The Romantic Movement in English Literature

Topics: Romanticism, Mary Shelley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge Pages: 4 (1265 words) Published: July 5, 2011
Romanticism is a complex artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution. In part, it was a revolt against aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature, and was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education and natural history. In literature, Romanticism found recurrent themes in the evocation or criticism of the past, the cult of "sensibility" with its emphasis on women and children, the heroic isolation of the artist or narrator, and respect for a new, wilder, untrammeled and "pure" nature. Furthermore, several romantic authors based their writings on the supernatural/occult and human psychology. Romanticism also helped in the emergence of new ideas and in the process led to the emergence of positive voices that were beneficial for the marginalized sections of the society. The Romantic movement in literature began around the end of the 18th century in Western Europe and flourished in the first half of the 19th century. It was in part a rebellion against the Enlightenment of the previous century and its focus on scientific and rational thought. Romantic literature is characterized by an emphasis on emotion, passion, and the natural world. Nationalism was an important factor in the Romantic movement, and many authors turned to folk tales and native mythologies as source material. A return to the aesthetics and ethos of the medieval period also featured strongly in the Romantic sensibility. Fired by ideas of personal and political liberty and of the energy and sublimity of the natural world, artists and intellectuals sought to break the bonds of 18th-century convention. Although the works of Jean Jacques Rousseau and William Godwin had great...
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