Edwardian era, in English history, period from the accession of Edward VII to the outbreak of World War I, 1901–14. Apart from general peacefulness, opulence, and elegance, it was characterized by a growing awareness of social problems, questioning of established authority, and disregard for traditions. In politics the era was dominated by the Liberal Party (led by Herbert Asquith), the rise of the Labour Party, and the agitation for women's suffrage. Representative literature included the novels of Arnold Bennett and H.G. Wells, the plays of George Bernard Shaw, and the poetry of Rupert Brooke. Major figures in the visual arts were Walter Sickert, P. Wilson Steer, and Wyndham Lewis, and in music, Edward Elgar.