THE CROSSROADS OF POWER: SOCIAL CLASSES IN CONINGSBY AND VANITY FAIR

Abstract

Author(s): Seda RMENGL

Victorian England consisted of three main social classes whose interests were in conflict with each other: the aristocracy, the middle classes and the working class. Industrial Revolution led to rising in production and trade and changing in division of labor in Victorian England. Thus a new kind of social organization came to the fore. Money gained power over inheritance, thereby undermining the former prestige of the hereditary aristocracy. These changing social relations were highly manifested in Victorian novel . Coningsby (1844) by Benjamin Disraeli and Vanity Fair (1848) by William M. Thackeray are two examples to be studied in this context . In these novels, representations of class structure reflect the existing power relations in the society and also authors’ attitudes to these power relations. The conflict between the aristocracy and the upper-middle class implies a power struggle and the importance of money to shape the social structure. The changing economic condition also prompts the social mobility and encourages lower-middle class to climb the social ladder. Different social layers strive to find a proper place in recently developed power relations. This paper aims to analyze structuring of the social classes in Victorian England as reflected in these two novels.

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