The names Keats and Wordsworth are to a certain extent tantamount to Romanticism, especially from the perspective of modern academics. To many, Wordsworth and Coleridge are seen as the fathers of English Romanticism as they were the first to publish literary works that were seen as romantic with Lyrical Ballads in 1798. Yet although John Keats was only born in 1795, he still contributed much to the Romantic Movement and is in essence regarded just as highly as William Wordsworth.
One can argue that to a certain extent the Romantic Movement came into existence due to the French and American revolutions. This period in history exemplifies a time when people broke through the constraints of old social and political conventions. People were starting to see life and the world in a different way. For the first time after the age of reason took the stage, the Romantics placed an emphasis on the imagination of man. To them the imagination was more important than reason alone. The imagination could create a whole new and different dimension to normal reason, and as such reason should be seen as subordinate to imagination.
Charles Darwin is great example of a Romantic that used his imagination to explore new ideas. To Darwin reason was only employed as the backbone to substantiate his arguments. His imagination separated him from the accepted scientific knowledge about nature and the earth and in effect allowed him think laterally. The product was works that challenged science and religion with such a degree of persuasion that they changed the perception of most of the western world. Darwin's writings even influence our modern-day scientific theories, proving that the Romantics were not just part of a popular phase that dissolved into history, but that they were integral to the development of the human way of thinking. However, this train of thought seems to give the Romantics a great deal of credit. From another perspective, Wordsworth and Keats can argued to be...
Bibliography: Ferguson, M., et al., 1996. The Norton Anthology of Poetry. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Melani, L. 2000. A Guide to the Study of Literature: A Companion Text for Core Studies 6, Landmarks of Literature. Brooklyn: English Department
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