The victorian Era (1837-1901) marked a significant age in the field of literature. In the development of the English novel, Victorian women novelists played a very important role. In the Victorian age, women were considered the “angel in the home”: they were educated in order to become good wives but were not sent to the university. They were responsible for the education of children. Many middle and upper-class women were great readers, and there were also some good women writers. The following are the four very most important women novelists among them:
- Charlotte Bronte
- Emile Bronte
- Mrs. Gaskel
- George Eliot
The three Bronte Sisters-Anne, Charlotte, and Emily are well-known poets and novelists of the Victorian period. They were in actual life shy and isolated girls. They poured their inner life into the mold of the novel. Charlotte Bronte wrote the following four novels:
- The Professor
- Jane Eyre
She was sensitive, passionate, and sensuous by temperament. The first two novels were based on her personal experience. The Professor her first novel describes the events in the life of a schoolmaster in Brussels city. Her best novel is Jane Eyre. It is about a poor and ugly girl who is treated badly by her cruel aunt.
According to Compton Rickett, three characteristics of Charlotte’s writing are-
- The note of intimacy
- The note of passion
- The note of revolt
Emily was a poet as well as a novelist and her only novel Wuthering Heights is known as one of the greatest English Literature novels. In this novel Heathcliff a passionate boy falls in love with Catherine but when Catherine marries Edgar. Then Heathcliff being a life of cruelty and revenge. He marries Edgar’s sister and treats her very cruelly. The novel is full of uncontrolled passions and emotions. The story of the novel is connected with two families.
“Because of its strong emotional quality, Wuthering Heights has been compared to Shakespeare’s, King Lear.”
In fact, her only novel Wuthering Heights holds an important position in the history of the English novel. In this novel Emily expresses –
“Infinite passion and the pain of finite hearts that yard.”
Mrs. Gaskel was an English novelist, biographer, and story writer. Her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of Victorian Society, including the very poor. Her work is of interest to social historians as well as readers of literature. Her novels divided themselves into two well-defined categories. First, we have the novel life Mary Borton and Noran And South which deals with social and industrial problems. Secondly, we have novels like Cranford, Ruth, Wives and Daughters, and Sylvia’s Lovers are concerned with ruler life.
George Eliot is one of the most eminent novelists of the Victorian Age. As a novelist, she was one of the greatest Bronte sisters and she was much inspired by Jane Austen of the Romantic age. Her important novels are following
- The Mill on the Floss
- Adam Bede
- Silas Marner
- Middle March
- Daniel Deronda
- Felix Holt
She wrote her novels in the context of human society and human activities. She won a lot of literary prizes in her life. In Middle March she describes her autobiography, which is known as autobiographical fiction.
Besides these above Victorian woman novelists, the Victorian era also produced lots of minor Victorian women novelists such as – Mrs. Trollope, Mrs. Gore, Mrs. Marsh, Mrs. Bray, Mrs. Henry Wood, and Mrs. Oliphant as well. The victorian Era is highly indebted to Victorian Women Novelists which has been above mentioned.