Victorian literature is literature written in England during the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 -1901. However, much of the literature of the nineteenth century is sometimes broadly classified as Victorian. England changed rapidly during this time causing significant disruption in the economic, political, social and intellectual traditions and so the literature of the era is closely related to the history of the period. The country was transformed from an agricultural base into an industrial economy where a factory system was developed to manufacture goods. The growth of the railways connected the suburbs and was responsible for the expansion of the cities. It was also a period of scientific discovery which challenged religious beliefs. The middle class became very prosperous and people were interested in learning to read and acquire facts and information. Women gained significant legal and social rights during this time. All of these changes which took place during a relatively short period of time are reflected in the works of Victorian writers and poets.