Sie sind auf Seite 1von 3

92 The Romantic Period

1785-1830 Politics/economics Time of change and unrest: England changes from agricultural society to industrial Power shifts almost completely from landholding nobility to big business Revolutions in America and France English intellectuals back both; France catches fancy of English at first Thomas Paine -- Rights of Man William Godwin -- Inquiry Concerning Political Justice (evolution of civilization until all property distributed equally, and no need for government) (influenced Wordsworth and Shelley) France moves off into grim area (guillotining and killing) Rise of Napoleon -- War with Europe Period of repression in England Family farms and rural areas broken up, people with no place to go England divided even more into capitol and labor (Businessman and worker) Workers had virtually no rights, no laws, no protection (children aged 5 working in coal mines) Mary Wollstonecraft -- Vindication of the Rights of Woman Individualism, infinite striving, and nonconformity Apocalyptic visions French and American revolutions signal the apocalypse, end/beginning; Literature -- "the spirit of the age" (political and social revolution) An age of new beginnings ("the dawn of a new era, a new impulse had been given to men's minds) Poetry -- Lyrical Ballads -- 1798 (Preface to Lyrical Ballads 1800) Overturned the strict rules applied on poetry by Augustans (practiced Poetry was not "a mirror held up to nature" -- poet artfully renders and orders to instruct give artistic pleasure to reader Poetry was "spontaneous overflow of emotion, recollected in tranquility" (Wordsworth) -- source of poetry not in outer world but poet; Coleridge -- poetry is like plant, begins with seed in poets mind and grows by assimilating poet's emotions and experiences Poet -- "common man with more insight" Lyric poem becomes major form (earlier regarded as minor) "I" begins to be identified with poet himself Wordsworth further creates the persona of the "Bard" or "chosen son" and presents himself as prophet spokesman for Western Civilization at a time of crisis Precepts of Preface to Lyrical Ballads -- Poetry was meant to be spontaneous and free; role of instinct, intuition, the feelings of the "heart" to supplement reason -- Nature became focus; poet is to describe faithfully what he sees; landscapes became prominent; find the wonder in the familiar -- Glorification of the commonplace; all things are equally fit subjects for poetry (Byron is lone holdout) -- The supernatural and "Strangeness in Beauty"; supernatural events have deep psychological import (Coleridge and Keats) Magazines -- new freedom and latitude to writers Drama -- legal restrictions curtailed theatrical productions; poets wrote closet plays Novel -- two new types of fiction came into being Gothic -- derives from setting (gloomy castle of the Middle Ages) but extended to include all novels set in past which exploit mystery and terror in sullen, craggy landscapes; decaying mansions with dank dungeons, secret passages and stealthy ghosts; chilling supernatural phenomena; and often sexual pursuit of maiden by villain open up dark, irrational side of human nature

93 Novel of purpose -- written to spread the new social and political theories William Godwin -- Caleb Williams (lower classes hopelessly subjected to the power and privilege of ruling class) Two major authors of this period were Jane Austen (Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility) and Sir Walter Scott (Rob Roy, Ivanhoe, The Heart of Midlothian) William Blake -- 1757-1827 Spiritual and Coporeal lives; possessor of a "Divine Vision" Illustrator of others; early and late in life; His own books: relief etching -- worked in reverse on copper; colored by hand; Illustration important part of total work; Poetical Sketches -- 1783; displays dissatisfaction with poetic tradition; new forms and techniques; turns back to Elizabethans Songs of Innocence -- 1789; Songs of Innocence and Experience -- 1794; world as it is seen by "two contrary states of the Human soul" -compressed metaphors and symbols The Four Zoas, Milton, Jerusalem -- 1820; created his own mythology; written in persona of "the Bard / Who Past Present and Future sees."; Human Form Divine; vision and imagination -- readers take his works literally, when he means them figuratively -- "That which can be made Explicit to the Idiot, is not worth my care." Begins to change the way "nature" is viewed; emphasizes senses Songs of Innocence and Experience -- Introduction; The Lamb; The Chimney Sweeper; Infant Joy; The Divine Image- Introduction; The Clod and the Pebble; The Chimney Sweeper; The Sick Rose; The Tyger; London; Infant Sorrow; A Divine Image

Robert Burns 1759-1796 Hailed in native Scotland as an example of what Wordsworth would eventually define as a poet: common man with more insight. Not as well received in England for that very reason. Wrote in the Scots dialect. Many of his lyric poems turned into songs and many songs read as poetry. "Song: For a' that and a' that," "To a Mouse," "To a Louse," "Tam O'Shanter" William Wordsworth -- 1770-1850 "Lake District Poet", various walking tours of British Isles and France (Prelude -- 1799-1850); infatuated with French Revolution (1790-92); disillusioned by French Revolution (1793-94); returns to England; meets Coleridge (1797) Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems (1798) -- clearly announces a new literary departure; includes Tintern Abbey Lyrical Ballads/Preface (1800) -- enunciated the principle so the new criticism that served as rationale for the new poetry; includes Ruined Cottage Poems in Two Volumes (1807) -- end of the great decade; The Excursion (1814) -- powers decline after that; poetry is spontaneous overflow of emotion recollected in tranquility; poem exhibits discrepancy between "two consciousnesses -- himself as he is and as he was" living on capital -- only so much emotional experiences to draw upon Life becomes tragic hereafter -- 1805, brother drowns; two children die, 1812; estrangement from Coleridge, 18101830; poor health of sister; Named poet laureate 1843; Lyrical Ballads -- We Are Seven, Expostulation and Reply; The Tables Turned; Tintern Abbey; (First Stanza) from Preface to Lyrical Ballads -- Subject and Language of Poetry (6th Paragraph;) What is a Poet? (1st Paragraph); Emotion Recollected in Tranquility (1st Paragraph); Michael; London, 1802; The world is too much with us: Samuel Taylor Coleridge -- 1772-1834 "Lake District Poet"; early radical, later conservative; published Lyrical Ballads with Wordsworth in 1798, apex of his life; became addicted to laudanum; fell out with Wordsworth in 1810, nadir of his life; philosophical/intellectual; seen as a poet of promise, not production; The Eolian Harp; Rime of the Ancient Mariner; Biographia Literaria Chapter 4 (Paragraph 1)

94 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley -- 1797-1851 Daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft; (parents didn't believe in marriage and lived in two separate houses); eloped with Percy Bysse Shelley at 16, married at 19; life contains the tragic elements of the romantic poet: mother died giving birth to her; her half-sister committed suicide; Shelley's wife drowned herself and unborn child upon Shelley's departure; first three children died; Shelley drowned; -- wrote Frankenstein while in Switzerland withByron and others; immediate success; Frankenstein -- combination novel: gothic and novel of purpose; deals with two central Romantic themes: Frankenstein represents the overachiever and his ambition that dehumanizes and destroys all he Loves; creature represents the romantic concern with human isolation and alienation; analogies to the Bible and Milton's Paradise Lost; issues of science and technology severed from moral and social concern and relationship of creator to creature (God to humanity); George Gordon, Lord Byron -- 1788-1824 Most widely acclaimed of Romantics during his lifetime, opposite of today's view; least like the others; viewed Pope as "true" poet; born with club foot; Scotch Presbyterian (Calvinist); at age ten became Lord Byron; wrote in neoclassic tradition (elevated language); created the "Byronic hero" who appears first in Childe Harold as a moody, passionate, and remorse-torn but unrepentant wanderer; somewhat erotic in his attraction for other characters; descendants include: Heathcliffe in Wuthering Heights, Ahab in Moby Dick; led to Nietzche's Superman, the hero who stands outside concept of good and evil; "awoke one morning and found myself famous", gave away royalties from his publications; extremely handsome and much sought after by women; married to stop the chasing; public perceived the Byronic hero as Byron himself; forced to leave England; spent time in Italy, met up with Shelley, continued his work on Don Juan, mock-epic, satire against modern civilization; extremely dedicated to individual and nationalistic freedom, he went to Greece to lead the freedom fighters there, died of fever at 36; (Written after Swimming; So, we'll; When a man; Childe Harolde Canto 3; Don Juan) Percy Bysshe Shelley -- 1792-1822 Dedicated life to war against oppression and injustice (picked on as child); radical and unconventional; expelled from college; married at 18 (wife was 16); met William Godwin; ran away with Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (brought along her sister and invited his wife to come along, too); public disfavor follows, wife drowns herself; moves to Italy, where he sees himself as an outcast from humanity to whom he had dedicated himself; loved to read (read constantly); power of love would reform humanity; believed in the platonic/neo-classic view of two worlds: sense; and perfect and eternal Forms; we must cling to hope no matter how bleak it looks because its opposite, despair, is a self-fulfilling prophecy; drowned in a boating accident in 1822. [(Mutability; To Wordsworth; Ozymandias; A Song: "Men of England"; England in 1819; Ode to the West Wind; Prometheus Unbound (Ed Intro); To A Skylark; Adonais (Ed Intro] John Keats -- 1795-1821 Poor beginnings; imitated other's writings (in fact, susceptible to other's influences); foreboding of early death (mother and brother die of TB); unwilling (unable to marry sweetheart); details that bring all five senses into play to bring total appreciation of an experience; joy in existence of an object outside himself; all experiences are a tangle of inseparable but irreconcilable opposites; his achievements, for his age, far exceed those of Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer On First Looking into Chapman's Homer -- 1816; comes out of nowhere, Endymion -- 1817; 4,000 lines, allegory of male's quest for an ideal feminine counterpart; 1819 -- annus mirabilis (miracle year); composed nearly everything of merit: The Eve of St. Agnes; la Belle Dame sans Merci; all the "odes"; Lamia; number of sonnets; The Fall of Hyperion -- epic poem; modeled after Paradise Lost; begun and stopped; became a dream vision; tale of Hyperion, god of the sun, again asks the question: why evil in a supposedly good world? (On Seeing the Elgin Marbles; When I have fears that I may cease to be; La Belle Dame san s Merci; Ode to a Nightengale