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The Romantics 1798 - 1832 Nature, Imagination & the Common Man Nature, Imagination & the Common Man.

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Presentation on theme: "The Romantics 1798 - 1832 Nature, Imagination & the Common Man Nature, Imagination & the Common Man."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Romantics Nature, Imagination & the Common Man Nature, Imagination & the Common Man

2 Enlightenment v. Romantic Art

3 The Romantics  Reaction against Enlightenment:  3 Revolutions: Industrial, American, French –“The French Revolution is the master theme of the epoch in which we live.” – Percy Shelley

4 The Romantics  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”

5 The Romantics  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”

6 The Romantics  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.

7 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.

8 Imagination  Enlightenment: –“Held up to nature a mirror” –Full of rules and precedents  Romantics: –Saw man’s “Inner Divinity”

9 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

10 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.

11 Romantic Hero

12  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

13 Supernatural  “Outside of natural law”  Unusual modes of experience  Explored visionary states of consciousness.

14 Gothic Novel  Distinctive element of Romanticism  Enlightenment promoted order, decorum, and rational control  Gothic novels include: –Nightmarish terror –Violence –Aberrant psychological states –Sexual rapacity


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