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ROMANTICISM. ROMANTICISM 1750-1850 OR 1789-1820 What central concepts would you associate with Romanticism? Nature Poet Feeling “language near to the.

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Presentation on theme: "ROMANTICISM. ROMANTICISM 1750-1850 OR 1789-1820 What central concepts would you associate with Romanticism? Nature Poet Feeling “language near to the."— Presentation transcript:


2 ROMANTICISM OR What central concepts would you associate with Romanticism? Nature Poet Feeling “language near to the language of men”

3 THE POEMS "The Daffodils" and "My Heart Leaps up" by Wordsworth ( ) "Ode to the West Wind" by Percy Shelley (1819) "Ode to a Nightingale" by Keats (1819)

4 WORDSWORTH ( ) Nature and happiness (gay, jocund…) Unity within nature (flowers, stars, waves) and nature/culture (poet as cloud) Personification (daffodils heads dancing) The poet: isolated, initial mood "solitary" --> communion with nature Creative process, imagination of mind: power to relive endlessly that scene of joy Childhood: forming who we are, continuation Simple style: democratic

5 SHELLEY ( ), ODE TO THE WEST WIND "I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!" Nature powerful, humans weak and decay Life and death intertwined (grave/womb of seeds, destroyer/preserver) Ambiguous relation nature/poet: who is the instrument of whom? (Be thou, …, my spirit! Be thou me) Youth and maturity: a downward slope? Cycle of life: hope, fear? "If winter comes, can spring be far behind?" (Sure of the answer?) Poem as effecting what it describes: using the incantation to the Wind as a way of expressing his own thoughts

6 Political agitation couched in natural imagery His thoughts: hope for regeneration even after it has all gone wrong (Napoleon and Revolution's defeat, reactionary times in England, censorship of rebellious ideas) 1819: year of Peterloo massacre (trade union demonstration brutally attacked by police)

7 KEATS ( ), ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE More than Wordsw.'s poem, mood of poet: down at the outset ("my heart aches", suicidal tendency, "half in love with easeful death") Two worlds opposed: changing, thinking and decaying man vs immortal and unburdened nature Negative view of cycle of life vs Shelley? Poetry: access to other dimensions (// drug) but not quite successful Poetry vs brain Dream



10 FRANKENSTEIN AND ROMANTICISM Enlightenment and science as problematic (in Robert Walton, p.1, lesson of Frankenstein's tale as he announces it p.31: "learn from me… how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge")

11 FRANKENSTEIN AND PARADISE LOST Knowledge and hubris (// Prometheus, Frankenstein, Walton) God complex (creation of man), p.32 "Life and death appeared to me as ideal bounds, which I would first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless me as its creator" Satan: villain or victim Adam as innocent but taking his responsibility (what ab. Frankenstein?)

12 Why does it go all wrong? (The species does not bless its creator) Knowledge and ambition/ domestic felicity and human bonds Fatherhood: all power but no responsibility (his duty, p.65-66) Selfishness vs love and solidarity (me, me, me of Victor even as Justine is about to be executed, when he only imagines his death and not Elizabeth, or when sailors on board Walton's ship request him to abandon his project) Is Victor right to destroy the female creature?

13 FRANKENSTEIN AND NATURE Freedom, no cares vs human mind, angst… (// Keats) Power of nature to soothe (up to a point)

14 FRANKENSTEIN AND HUMAN NATURE Vol ii chap. 3 Creature as manifesting innate sense of beauty, feeling, love (73), "Noble Savage" Ideas of Golding about evil as result of maltreatment or injustice What ab. Frankenstein's "evil"? (Darker forces at stake than simply social conventions, own irrational ambitions, desires…) Is nature good? If so… (Rousseau hope to change institutions so they reflect true human nature)

15 FRANKENSTEIN AND EDUCATION "Childhood" of creature (69) Creature as rational and enlightened (65)

16 FRANKENSTEIN AND STRUCTURE Just like the thematic of novel is about human bonds and domestic ties, the Russian doll structure embodies that concern with ties Allows for many //isms between characters (Walton/Frankenstein, Frankenstein/Creature: whose feelings are often described as being the same, cf. p.57/92, p.64/81)

17 FRANKENSTEIN AS NOVEL Realism of exploration of human mind vs plausibility of plot Gothic: interest in mind and irrational

18 “Should Walton give up his dreams? Should nature be left alone? Ls ambition the source of evil? The novel firmly answers Yes and No. Indeed, the capacity for arguing both sides of a question, or for providing material to undermine its own first premises, accounts for much of the fascination-as well as the terror-of Frankenstein.” (Lawrence Lipkin, 330)

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