The age of Romanticism is considered to be the most remarkable age in the history of English Literature within fifty years after the death of Dr. Johnson. English poetry was once again magnificently driven by the brilliant outburst of the imaginative genius. The rise of Romanticism needs to be seen in the context of the changes that marked the historical and philosophical aspects of the English social life. It must be noted that the period between 1776 and 1832 was one of the remarkable progress and national achievements for England. Industrial development was growing day by day. In this age of industrial progress the Romantics rise with a view to making a balance between dehumanized men and women.
Romanticism has been described and defined in different ways. The word Romantic has been used traditionally in opposition to the word classicism. Classicism is considered and connected with the social, the formal, the intellectual and the static whereas Romanticism is connected and concerned with the individual, informal, the emotional and the dynamic. The Romantics believed in the absolute freedom both in terms of formal presentation and the content. Let us discuss about the important feature of Romanticism.
Imagination is the soul of romantic poetry. The Romantics believed that imagination can give shelter to a troubled mind. This very idea has been reflected through the romantic poetry of different poets in this age. Through imagination the inanimate cold world is transformed into something real and living. Whereas, Coleridge seeks to transform the given world through imagination. To Wordsworth visionary world is more real than the world of sense. For Keats imagination which leads to beauty is not a simple way but a power by which he has made imagination more powerful and acceptable than reality. Keats in a letter to Benjamin Baily says: “I am certain of nothing but of the
holiness of the Hearts affection and truth to the imagination…” Common place and ordinary are the most significant characteristics of Romantic poetry. The Romantics had intention in the ordinary forms of life. The Romantics turned the full force of their humanitarianism upon the simple life of the peasant (farmar), secluded workers and innocent children who derived the sustenance of life from the luxurious profession of nature ready to shelter and preserve them. Particularly Wordsworth celebrated and sang the simplicity and common place of life. Wordsworth says, …the earth , And commn face of Nature spoke to me
Rememberable things our simple childhood sits upon a thorn
That health more powerful than all elements.
Subjectivity is another important feature of the Romantic poets. Subjective poetry is a kind of poetry in which the poet goes into himself and finds his inspiration from his own experiences, thoughts and feelings. Most of the Romantic poets are subject in this sense. For example, Keats’s “Ode to the Nightingale” is basically based on personal matter. His life is full of tragedy. When his brother died he wrote this poem being annoyed with the practical world. So it is a subjective poem. Other subjective poems are Keats’s “Ode to Fanny” and Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey etc.
Love of liberty is another important feature of the Romantic poets. They expected both poetic and national liberty. In poetic liberty the poets wanted to write free hand poems. They didn’t want to be confined within the particular framework of poetry. Means rules and regulation were not important feature for them. They emphasized on the subject matter. In their writings the poets also showed a type of reaction and revolt.
Use of nature is a prominent feature of the Romantic poets. They have frequently used nature in their poetry. But nature has taken different shape in different poets. To Shelley nature was a power. To Keats nature was a beauty and...