The Romantics 1798 - 1832 Reaction against Enlightenment: 3 Revolutions: Industrial, American, French –“The French Revolution is the master theme of the epoch in which we live.” – Percy Shelley
The Romantics 1798 - 1832 Romantic writers were influenced by: –First, the promise of the French Revolution –Bible - The Apocalypse – a short period of cleansing violence would usher in an age of universal peace (paradise on Earth) “ God will fix the world”
The Romantics 1798 - 1832 Second, by the tragedy of the events in France. Hope shifts from political revolution to social revolution. –Moral and imaginative nature of man –“We will fix the world.” –“The Age of New Beginnings”
The Romantics 1798 - 1832 Lyrical Ballads – 1798 William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge –Used more direct speech from folk traditions –Lyric poetry in the first person Poet himself and his own experience are subject matter.
Nature Meditative poems – scene raises an emotional problem or personal crisis. Endow the landscape with human life, passions, and expressiveness. See in the created universe direct access to God. Sense of wonder, even divinity, in the everyday world.
Imagination Enlightenment: –“Held up to nature a mirror” –Full of rules and precedents Romantics: –Saw man’s “Inner Divinity”
Common Man “All things by nature are equally fit subjects for poetry.” Incidents and situations from common life. Language really spoken by man. –Some poems went beyond humble men –Ignominious or delinquent –Led to Byronic Hero
Romantic Hero Embodied Romanticism’s ideals of individualism and revolution. Britain’s destructive wars prompted many to reconsider the nature of heroism. Romantic hero’s self-assertion and love of power could appear both heroic and demonic.
The Romantic (Byronic) hero was: –Compulsive –An outcast isolated from society –Possessed grandiose, titanic ambition –Defied both heaven and hell –Unrepentant by society’s standards –Satan is the prime example
Supernatural “Outside of natural law” Unusual modes of experience Explored visionary states of consciousness.
Gothic Novel Distinctive element of Romanticism Enlightenment promoted order, decorum, and rational control Gothic novels include: –Nightmarish terror –Violence –Aberrant psychological states –Sexual rapacity