Romantic period? -William Blake
Nowadays when people talked about “romantic” or “romance”, usually indicated that of the opposite of ration and reason. Rousseau pointed out that romance is to go back to nature, However, Heine in the other way thought that romance is to go back to the life style of middle age, while Hugo considered romance as the combination of tragedy and quaintness. Romance to me, is the opposite of civilization, ration, and reality, just like the typical tension between passion and ration displayed in Madame Bovery, the protagonist Madame Bovery had life struggles between pursuing her dreams and passion and living an ordinary life with a dull husband. It was also a struggle between love and bread. Actually, the word romance is hard to define. Rene Wellek conceded that there are three dimensions of romantic criterion, which are imagination, nature and symbol and myth, based on this three aspects of looking at romance, we can probably sum up all kinds of romance. There are a lot of definition of romance in dictionary, such as some of the definition mentioned in J.A. Cuddon’s A Dictionary of Literary Terms, which are interests on natural elements, and primal, natural, uncivilized world, inclination of focus on scenery, intertwining the human spirit to the natural world, and attention on imagination. And of course, praising the noble savages. Romantic era had been literary fashion in the approximate age in first half of 19 century. It’s usually considered to be the counter-revolution to industrial revolution and intellectual behave of Enlightenment. Romanticism was originated from Europe and it was meant to participate in reaction of revolt against scientific “truth”, fact and rationality. These elements were embodied intensely in literature as a lot of great writers had done in romantic period. Except for industrial revolution and era of enlightenment, the historical background of romantic period was within an age after capitalists expending their territories through ideology of imperialism, oppressing the weak all over the world. These historical background had huge influence on human mind in many aspects: the unbridled capitalism soon brought up the idea of civilization however made human’s mind spoiled. Thus, literature in romantic period emphasized on imagination could mean social care for the lower level labors, getting away from shackled human mind under the power of capitalism, getting rid of the dogma of neo-classism and pursued some kind of new source of poetic inspiration, and immersed into nature and enjoyed the philosophy that the nature brought to the poets. After so many explanations of the word “romance” and the historical background of romantic period, how do we define “romance” throughout observation from romantic period writers and poems? I concede that the spirit of romance is to fight against the idea of unity, a commonplace, traditionally united concepts, and authority. Therefore, it seems that romantic writers have the common parts that they were talented in showing their originality, which were different from traditional elements and rules. I think the most important key words for romantic period is imagination, and it was what poets used to develop their own originality in literature world. They used imagination to create more interesting narrative lines, and to change the world. Romantic poets don’t like to describe the reality world with details, but to create the reality with their own imagination. While blossoms of imagination depend on how natural world inspired the poets, therefore, they could not stand writing about lives in palace, which were quite unchangeable, and stick to the old fashioned principles, on the other hand, they love to get closer to the nature. The natural world actually plays a role of eonian lyre in poets’ minds. Furthermore, the poets in fact tend to write about stories of nobody, instead of somebody, to rebel the tradition...
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