What are important elements of the social background of the literature of the Victorian era?
Many different aspects of the Victorian era are reflected in the literature of the period. One major social change was industrialization and concomitant urbanization. Many literary works, including much of Charles Dickens, Glaskell's North and South and Disraeli's Sibyl were concerned with the industrial slums of the great manufacturing towns.
Another issue was the changing position of women, reflected in many mid-century novels such as those of George Eliot, and culminating with the fin de siecle "new woman" novel.
Finally, the growth of mass literacy and invention of cheap paper made from wood pulp create a new type of market for literary works, making them affordable to a wider range of social and economic classes than in previous centuries.