What was happening when Great Expectations was written?
Dickens's writing career begins about the time Queen Victoria takes the throne. It's said that, between them, Victoria and Dickens were the Victoria Age and it's hard to say whether his books reflected or created the general atmosphere of the time. His career also coincided with the later years of the Industrial Revolution sweeping over England. The Revolution raised the standard of living for many by employing workers in factories. More products could be manufactured in the same amount of time, thus almost eliminating much of the cottage industry. Before the revolution began in the 1700s, goods were produced by hand in mostly rural areas and the introduction of machines threatened and angered many people. Riots, sabatoge, looting, even murder followed. England was also expanding its rule in India and solidifying the roots of the family tree with heirs in Germany, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Spain. Lord Welbourn was Victoria's prime minister during her first years on the throne (1835-1841) and helped and supported her through that time.