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Major English Writers 2

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The Romantic Period (1785-1830)

Major Historical / Political / Literary Events

General Characteristics of Romantic Literature (Neoclassic Characteristics in Parentheses)

  1. Spirit of Revolution, heroic aspiration and defiance (view of human beings as limited)
    --a breaking away from the limitations of humanity commonly accepted in the Neoclassical Age
    --the Romantic hero often faces extreme odds for success
    --Satan and Prometheus become popular heroes
    --the Byronic hero = greater than others, in his passions, experiences, sins, pain, and suffering

  2. Reverence for the imagination, feelings and emotions (reverence for rules and reason, distrust of the imagination)
    --imagination becomes a way of knowing
    --reason may inhibit our ability to know the truth
    --imagination, feelings, and emotions help shape reality 

  3. Emphasis on the individual (emphasis on groups)
    --revolutionary theorists proclaimed the "rights of man" 
    --lyric poetry becomes popular and important

  4. Belief in the Ideal or the Sublime (belief in Deism)
    --the sublime is most often suggested through Nature
    --truth can be perceived through imagination and emotion

  5. Organicism (symmetry, unity, harmony, classical poetic forms)
    --a work of literature "grows" like a seed
    --the content of a poem determines its form, not vice versa
    --blank verse becomes popular 

  6. Emphasis on Nature, primitivism, and the rural life (emphasis on the polite, urbane, and witty)
    --people are naturally good; society corrupts
    --children and those living close to nature are closer to truth
    --the "noble savage" becomes a popular figure

  7. Supernaturalism: the Gothic and the Mystical, the Strange and Exotic
    --exploring new ways of knowing, new ways to discover truth
    --another way to reject reason
    --gothic novels become popular

Poetry and the Poet

Copyright Randy Rambo, 2013.