The Transition from Rationalism Tosentimentalism in English Poetry

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ABSTRACT

This study is about the transition from rationalism to romanticism in the English poetry, which reflects the relation between art, literature, and poetry; in addition to the relation between language and literature. The researcher has used the historical method in carrying out this study. The study covers part of the English poetry composed from 1700 to 1835. The poetry composed in the Age of Reason, in which reason, order, and form have dominated all fields of life at that time. The poetry composed during that era was based on certain rules; and the heroic couplet was chosen as the metre to suit the town- life. In the Age of Reason, emotions, sentiments, rural life, nature and imagination were excluded as they had nothing in common with reason; the result was satirical and pseudo classical poetry. Alexander Pope is chosen as the representative poet of the Age of Reason. The researcher has focused on Pope's Essay on Man to explain the philosophy, attitudes, and the tendencies of the eighteenth-century society. The study turns to deal with romanticism crossing a bridge of transition. That bridge is the essence and core of this study; it is a transition from rationalism to romanticism. That transitional period is neither classical nor romantic; however, it has the characteristics of both. One end of the bridge is on classicism and the other on romanticism. The poetry composed in that era has features of classical poems in length, and romantic in content and metre. Thomson, Cowper, Gray, and Blake are the poets who exemplify the transitional period poetry. The transitional poets are classical in body but romantic in flesh and bones. The study illustrates their slogans, and ideas towards the English society's beliefs; thus, samples of their poetry are treated and analysed for proof, comparison, and justification. The transitional poets rebelled against classicism and rationalism paving the road for romanticism by turning...
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