Romanticism in British literature developed in a different form slightly later, mostly associated with the poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, whose co-authored book Lyrical Ballads (1798) sought to reject Augustan poetry in favour of more direct speech derived from folk traditions. Both poets were also involved in utopian social thought in the wake of the French Revolution.
the discussion of the sublime (or the aesthetic of "greatness") was perhaps the single most important concern of eighteenth-century British aesthetics; but despite the frequency —or possibly because of it—with which the term appears in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century critical and creative literature, it had no one meaning that would have satisfied its many uses. According to Samuel Holt Monk, whose study of the eighteenth-century sublime is a landmark in modern recognition of the importance of this aesthetic idea, "No single definition of the term would serve in any single decade for all writers . . .; but the word naturally expressed high admiration, and usually implied a strong emotional effect, which, in the latter years of the century, frequently turned on terror" [Monk, The Sublime, 233].
The origins and functions of the sublime explain why it meant so many things to so many critics. Critics used the sublime as a category in which they could place aesthetic pleasures excluded from neoclassical ideas of beauty. Furthermore, the sublime itself had arisen in sources as different as a new notion of moral psychology, the rediscovery of a Greek rhetorician, and a theological controversy over whether or not the earth was a ruin which recorded man's fall from grace. Sublimity, which is an aesthetic of power, always seems intimately related to questions of gender and power.
Nature in the Romantic Age ultimately laid the groundwork for how Europeans view nature today. Previous to this period, writers wrote dramatic portrayals of unrealistic scenes; within... [continues]
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