Seminar paper from the year 2005 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Culture and Applied Geography, grade: 1,7 , University of Hannover ( Universität Hannover), course: Britain's Industrilisation , 8 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Industrialisation influenced social, political and cultural principles of the British society of that time in different ways. As a reaction to social and historical changes in the country some new literary forms came into being. Literary critics of the Victorian period put emphasis on the social novel as the most common narrative form of the time. The reason for predominance of this literary genre seems to be obvious: the social novel is 'the vehicle best equipped to present a picture of life lived a given society.' However, the phenomenon of the popularity of the social novel and its contribution to the development of the new value system cannot be explained in one sentence. In this paper I am going to illustrate in which ways the social novel as a literary genre responded to industrial processes in terms of its themes and attitudes. The relation between literature and society is always a two-way relation. On the one hand, the social novel was seen as 'a mirror of social changes'; on the other hand, it fulfilled certain functions aimed to influence the society in different ways. The second part of my paper deals with the function of the social novel. Since my aims are concerned with the general description of the social novel as a genre, I will not give a detailed analysis of individual novels. To illustrate my arguments by examples, I used 'North and South' by E. Gaskell and 'Hard Times' by C. Dickens. Both novels appear to be the clear representatives of the genre.