biological discoveries shook to its depths the old theories of creation. The general spiritual unrest is reflected most remarkably in Mid-Victorian poetry. Scientific creations made the Victorian people sceptic. In this regard, Compton-Rickett says, The questioning note in Clough, the pessimism of James Thompson, the wistful melancholy of Matthew Arnold the fatalism of Fitzgerald, all testify to the sceptical tendencies evoked by scientific research. It did not kill poetry, but it stifled for a while the lyric impulse and overweighed verse with speculative thought". Tennyson wanted compromise between science and religion."Let knowledge grow from more to more", he says. Thus he welcomes the scientific advancement of the age. But he also wishes that more of faith should dwell in the human heart as in the past, so that together, science and religion, may make one nusic and contribute to the happiness and well being of man. The scientific method is more important even than matter of science. It invades the art of the age. In accuracy of detail it would be impossible to rival the scenic descriptions of Tennyson. His nature poetry is like the work of an inspired scientist. If we pass from poetry to history and fiction, we can see the dominance of the scientific method more clearly. In the poetry of Tennyson and the novels of Thomas Hardy, nature no longer remains a, "kindly mother" with a "holy plan" of her own. Tennyson speaks of Nature as "red in tooth and claw". He is conscious of the grim struggle for survival which goes on within her. Thomas Hardy is even more explicit. He paints both the ugly and the beautiful in Nature. He regards "mutual butchery" as the law of Nature. He gives a knock-out blow to the romantic exaltation of Nature. He makes us see her in her true colours.
impact of science on victorian literature

In fiction, the scientific spirit is no less discernible. The problem of heredity and environment pre-occupies the attention of the novelists like Hardy. Again Compton-Rickett says," The social problems of the carlier Victorians of Charlotte Bronte, Dickens, Kingsley, and Reade, give place to points in biology, psychology, pathology. The influence of Herbert Spencer and of Comte meets us in the pages of George Eliot; while the analytical methods of science are even more subtly followed in the fiction of George Eliot, the early writing of Mrs. Humphry Ward, and the intimate Wessex studies of Thomas Hardy".Certain poets of the Victorian Age apparently show no influence of the scientific movement of the age. The Pre Raphaelites poets and artists are indifferent to it. However their aestheticism and exclusive concern with beauty may also be taken as a reaction to the increasing materialism and matter of-factness of the age. These theories were encouraged and fostered by science. Actually the Pre-Raphaelites follow the theory of "Art for Art's Sake."


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