11. The Victorians

Between the Romantic rebellion, marked by revolution in France and America, and the kindred traumas of the Modernism ushered in by the First World War, comes the long and fascinating interlude of the Victorian period.

As with certain aspects of the Baroque and Rococo, twentieth-century popular and scholarly taste has often disparaged Victoriana for its ornate heaviness and supposed decadence. However, Victorian art and culture have been rediscovered in recent years as rich and compelling, rather than simply reflecting stuffy respectability overlaid with complacency, moral corruption, class injustice and exploitation - realities though these were. The films in this section illustrate the complexity of English culture between 1850 and 1900.