Romanticism and Classicism

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There are two distinctive tendencies in the history of literature—Classicand Romantic. At some period in the history of Literature one tendency dominates, and then it is followed by the predominance of the other tendency, and in this manner they appear alternately, one following the other. In the history of English literature, the Elizabethan period may be called the first Romantic period, dominated by Marlowe, Shakespeare, Spenser and others. It was followed by the Classical period in the eighteenth century whose important literary figures were Dryden, Pope, Addison, Swift and Dr. Johnson. The later part of the eighteenth century and the early part of the nineteenth century, whose prominent poets were Wordsworth, Coleridge, Scott, Byron, Shelley, Keats, was dominated by the romantic tendency, and hence it is called the Romantic period. During the Victorian period in English the romantic tendency continued to dominate literature, but the twentieth century literature shows signs of the Classical tendency. The distinctive symptoms of Classicism are: belief in reason: emphasis on the civilized, modern and sophisticated modes of life; interest in urban society; preoccupation with human nature; love for mundane actuality; satirical tendency; expression of accepted moral truth; realistic recognition of things as they are; belief in good and evil; acceptance of established religious and philosophic creeds; attachment to normal, generic abstraction; impersonal objectivity; interest in public themes; emphasis on formal correctness, and the ideal of order; popularity of poetry of prose statement; use of formal poetic diction; self—conscious traditionalism; and rational sobriety of Latin literature. On the other hand, the symptoms of Romanticismare: belief in feelings, imagination and intuition; emphasis on the primitive, medieval and natural modes of life; interest in rural solitude; pre-occupation with the aesthetic and spiritual values of external nature; love for...
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