Notes on Romantic Period
* Began in 1798 with the publication of Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. * Can be remembered as starting in 1789 with the French Revolution and ending with Parliamentary reform in 1832. * First Generation poets consisted of: William Blake, William Wordsworth, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge * Second Generation poets: Percy Bysshe Shelley John Keats, George Gordon, Lord Byron * Began careers in second decade of new century but died before 1825 * Political upheaval in France and the United States touched England as well. Conservative economic and political measures and a lengthy war against Napoleon consolidated the power of the rich. * During laissez faire the rich grew richer and the poor suffered even more. The system had its most tragic effects on the helpless and children. Romantic poets turned from formal, public verse to private, spontaneous, lyric poetry. * The poets of the Romantic period responded to social and economic changes caused by rapid industrialization and to government policies that ignored the problems of the poor. * The term romantic signifies a fascination with youth and innocence, a questioning of authority and tradition for idealistic purposes, and an adaptation to change. * Romantic comes from the term romance, one of the most popular genres of medieval literature * In the Romantic period, poetry was no longer used to make complex arguments in a witty, polished style. Romantic poets used unadorned language to explore the significance of commonplace subjects, the beauty of nature, and the power of human imagination. * The speakers in Romantic poetry speak in the language of feelings, or of the heart. This exploration of the emotional experiences of ordinary people was revolutionary * The Romantic poets found a way through the imagination to fulfill the poet’s traditional role as “prophet, priest, and king” in a time of change.
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