RELIGIOUS LATE VICTORIAN PESSIMISM
The beginning of the Victorian period in England is marked by the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837 and the ending by her death in 1901. The Period is often divided into the early Victorian and the late Victorian which begins around 1870. The age is characterized by great developments in such areas as science, philosophy, economy, culture or literature. Nevertheless, those rapid changes brought the feeling of unrest and confusion among the English people who found it difficult to cope with new discoveries, theories and a new way of life. Contrary to what one may think today, the late Victorians did not consider themselves a fortunate generation: “Whether they belonged to upper, middle, or lower classes, they thought of themselves as living in the time of troubles.”
The Victorian age was a difficult time for Church and religion. Until 1826 Oxford and Cambridge were the only universities in England and Catholics were not allowed to study there. What is more, they could not enter medical or legal profession and they were not allowed to vote until Catholic Emancipation Act in 1829. The Act meant more religious freedom and contributed to diminishing the power of the Anglican Church. There appeared many movements founded by people who felt that the Church had to be reformed. One of them was the Oxford Movement, which aim was to return to the tradition of the Church from the seventeenth century. The most prominent figures of the Movement were John Keble, John Henry Newman and Edward Pussey. The sermon of John Keble in 1833 is considered to be the beginning of the Movement. In his speech on “national apostasy”, Keble fiercely attacked the Reform Act of 1832 according to which the number of the bishops in the Church of Ireland was to be reduced by ten. In his view, the interference of the state in Church affairs was unacceptable. The movement rebelled against liberalism and secularization of...