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The Romantic Era

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1)WhatisRomanticism

2)HowdidRomanticismappear

3)Whatwere 3maintrends inRomanticism

4)Whatis thedifferencebetween >Songs ofInnocence and >Songs ofExperience

5)Whatthingunitesauthors inLakeSchool

6)Whatauthorsbelonged to LondonRomanticism


1.Romanticism

 

>Romanticism (or theRomanticEra)wasanartistic,literary andintellectualmovement thatoriginated in the secondhalf of the18thcentury in Europe, andgainedstrength inreaction to theIndustrialRevolution.Inpart, itwas arevoltagainstaristocraticsocial and politicalnorms of theAge ofEnlightenment and areactionagainst thescientificrationalization ofnature.Itwasembodiedmoststrongly in thevisualarts, music, andliterature,buthad amajorimpact onhistoriography,education andnaturalhistory.

Themovementvalidatedstrongemotionasanauthenticsource ofaestheticexperience,placing newemphasis onsuchemotionsastrepidation,horror andterror andaweespecially thatwhichisexperienced inconfronting thesublimity ofuntamednature anditspicturesquequalities,both newaestheticcategories.Itelevatedfolk art andancientcustom tosomethingnoble,made ofspontaneity adesirablecharacter (>as in themusicalimpromptu), andarguedfor a ">natural"epistemology ofhumanactivitiesasconditionedbynature in theform oflanguage andcustomaryusage.

>Romanticismreachedbeyond therational andClassicistidealmodels toelevate arevivedmedievalism andelements of art andnarrativeperceived tobeauthenticallymedieval, inanattempt toescape theconfines ofpopulationgrowth,urbansprawl, andindustrialism, and italsoattempted toembrace theexotic,unfamiliar, anddistant inmodesmoreauthenticthanRococochinoiserie,harnessing the power of theimagination toenvision and toescape.

Themodernsense of aromanticcharactermaybeexpressed inByronicideals of agifted,perhapsmisunderstoodloner,creativelyfollowing thedictates of hisinspirationratherthan thestandardways of contemporarysociety.Although themovementwasrooted in theGermanSturmundDrangmovement,whichprizedintuition andemotionoverEnlightenmentrationalism, theideologies andevents of the FrenchRevolutionlaid thebackgroundfromwhichbothRomanticism and theCounter-Enlightenmentemerged. Theconfines of theIndustrialRevolutionalsohadtheirinfluence onRomanticism,whichwas inpartanescapefrommodernrealities;indeed, in the secondhalf of the19thcentury, ">Realism"wasofferedas apolarizedopposite toRomanticism.[6]Romanticismelevated theachievements ofwhat itperceivedasheroicindividualists andartists,whosepioneeringexampleswouldelevatesociety.Italsolegitimized theindividualimaginationas acriticalauthority,whichpermittedfreedomfromclassicalnotions ofform in art.Therewas astrongrecourse tohistorical andnaturalinevitability, azeitgeist, in therepresentation ofitsideas.

>Askanyone on thestreet: ">whatisRomanticism?" andyouwillcertainlyreceivesomekind ofreply.Everyoneclaims to know themeaning of thewordromantic. Thewordconveysnotions ofsentiment andsentimentality, avisionary oridealisticlack ofreality.Itconnotes fantasy and fiction.Ithasbeenassociatedwithdifferenttimes andwithdistantplaces: theisland ofBali, the world of theArabianNights, theage of thetroubadours andeven Manhattan.Advertisinglinks itwith theeffects oflipstick,perfume andsoap.Ifwecouldask the advertisinggenius who,fiftyyearsago,came upwith thebrilliantcigarettecampaign, ">blowsomemyway,"hemayhaverespondedwith ">it'sromantic."

>Thesemeaningscausefewproblems ineveryday life -indeed,few ofuswonderabout themeaning ofRomanticismat all.Yetweuse theexpressionfreely andcasually ("aromantic,candle-litdinner").Butliteraryhistorians andcriticsaswellas Europeanhistorianshavebeenquarrelingover themeaning of thewordRomanticismfordecades,asLovejoy'scommentabovemakesabundantlyclear.One of theproblemsis that theRomanticswereliberals andconservatives,revolutionaries andreactionaries.SomewerepreoccupiedwithGod,otherswereatheistic to thecore.SomebegantheirlivesasdevoutCatholics,livedasardentrevolutionaries anddiedasstaunchconservatives.

TheexpressionRomanticgainedcurrencyduringitsowntime,roughly 1780-1850.However,evenwithinitsownperiod ofexistence,fewRomanticswouldhaveagreed on ageneralmeaning.Perhapsthistellsussomething.Tospeak of aRomanticerais toidentify aperiod inwhichcertainideas andattitudesarose,gainedcurrency and inmostareas ofintellectualendeavor,becamedominant.Thatis,theybecame thedominantmode ofexpression.Whichtellsussomethingelseabout theRomantics:expressionwasperhapseverything tothem --expression in art, music,poetry,drama,literature andphilosophy.Just thesame,olderideasdidnotsimplywitheraway.Romanticideasarosebothasimplicit andexplicitcriticisms of18thcenturyEnlightenmentthought.For themostpart,theseideasweregeneratedby asense ofinadequacywith thedominantideals of theEnlightenment and of thesociety thatproducedthem.

>romanticismintellectualinnocenceexperience

2.HowdidRomanticismappear

 

>Romanticismappeared inconflictwith theEnlightenment. Youcouldgoasfaras tosay thatRomanticismreflected a crisis inEnlightenmentthoughtitself, a crisiswhichshook thecomfortable18thcenturyphilosophy out of hisintellectualsingle-mindedness. TheRomanticswereconscious oftheiruniquedestiny.Infact, itwasself-consciousnesswhichappearsasone of thekeyselements ofRomanticismitself.

Thephilosophiesweretooobjective -theychose toseehumannatureassomethinguniform. Thephilosophieshadalsoattacked theChurchbecause itblockedhumanreason. TheRomanticsattacked theEnlightenmentbecause itblocked the freeplay of theemotions andcreativity. Thephilosophyhadturned maninto asoulless,thinkingmachine -- arobot.In acommenttypical of theRomanticthrust,WilliamHazlitt (1778-1830)asked, ">For thebetterpart ofmy life all Ididwasthink."AndWilliamGodwin (1756-1836), a contemporary ofHazlittsasked, ">whatshall Idowhen Ihaveread all thebooks?"Christianityhadformed amatrixintowhichmedieval mansituatedhimself. TheEnlightenmentreplaced theChristianmatrixwith themechanicalmatrix ofNewtoniannaturalphilosophy.For theRomantic, theresultwasnothinglessthan thedemotion of theindividual.Imagination,sensitivity,feelings,spontaneity andfreedomwerestifled --choked todeath. Manmustliberatehimselffromtheseintellectualchains.Likeone oftheirintellectualfathers,JeanJacquesRousseau (1712-1778), theRomanticsyearned toreclaimhumanfreedom.Habits,values,rules andstandardsimposedby acivilizationgrounded inreason andreasononlyhad tobeabandoned. "Manisborn free andeverywhereheis inchains,"Rousseauhadwritten.Whereas thephilosophiessaw man in common, thatis,ascreaturesendowedwithReason, theRomanticssawdiversity anduniqueness.Thatis,thosetraitswhichsetone manapartfromanother, andtraitswhichsetonenationapartfromanother.Discoveryourself --expressyourself,cried theRomanticartist.Playyourown music,writeyourowndrama,paintyourownpersonalvision,live, love andsuffer inyourownway.Soinstead of the motto, ">Sapere aude," ">Dare to know!" theRomanticstook up thebattlecry, ">Dare tobe!" TheRomanticswererebels andtheyknew it.Theydared tomarch to thetune of adifferentdrummer --theirown. TheRomanticswerepassionateabouttheirsubjectivism,abouttheirtendencytowardintrospection.Rousseausautobiography, TheConfessions (1781),beganwith thefollowingwords:

Iamcommencinganundertaking,hithertowithoutprecedent andwhichwillneverfindanimitator. Idesire tosetbeforemyfellows thelikeness of a man in all thetruth ofnature, and that manmyself.Myselfalone! I know thefeelings ofmyheart, and I knowmen. Iamnotmadelikeany ofthose Ihaveseen. Iventure tobelieve that Iamnotmadelikeany ofthose whoare inexistence.If Iamnotbetter,atleast Iamdifferent.

>Romanticismwas the newthought, thecriticalidea and thecreativeeffortnecessary tocopewith theoldways ofconfrontingexperience. TheRomanticeracanbeconsideredasindicative ofanage of crisis.Evenbefore 1789, itwasbelieved that theancientregimeseemedready tocollapse.Once the FrenchRevolutionentereditsradicalphase inAugust 1792 (>seeLecture 13), thefear of politicaldisasteralsospread. Kingkilling,Robespierre, theReign ofTerror, and theNapoleonicarmies allsignaledchaos -- achaoswhichwoulddominate European political andcultural lifefor the nextquarter of acentury.

>Meanwhile, theIndustrialRevolution infullswing inEnglandsince the 1760s -spread to theContinent in the 1820s,thusaddingentirely newsocialconcerns (>seeLecture 17). Theoldorderpolitics and theeconomyseemed tobefallingapart andhenceformanyRomantics,raised thethreat ofmoraldisasteraswell. Men andwomenfaced theneed tobuild newsystems ofdiscipline andorder, or,at theveryleast,theyhad toreshapeoldersystems. Theerawasprolific ininnovativeideas and new artforms.Oldersystems ofthoughthad tocome totermswithrapid andapparentlyunmanageable change.

>In themidst ofwhathasbeencalled theRomanticEra,aneraoftenportrayedasdevoted toirrationality and ">unreason," themostpurelyrationalsocial science --classical politicaleconomy --carried on theEnlightenmenttradition.Enlightenmentrationalismcontinued tobeexpressed in thelanguage of political andeconomicliberalism.Forexample,JeremyBenthams (1748-1832)radicalcritique oftraditionalpoliticsbecameanactive politicalmovementknownasutilitarianism.AndrevolutionaryJacobinisminundated EnglishChartism --an Englishworkingclassmovement of the 1830s and 40s. The politicalleft on theContinentaswellasmanysocialists,communists andanarchistsalsoreflectedtheirdebt to theheritage of theEnlightenment.

TheRomanticsdefined theEnlightenmentassomething towhichtheywereclearlyopposed. Thephilosophiesoversimplified.ButEnlightenmentthoughtwas andisnot asimple andclearlyidentifiablething.Infact,whathasoftenbeenidentifiedas theEnlightenmentboreverylittleresemblance toreality.Assuccessors to theEnlightenment, theRomanticswereoftenunfair intheirappreciation of the18thcentury.Theyfailed torecognizejust howmuchtheysharedwith thephilosophies.Indoingso, theRomanticsweresimilar toRenaissancehumanists in thatbothfailed toperceive themeaning andimportance of theculturalperiodwhichhadprecededtheirown (>seeLecture 4). Thehumanists, infact,invented a ">middleage"soas todefinethemselvesmorecarefully.As aresult, thehumanistsenhancedtheirownself-evaluation andprestige intheirowneyes. Thehumanistsfoistedanerror onsubsequentgenerations ofthinkers.Theirerrorlay intheirevaluation of thepastaswellas intheirsimplefailure toapprehend orevenshow aremoteinterest in theculturalheritage of themedieval world.Bothaspects of theerrorareimportant.

>With theRomantics, itshowsfirst howmenmakeanidentityforthemselvesbydefininganenemy,makingclearwhattheyoppose,thusmaking lifeinto abattle.Second, itisevident thatfactual,accurate,subtleunderstandingmakes theenemymeremen.Evenbefore 1789, theRomanticsopposed thesuperficiality of theconventions ofanartificial,urban andaristocraticsociety.Theyblurreddistinctionsbetweenitsdecadent,fashionableChristianity orunemotionalDeism and theirreligion oranti-clericalism of thephilosophies. Thephilosophies,expert indefiningthemselves inconflictwiththeirenemy -- theChurch --helped tocreate themythicalungodlyEnlightenmentmanyRomanticssoclearlyopposed.

>Itwasduring the FrenchRevolution andforfifty orsixtyyearsafterward that theRomanticsclarifiedtheiropposition to theEnlightenment.Thisoppositionwasbased onequalmeasures oftruth and fiction. TheRomanticsrejectedwhattheythought thephilosophiesrepresented.Andovertime, theRomanticscame tooppose andcriticizenotonly theEnlightenment,butalsoideasderivedfrom it and themen whowereinfluencedby it.

Theperiodfrom 1793 to 1815was aperiod of Europeanwar.War,yes,butalsorevolutionarycombat --partisanshipseemednormal.Increasingly,however, theRomanticsrejectedthoseaspects of the FrenchRevolution -- theTerror andNapoleon -whichseemed tothem tohavesprungfrom theheads of thephilosophiesthemselves.Forinstance,WilliamWordsworth (1770-1850)wasliving inParisduring theheadydays of 1789 --hewas,at thetime,only 19yearsold.In hisautobiographicalpoem, ThePrelude,hereveals hisexperience of thefirstdays of theRevolution.Wordsworthread hispoem toSamuelTaylorColeridge (1772-1834) in1805--Imightadd that ThePreludeisepic inproportionas itweighs inateightthousandlines.By 1805, thebliss thatcarriedWordsworth andColeridge in the 1790s,had allbutvanished.

>ButforsomeRomantics,aristocrats,revolutionaryarmies,naturalrights andconstitutionalismwerenot realenemies.Therewere newenemies on thehorizon,especiallyafter theCongress of Vienna (1814-1815). TheRomanticsconcentratedtheirattack on theheartlessness ofbourgeoisliberalismaswellas thenature ofurbanindustrialsociety.Industrialsocietybrought newproblems:soullessindividualism,economicegoism,utilitarianism,materialism and thecashnexus.Industrialsocietycameunderattackby newcritics: theutopiansocialists andcommunists.ButtherewerealsomenlikeBenjaminDisraeli (1804-1881) and Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) whoidentified thethreat ofegoismas thechiefdanger oftheirtimes.Egoismdominated thebourgeoisie,especially in France and inEngland.Highervirtues andsocialconcernsweresubsumedby thecashnexus andcrassmaterialism ofanindustrialcapitalistsociety.Artists andintellectualsattacked thephilistinism of thebourgeoisiefortheirlack oftaste andtheirlack ofanhighermorality.Ironically, thebrunt oftheirattackfell on thesocialclasswhichhadproduced thegeneration ofRomantics.

>Romanticismreveals thepersistence ofEnlightenmentthought, theRomanticsdefinition ofthemselves and agradualawareness of a newenemy. Theshift to a newenemyremindsus that theRomanticAgewasalsoaneclecticage. TheEnlightenmentwasnomonolithicstructure --neitherwasRomanticism,howeverwedefine it.Ideas ofanageseldomexistastotalsystems.Ourlabelstooeasilyletusforget thatpastideasfrom thecontext inwhich newideasaredeveloped andexpressed.Intellectualsdo manage toinnovate andtheirinnovationsareoftentimesnotalwaysrecombinations ofwhattheyhaveembraced intheireducation.Intellectual andgeographiccontextsdifferfrom state to state --eventhough Frenchcultureseemed tohavedominated theContinentduring theearlydecades of the19thcentury.Englandis theobviousexception.Germanyisanotherexample -- themovementknownasSturmundDrang (Storm andStress) --wasanindependentculturaldevelopment.

>Nationalvariationswereenhancedwhen,under thedirecteffect of theNapoleonicwars,boundarieswereclosed and theeasyinternational interchange ofideaswasinhibited.Butwarwasnot theonlyelement thatcontributed to thesomewhatinhibitedflow ofideas.Profoundantagonism and thedesire tocreateautonomouscultureswasalsopartiallyresponsible.Thisitselfgrew out ofnewlyfoundnationalistideologieswhichwereindeedcharacteristic ofRomanticismitself.Andwithineachnation state,institutional andsocialdifferencesprovidedlimits to thegeneralassimilation of aclearlydefinedset ofideas.In France,forexample, theacademieswerestrong andduring theNapoleonicera,censorshipwas common.Artists andintellectualsalikewerepreventedfrominnovating oradopting newideas.InGermany, on theotherhand,thingswerequitedifferent. Thesocialstructure, the heavyacademism andspecificinstitutionaltraitsblockedanypossibility oflearning orexpressing newmodes ofthought.

>Mostimportantwere theprogressivechanges in thepotentialaudienceartists andintellectualsnowfaced -most ofthemnowhad todependupon thataudience.Where theaudiencewasverysmall,as in Austria andparts ofGermany, theresultsoftenrangedbetween theextremes ofgreatopenness torigidconservatism.Where theaudiencewassteadilygrowing,as in France orEngland, andwhereurbanization and thegrowth of amiddleclasswastransforming theexpectations of theartist andintellectual,therewas roomforexperiment,innovation andoftentimes,disastrousfailure.Here,artists andintellectualscouldnolongerdependuponaristocraticpatronage.Popularityamong the new andpowerfulmiddleclassaudiencebecame arite ofpassage.

>At thesametime,intellectualscriticized thetasteless andunreceptivephilistinebourgeoisie.Ironically,theywerecriticizing thesameclass and thesamementalityfromwhichtheythemselveshademerged andwhichhadsupportedthem.Inthisrespect, theRomanticagewassimilar to theage ofEnlightenment. A freepress andcareers open totalentprovidedpossibilities ofcompetitiveinnovation.Thisled to newefforts toliterallytrainaudiences tobereceptive to theproductions ofartists andintellectuals.Meanwhile,literaryhacks andGrubStreetwritersproducedpopularpotboilersfor themasses.Allthesecharacteristicsplacedlimitsupon theactivities of theRomantics.Theselimitscouldnotbeignored.Infact,theselimitsoftenexertedpressures thatcanbeidentifiedascauses of theRomanticmovementitself.

>Thereweredirect,immediate andforcefulevents thatmany British and EuropeanRomanticsexperienced intheiryouth. The FrenchRevolutionwas auniversalphenomenon thataffectedthem all.And theNapoleonicwarsafter 1799alsoinfluencedanentiregeneration of Europeanwriters,composers andartists.Those whowere intheiryouth in the 1790sfelt achasmdividingthemfromanearlier,pre-revolutionarygeneration.Those whohadseenNapoleonseemeddifferent andfeltdifferentfromthose whoweresimplytooyoung tounderstand. Thedifferencelay in agreatdiscrepancy in thequality oftheirexperience.Great Europeanevents,suchas theRevolution andNapoleon,gaveidentity togenerations andmadethemfeelasone - asharedexperience.As aconsequence, thequalities ofthought andbehavior in 1790wasdrasticallydifferentfromwhat itwas in 1820.In theRomanticera,men andwomenfeltthesetemporal andexperientialdifferencesconsciously andintensely.Itisobvious, Isuppose, thatonlyafterNapoleoncould thecults of thehero, ofheroworship and of thegeniustakefullform.Andonlyafter 1815couldyouthcomplain thattheirtimenolongerofferedopportunitiesforheroism orgreatness --onlytheirpredecessorshadknowntheseopportunities.

Theintellectualhistorian orhistorian ofideasalwaysfacesproblems.Questions ofmeaning,interpretation andanacceptance of aparticularZeitgeist, orclimate ofopinion or worldviewisseriousbutdifficultstuff.AlthoughwefrequentlyusewordslikeEnlightenment orRomanticism todescribeintellectual orperhapsculturalevents,theseexpressionssometimescausemoreharmthangood.Thereis,forinstance,no18thcenturydocument,noperfectexemplar oridealtype, touseMaxWebersword,whichcanbecalled ">enlightened."Thereis,unfortunately,noperfectdocument oridealtype ofwhichwemaypronounce, ">thisisRomantic."

>Wehaveseen thatoneway todefine theRomanticsis todistinguishthemfrom thephilosophies.But,forboth thephilosophies and theRomantics, Naturewasacceptedas ageneralstandard. Naturewasnatural - andthissuppliedstandardsforbeauty andformorality. TheEnlightenmentsappreciation of Naturewas, ofcourse,derivedwhollyfromIsaacNewton. Thephysical worldwasorderly,explicable,regular,logical.Itwas,asweare allnowconvinced, a Naturesubject tolawswhichcouldbeexpressedwithmathematicalcertainty. Universaltruths -likenaturalrights --were theobject of science and ofphilosophy.And theuniformity of Naturepermitted aknowledgewhichwasrapidlyaccumulatingas aconsequence ofmansrationalcapacity and theuse of science topenetrate themysteries ofnature. TheEnlightenmentdefinedknowledge in aLockianmanner-thatis, aknowledgebased onsenseimpressions.Thiswasanenvironmentalistpsychology,ifyouwill, apsychology inwhichmen knowonlywhattheirsenseimpressionsallowedtheirfaculty ofreason tounderstand.

TheEnlightenmentwasrationalist - itglorifiedhumanreason.Reasonillustrated the power ofanalysis -Reasonwas the power ofassociatinglikeexperiences inorder togeneralizeabouttheminductively.Reasonwas a commonhumanpossession - itwasheldby allmen.Even American ">savages"wereendowedwithreason,hence the18thcenturyemphasis on "commonsense," and the ">noblesavage."Commonsense -revealedbyreason -wouldadmit agroundworkfor a commonmorality.Asnaturewasstudied inorder todiscoveritsuniversalaspects,menbegan toaccept thatwhatwasmostworthknowing andwhatwasthereforemostvaluable,waswhattheyhad in commonwithoneanother.Society,then,becameanobject of science.Societyrevealedself-evidenttruthsabouthumannature -self-evidenttruthsaboutnaturalrights.

>Social and politicalthoughtwasindividualistic andatomistic.As thephysicaluniversewasultimatelymachinelike,sosocialorganizationcouldbefashionedafter themachine. Sciencepronouncedwhatsocietyought tobecome inview ofmansnaturalneeds.Theseneedswerenotbeingfulfilledby thepast --forthisreason, themedievalmatrix and theancientregimeinhibitedmansprogress. Thedesirewas toshapeinstitutions, to changemen and toproduce abettersociety --knowledge,morality andhumanhappiness. Theintentionwasatoncecosmopolitan andhumanitarian. The18thcentury life ofmindwasincomplete. TheRomanticsoptedfor a life of theheart.Theirrelativismmadethemappreciative ofdiversity in man and innature.Therearenouniversallaws.Therearecertainlynolawswhichwouldexplain man. Thephilosophycongratulatedhimselfforhelping todestroy theancientregime.And today,wecanperhapssay, ">goodjob!"Butafter all thedestruction,after theancientidolsfell, andafter thedusthadcleared,thereremainednothing totakeitsplace.Instepped theRomantics whosought torestore theorganicquality of thepast,especially themedievalpast, thepastsodetestedby thepompous,powdered-wigphilosophy.

>Truth andbeautywerehumanattributes. Atruth andbeautywhichemanatedfrom thepoetssoul and theartistsheart.If thepoetsare,asShelleywrote in 1821, the ">unacknowledgedlegislators of the world," itwas world of fantasy,intuition,instinct andemotion.Itwas ahuman world.

3. 3maintrends inRomanticism

>Romanticismwasanartistic andintellectualmovement thatoriginated in thelate 1700s in Western Europe.Transcendentalismwas a group of newideas inliterature,religion,culture, andphilosophy thatemerged in the United States of America in the 1800s.

>Romanticismemergedas areaction tothreeimportanttrends in the 1700s.Onewas theAge ofEnlightenment, theidea thatreasonwas allimportant. TheRomanticsbelieved thatreasoncouldonlytakeyousofar.Toget atrueunderstanding of life,youneededintuition andfeeling.

The secondwas areactionagainstclassicism,whichemphasizedorder,calm,harmony,balance,idealization, andrationality. TheRomanticsthought that lifewaswild andevenmessy.Theythought thatexperiencecouldnotbesqueezedintosomethingorderly andcalm.

The lastwas areactionagainstmaterialism,whichwas thepursuit of money andwealth.Materialismincreasedwith theIndustrialRevolution.Asfactorieswerebuilt in thecities tomakewoolgetbettergradesintocloth,farmerswereforce off thelandwheretheyhadlived andworkedforgenerations.Work life in thefactorieswasdirty anddangerous.Smallchildrenhad toworktwelve ormorehours,sixdays aweek.Manywerekilled on thejob and thefactoryownersdidnotcare.

The terriblecondition of life in thecitieswasone of themainreasons that theRomanticsappreciatednaturesomuch.

>Romanticism inEnglandismostcommonlyconnectedatfirstwith thepoetsWilliamBlake,WilliamWordsworth andSamuelColeridge.Thesethreeareknownas theearlyRomantics.Laterothergreatpoetswouldcomealong. Themostimportant of thelaterRomanticswere JohnKeats,PercyByssheShelley, and LordGeorgeByron.

>Coleridge andWordsworth, whowrote thebook ">LyricalBallads"together in 1798,said in thepreface of thebook,

"Themajority of thefollowingpoemsare tobeconsideredasexperiments.Theywerewrittenchieflywith aview toascertain howfar thelanguage of...

>THEROMANTICMOVEMENT

>Itwas averyimportantculturalphenomenon;anideologicalorientation thatcharacterizedmanyaspects of life, all infact.Allkinds ofculturalmanifestationswereinfluencedby it.Itstarted inGermany andextended allover Europe.Ittookplaceover averylongperiodfrom thelate18thCentury up to thefirsthalf of the19th.Yet theRomanticinfluencecanbeperceivedthroughout thewhole of theVictorianPeriod (>19th .).

>Romanticismis arejection of theNeo-classicalprinciples:hierarchy,balance,decorum,scalenature,rationalism, etc.Itis areactionagainstphysicalmaterialism.

>Inspite ofbeingopposites,Neo-classicism andRomanticismsharemanythings.Forinstance,Benevolism,whichwas theseed ofRomanticism,firstappeared abitbefore thefirsthalf of the18thCentury.

>Romanticismemphasizes onindividuals, theimaginative, thespontaneous, thespiritual.Among themostcharacteristicattitudes ofRomanticismare thefollowing:

>Strongappreciation of thebeautiful:searchforbeautyistheirmainaspiration.Thereis astrongappreciation of thebeauties ofnature,whichis theprojection ofperfection, itis ahealingagent,somethingnecessary toenjoy life.Thisideacanalsobefound in thepreviouscentury.

>Emotionis ontop ofreason:emotionispraisedat theexpense ofreason. Theexaltation ofsensesoverintellectis aconstantitem inRomanticliterature.Thingsapprehendedbymeans offeelingwerepreferred tothoseacquiredbyreason.

>Exaltation ofchildhood:because of theassociationwithspontaneity,freshness,gaiety andinnocence.Childrenshouldbeourpoint ofreference. (>Rousseau: manisgoodbynature andcorruptedbycivilization).

>Exaltation ofindividualdifferences: thedifferentmentalpotentialities thatindividualshaveareveryworthbeing takenintoaccount.Theyare asource ofinspirationforthem.National andethnicdifferencesalsoareveryinteresting.Theydefend thedifferentindividualrealities:exoticplaces,othercountriescustoms, etc.

>Exaltation on thefigure of thehero:anexceptionalhumanbeing, amodel tofollow, aByronicprotagonist.Theyshow adeepinterest in thehero'spersonalevolution.

>Attractiontowards theunsophisticated: thesimple, thehumble, thenave.Thisgoeshand inhandwithphilanthropy,withBenevolism.

Thecontinuouspresence ofopposites, ofapparentopposites,isverysignificant ofthisperiod.

A newconcept of thewriter: theartistwasanindividualcreator.Hiscreativepotentialwasmoreimportantthanabiding therules.Beingoriginalmattersfor thefirsttime inhistory.Originalityis themostimportantthing.Thisbringswith it a newidea of thework of artaswell. Poetry orliterature ingeneralwasnolonger amerereproduction ofreality (>Neo-classicalliteraturewas amirrorovernature).Externalrealitydoesmatter,but itis theway itisreproduced, theauthor'spersonalinterpretation,not thecontent,whatisimportant.

>Imaginationis thegateway toreach thespiritualsphere.Experienceisimportanttoo,butimaginationissuperior.Itis thesupremementalfacultyparexcellence.Itallows theindividual togobeyond the world ofexperience inorder tocatch aglimpse of thedivine.

>Thereisalsoanobsessiveinterest infolkculture:somethingpicturesqueissomethingattractivebecause itisold andunspoiled. Thepastwassomethingidealizedbecause itwouldnevercomeback.Theyfoundtightconnectionsbetweentheirthinking and the '>agriculturalpast'.Theywerealsoverymuchinterested inpreviousperiodssuchas theRenaissance or theMiddleAges,whichforthemwerenotsodark.

>Wecanalsofind apredilectionfor themysterious: theawkward, theoccult, all in all, apredilectionfor thesublime. Thesublimeissomethingveryclose tobeauty,buttheymakeyoufeeldifferently.Beautyinferspeace,attraction and thesublime,like astormforexample,makesyoufeelfear,whichcanalsobeveryattractive. Thesublimeis thejuxtaposition ofboththings:attraction andfear.According to theRomantics, thesublimeallowsyou toreach averticalaxis, torealize thatwecannot control theUniverse.Anotherfantasticsourceformetaphor,forfigurativelanguage,forexcessivefeelings, etc.

>Romanticismcanbedividedinto twodifferentfaces:

Thefirstfacecorresponds to theearlyRomanticperiodwhichwasmainlyconcernedwithestablishing thetheoreticalfoundations of themovement. Poetry andPhilosophicaltreatisesare themainliteraryformsusedfordefiningRomanticism anditsconcepts.

The secondfacedevelopsfrom the 1830'sonwards andisconcernedwith thespread ofculturalnationalisms.As aconsequence ofthis arenewedinterest in thepast, inoriginssees the light. Thepastisidealized andrecreated. A newgenreemerged: thehistoricalRomancewhichmakesanemphasis on theimaginativecomponent. Thepastisrecreatedwith atouch ofimagination, agoodexample ofthiskind ofliteratureisSirWalterScott'sWaverlyNovels ('>Ivanhoe').

TheRomanticMovementhaditsownpeculiarities ineachcountrybutwecandistinguish twomainbranches: theGermanRomanticismwhichinfluences thewhole of EuropeexceptEngland, and the EnglishRomanticism.

AthirdmaininfluenceuponKantwasexertedbyRousseau. Hewas averydifferentkind ofthinker, acounterinfluence to theRationalists, to theempiricists, toHume. Herejected thepredominance ofreasonoveremotions (>Emile). 'Manisgoodbynature,consequently,childrenshouldbebrought up in thecountry,surroundedbynature andlearnfromexperience. Naturepurifies andcivilizationcorrupts. Natureis amodel toimitate'.

>Thesethreephilosophicaltrendsarecompletelyopposite toeachotherbutKantuses themainideas ofeach andinnovatesphilosophicalthinking.LikeRousseauKantbelieved that,althoughhumanreasoncannotjustify theexistence of aspiritual world, thespiritual worldexistedbecausewefeel thatGodexists.ConsequentlyKantdistinguishes twokinds ofreason:theoretical orpurereason andpracticalreason.

4. Thedifferencebetween >Songs ofInnocence and >Songs ofExperience

>WilliamBlakewas theson of a Londonhosier. Hewasborn in 1757 in London.Whenhewasfourteen,heapprenticed to theengraverJamesBasire.Thisiswherehedeveloped hisskills. Heworkedasanengraver,illustrator, anddrawingteacher.Duringthistime,healsowrotepoems.HisSongs ofInnocencewaspublished in 1789 andSongs ofExperiencewaspublished in 1793.In 1794anedition thatcombinedboth of the two,Songs ofInnocence andExperience,waspublished.In 1809,Blakehadfinancialproblems andbecamedepressed,heshuthimself outfrom therest of the worldfor theremainder of hislive (>Sparknotes).

TheLambisone of thefirst of thepoems inBlakesSongs ofInnocence.Inthispoem, Itake itas theLambsymbolizing JesusChrist. Jesusis theLamb ofGod. TheLambseems tobefrom achildsperspectivealso.When Ipicture Jesus, Iseehimasinteractingwithchildren andhaving aspecialfondnessforthem.Therearemanystories in theBibleabout Jesus andchildren. Achild in thepoemisasking aquestion. Heisasking whomadehim.In the secondstanza,heattempts toanswer thequestion. Hesays thathe whomadehimalsocallshimself aLamb andwearecalledby hisname.

TheSongsfromExperiencestarts outwithEarthsAnswer.Thisis asorrowfulpoem,full ofdread.Itcanseenojoy in the world.Eventhrough themostlight-filledtimeshere on earth,heseems tofindsomethingdark anddrearywith it. Heseems tothink that thefather ofmenisselfish andvain.Whywould Hecreatesorrow andsadness,when itwouldbemucheasierforeveryone tobe happy?

>Little Black Boyis the nextpoem.Thispoemisabout alittle blackchild and hismother. ThemotherteachesherchildaboutGod and howheloveseveryone. Hecreatedeveryone thewaytheyare andlovesthem thewayhemadethem. Hedoesntcareifyouare black orwhite,whenhecomes totakeyou up toheavenwithhim itmakesnodifference.Aslongasyouliveaccording to hisways,hepaysnoattention tosomethingsuchasskincolor.

>HolyThursdayisaboutmanyyoungorphans thataremarchingthrough thetown to thechurch.Theyaregoing tochurch topayrespects andacknowledge theholiday ofHolyThursday.HolyThursdayis theday that JesusChristdiedfor all ofoursins.Itis theday thatwewereforgiven andgiven thechance tohaveeternal life.Theysangwithgreatenergy andloudness.Thiswas aday thattheygot all oftheirtroubles andhardships andput thatenergyintotheirpraisingGod.

>Many ofthesepoemsarehard toreadbecausetheyaresad andnotmanyareupliftingat all.

 


5. The >thingunitesauthors inLakeSchool

The group ofpoets whogatheredfirst in Bristol in 1795 andlater in theLakeDistrictintroduced newaccounts of therelationship of themind tonature, newdefinitions ofimagination, and newlyric andnarrativeforms.Theirtheories ofcreativityemphasized theindividualimagination,buttheirpractice ofwritingtellsanother story,one ofcollaborativewriting.Thispracticeoriginated inimagining asocial community thatSamuelTaylorColeridge andRobertSoutheycalledpantisocracy, orgovernmentby all.Coleridge andSoutheymet inJune 1794,planned toemigrate toPennsylvaniawith afewfriends toset upanideal communitybased onabandoning privateproperty, andtogethercomposedpoetry anddelivered publiclectures toraise moneyfortheiremigration.Pantisocracyprovedutterlyimpractical, andSoutheywithdrewfrom theplan in thesummer of 1795.Theirplansfor a community ofwriterswithsharedpropertychanged to apractice ofcollaborativewriting,dialogiccreativity, andjointpublication.

 

6. The >authorsbelonged to LondonRomanticism

1.EdmundBurke(1729-1797);

2.WilliamGodwin(1756-1836);

3. JohnThelwell (1764-1834);

4.SamuelTaylorColeridge (1772-1834);

5. LordByron (1788-1824);

6.WilliamCowper (17931-1800);

7.WilliamBlake (1757-1827);

8.AnnRadcliffe (1764-1823);

9.RobertSouthey (1774-1843);

10.PercyByssheShelley (1792-1822);

11. ThomasPaine (1737-1809);

12.MaryRobinson(1758-1800);

13.MaryAnneLamb (1764-1847);

14.CharlesLamb (1775-1834);

15. JohnClare (1793-1864);

16.AnnaBarbauld (1743-1825);

17.RobertBurns (1759-1796);

18.MariaEdgeworth (1767-1849);

19.WilliamHazlitt (1778-1830);

20.FeliciaHemans (1793-1835);

21.HannahMore (1745-1833);

22.MaryWollstonecraft (1759-1797);

23.WilliamWordsworth (1770-1850);

24.LeighHunt (1784-1859);

25. JohnKeats (1795-1821);

26.CharlotteSmith (1749-1806);

27.JoannaBaillie (1762-1851);

28.DorothyWordsworth (1771-1855);

29.LadyCarolineLamb (1785-1828);

30.MaryShelley (1797-1851);

31.JohannWolfgangGoethe (1749-1827);

32.HelenMariaWilliams (1762-1827);

33.SirWalterScott (1771-1832);

34. ThomasDeQuincey (1785-1859);

 


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