Kelsie Tylka's blog

Victorian Egyptomania

Egyptomania was a Victorian fad that began as the result of Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt from 1798-1801. By the Victorian Era, as imperialism continued to expand and study of ancient cultures became popular, the appropriation of Egyptian relics and cultures came to England.  Egyptian aesthetic influenced décor and eventually Egyptomania led to macabre events, such as “unwrapping” parties, which involved obtaining a mummy to unwrap as a social event. These social events became so popular that one gentleman wrote that he had been to over forty of these unwrapping’s.

“The Angel in the House” by Coventry Patmore

This poem extols the virtues of an ideal woman during Victorian times. Coventry Patmore wrote this poem to memorialize his deceased wife, Emily. It chronicles a young, virtuous woman’s life from youth to marriage and all that a man should expect from their devoted wives. This poem was published in four installations in 1858, but didn’t gain popularity until later in 19th century. This popularity made it a common fixture in Victorian libraries. The term “Angel in the home” became a universal term for women of this era.

The Role of the Governess in Victorian Society

A governess is a women employed in a private household to educate pupils (usually girls) in a range of “accomplishments” ranging from reading to drawing. Governesses became increasing popular through the Victorian era for both the Upper and Middle-classes. Women who became governesses were generally “ladies” of an upper or middle-class upbringing themselves that had fallen on hard times and required to work for their living. Generally, governesses would live in the household and receive a salary along with their room and board.

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