Edwardian period

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The Edwardian period or Edwardian era in the United Kingdom is the period 1901 to 1910, the reign of King Edward VII. It succeeded the Victorian period and is sometimes extended to include the period up to the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912, the start of World War I in 1914, or even the end of the war in 1918.

Perhaps because of the King's fondness for travel, the period was marked by an enthusiasm for the art and fashions of continental Europe.


[edit] Class and society

Socially, the Edwardian era was the period during which the British class system was at its most rigid, although paradoxically, changes in social thought, particularly the rising interest in socialism, attention to the plight of the poor and the status of women, expressed in, for example, the issue of women's suffrage, together with increased economic opportunities as a result of rapid industrialisation, created an environment in which there could be more social mobility and people would become more liberal. This change would be hastened in the aftermath of the first World War.

The upper classes embraced leisure sports, which led to rapid developments in fashion, as more mobile and flexible clothing styles were needed. The corset was modified; its everyday wearing was gradually abandoned.

[edit] The arts

The Edwardian Period was also known as the Belle Epoque - meaning beautiful era. Despite its short preeminence, the period is characterized by its own unique architectural style, fashion, and way of life. Art Nouveau, in particular, held a particularly strong influence. In the United States, the Edwardian Period was followed by the Arts and Crafts Period in design and art which ran concurrently in the UK.

[edit] Theatre

The theatre during the Edwardian Period is marked by the rise of the New Drama, or plays by George Bernard Shaw, Harley Granville Barker, and Continental imports by Henrik Ibsen and Gerhardt Hauptmann; the decline of the actor/manager system as headed by Sir Henry Irving, Sir George Alexander, and Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, which ended effectively with the start of World War I; and the continued popularity of music hall performance.

[edit] Literature

In fiction, some of the best-known names are H.G. Wells, John Galsworthy, Arnold Bennett, Joseph Conrad, E.M. Forster and P.G. Wodehouse. Apart from these famous writers, this was a period when an enormous amount of novels and short stories were being published and consumed, and a significant distinction between highbrow literature and popular fiction was emerging. Among the most famous works of literary criticism was A.C. Bradley's Shakespearean Tragedy (1904).

[edit] A selection of significant events

Edwardian period

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