Thomas Hood

Thomas Hood

Thomas Hood

Thomas Hood

Excerpt

When Thomas Hood was born in 1799, Napoleon was threatening England with invasion, Nelson, having won the Battle of the Nile, was sweeping his country's enemies from the seas, King George III, the loss of the American colonies weighing not at all on his conscience, was sliding rapidly into insanity, and Pitt had just passed his Combination Acts rendering trade unions illegal. Although there were intimations of the far- reaching economic and social changes that were soon to transform the life of the whole nation, most Englishmen still worked on the land or in agricultural trades, and for many of them living conditions were extremely harsh. In literature, the dawn of Romanticism's brightest day was breaking; Wordsworth and Coleridge had lately published their epoch-making Lyrical Ballads, William Blake, rapt in a vision of glory and terror, was writing his Prophetic Books, Walter Scott was collecting his minstrelsy of the Scottish border, and Byron, Keats and Shelley were children growing up in an age in which the ideals of the French Revolution stirred the hearts and inspired the minds of serious young men.

When Hood died in 1845, Queen Victoria had been eight years on the throne, Napoleon was a distant memory and his empire in ruins, slavery had been abolished, income-tax had been introduced, the Reform Bill of 1832 was in operation, Catholics had been emancipated and the Oxford Movement had split open over the conversion of John Henry Newman, Karl Marx was writing Das Kapital under the dome of the British Museum, the small yeoman farmer had virtually disappeared and most Englishmen had become town-dwellers engaged in industry. In literature, Robert Browning, with his Bells and Pomegranates, had established himself, at least in the eyes of the discerning, as a highly individual talent, John Ruskin had published the first instalments of Modern Painters, Charles Dickens . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.