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A Presentation on English Romanticism and Romantic Poetry



AT THE VERY BEGINNINGy We are going to scope out Romanticism and

mention about English Romantic Poetry based on first three great poets: William Blake, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. y So as to understand properly we, of course, should take a look at the period in which they lived and romanticism was thriving...


In the period between the publication of Lyrical Ballads (1798) and the death of Dickens (1870), English literature was dominated by the spirit of ROMANTICISM. (1)





BACKGROUND OF ROMANTICISMy Napoleonic Wars y Painful economic dislocations of the wars y The French Revolution y The suffering the Industrial Revolution

Above all, however, it was the impact of the French Revolution which gave the period its most distinctive and urgent concerns.(2)

THE IMPACT OF THE REVOLUTIONFollowing the Revolution itself, which began in 1789, Britain was at war with France on continental Europe for nearly twenty years while massive repression of political dissent was implemented at home. (3)

Against this background much of the major writing of the period, associated with the term Romantic, takes place between 1789 (when the French Revolution began) and 1824 (the death of Byron) and can be seen as a response to changing political and social conditions in one respect or another. (4)

TO SUM UP,...the last 30 years of the eighteenth century is considered as pre-Romantic period. The real and conscious Romanticism begins after this preparation period, upon that William Wordsworth published The Lyrical Ballads in 1798...

The preface which Wordsworth added later to the second edition of the book which also presented S.T.Coleridge`s some poems to reader is regarded a kind of manifestation of Romanticism. (5)

CHARACTERISED BY:y NATURE y Vivid and colourful language y Evocation of elevating themes and ideas y A new kind of poetry emphasizing:

intuition over reason the pastoral over the urban y An effort to use a `new language` y Simple and understandable language.


HUNDREDS OF DEFINITIONS!!!yA critic says he selected 28 ones

from hundreds of definitions of Romanticism elaborately and interestingly none of these 28 definitions is similar to one another. yWe will look at two of them:

Ernest Berbaum`s definition Romanticism is the rebirth of firstly emotions and then imagination in literature.

Walter Pater`s definiton

y The addition

of strangeness to beauty(6)

LEXICAL DEFINITIONA movement of the 18th and 19th centuries which marked the reaction in literature, philosophy, art, religion and politics from the neo-classicism and formal orthodoxy of the preceding period. Romanticism arouse so gradually and exhibited so many phases that a satisfactory definition is not possible (7)


BIG SIXy William Blake y William Wordsworth y Samuel Taylor Coleridge y John Keats y Percy Bysshe Shelley y Lord Byron

The "Big Six" of English romantic literature pertains to the six figures who are historically supposed to have formed the core of the Romantic movement of late 18th and early 19th century England. (8)

Which features was their poetry dependent on?y A reacti

a ai st revi s literary styles, y ar e ts it ei tee t ce t ry a ers, earlier il s y t e ecli e i f r al Anglican rs i and t e rise f dissenting religi s sects, y and t e ra id and nprecedented industrializati n f ritain and c nsequent c anges in its c unty side. (2)




The Romantic Poets ushered in a new era of poetry.

The Romantics are important because they helped to define, and indeed to create, the modern world. They helped to fashion the way in which we all now think and imagine.


l k

Image: National Portrait Gallery, London

William Blake - Fact File Born - 1757 Starts at the Royal Academy - 1779 Marries Catherine Boucher - 1782 Publishes Songs of Innocence - 1789 Died 1827 (9)

Who is William Blake?Born in London in 1757, Blake was a poet, painter, visionary mystic, and engraver. Her family was very poor. He could never go to school and learnt on his own anything he knew. By himself, he learnt Latin, Greek and Ibranian. He could read and understand them. As the French says, he was exactly an `autodidacte`... (10)

...From his early years, he experienced visions of angels and ghostly monks, he saw and conversed with the angel Gabriel, the Virgin Mary, and various historical figures. These memories never left him and influenced his poetry throughout his life. (11)

His Style and Themesy Both a mystic and visionary poet y A reflection of his own inner vision. y Composed many poems y Far reaching in both their scope and range of

experience. y The extremes of human experiences y The harsh realities of life that can be experienced

MAJOR WORKSyThe Marriage of Heaven and Hell ySongs of Innocence ySongs of Experience yAuguries of Innocence

This is an extract from William Blake's Songs of Innocence" William Blake had the capacity to express poetry of great innocence and joy such as this extract below:

Infant JoyI have no name: I am but two days old.'' What shall I call thee? ``I happy am, Joy is my name.'' Sweet joy befall thee! (12)

As a young boy Blake had an illumining mystical experience. Throughout his life he maintained this otherworldly uality and most significantly was able to experience and see the divine in and through ordinary human experiences. For example in the poem Divine Image :

And all must love the human form, In heathen, Turk, or jew; Where Mercy, Love, & Pity dwell There God is dwelling too.From: The Divine Image - Songs of Innocence

This ability to see the divine in all is best summarized in Blake s immortal poem from Auguries of Innocence:

" To see a world in a grain of sand And heaven in a wild flower Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And eternity in an hour."

I wander through each chartered street, Near where the chartered Thames does flow, A mark in every face I meet, Marks of weakness, marks of woe.From London is a stark reminder of life in the 18th Century. In Songs of Experience

In every cry of every man, In every infant's cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forged manacles I hear:From London is a stark reminder of life in the 18th Century. In Songs of Experience


Wor s ort

Image: National Portrait Gallery, London

Wordsworth - Fact File 1770: Born in Cockermouth, Cumberland 1790: Travels to France 1798: Publishes Lyrical Ballads with Coleridge 1843: Becomes Poet Laureate 1850: Dies (13)

Wordsworth shortlyy William Wordsworth's reputation is defined

by his poems of nature, but his early life was dominated by the French Revolution and the libertarian ideals of the time. y He graduated from Cambridge University 1791 and then travelled to France and Europe. y Fell in love with Annette Vallon y In 1843 he was appointed Poet Laureate.

HIS MAJOR WORKWordsworth's major work was his autobiographical poem The Prelude. Completed in 1805, he continued to make changes and it was not published until after his death.

Poetry of William WordsworthyA marvellous felicity of phrase yAn unrivalled power of

describing natural appearances and effects yThe most ennobling views of life and duty

yThe sense of the mystic relations

between man and nature yMaster of a noble and expressive prose style yEspecially his sonnets, he rises to heights of noble inspiration and splendour of language rarely e ualled by any of our poets

William Wordsworth was one of the greatest poets of the ages, who excelled in vivid descriptions of nature and the joy that could be derived from the beauties of nature.(14)

To A ButterflySTAY near me--do not take thy flight! A little longer stay in sight! Much converse do I find in thee, Historian of my infancy! Float near me; do not yet depart! Dead times revive in thee: Thou bring'st, gay creature as thou art! A solemn image to my heart, My father's family!


... Oh! pleasant, pleasant were the days, The time, when, in our childish plays, My sister Emmeline and I Together chased the butterfly! A very hunter did I rush Upon the prey:--with leaps and springs I followed on from brake to bush; But she, God love her, feared to brush The dust from off its wings. (15)

I Wandered Lonely as a CloudI WANDERED lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. (16)


l Taylor ol ri g

Image: National Portrait Gallery, London

Coleridge - Fact File 1772: Born 1794: First poems published 1797: Meets Wordsworth 1798: Publishes Lyrical Ballads 1834: Dies (17)


yThe Rime of the Ancient

Mariner yChristabel yKuble Khan

SOME COMMENTS ABOUT HIMy Many of the critics are right while they

consider the year 1797 as his year of wonders . Because, he created his most beautiful three works in that year. y If he could have written some other poems as good as those ones constantly for a tenyear period, he would, undoubtedly, have been the greatest poet of Romanticism. (18)

TO NATUREIt may indeed be phantasy, when I Essay to draw from all created things Deep, heartfelt, inward joy that closely clings ; And trace in leaves and flowers that round me lie Lessons of love and earnest piety. So let it be ; and if the wide world rings In mock of this belief, it brings ...

... Nor fear, nor grief, nor vain perplexity. So will I build my altar in the fields, And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be, And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields Shall be the incense I will yield to Thee, Thee only God ! and thou shalt not despise Even me, the priest of this poor sacrificeSamuel Taylor Coleridge

Poetry of S.T.Coleridgey Charles Lamb wrote one of favourite descriptions of S.T.C in 1817: "his face when he repeats his verses hath its ancient glory, an Arch angel a little damaged. (19) y One of the pioneers of the movement `back to nature` along with Wordsworth and Blake.

y ...Coleridge also looked inward, as well as outward, and in his meditative poetry he enlarged the boundaries of the individual sensibility... y ...Human nature itself was enlarged and redefined as the subject of poetry. y ...Together Wordsworth and Coleridge helped to create a new definition of the sublime and the beautiful, evincing an aesthetic very different from the orthodox classical principles of formal symmetry and proportion. (20)

Finally...To understand Romanticism and especially English romanticism, let me show you a few quotes of John Keats, who was one the greatest six poets of Romanticism ...

Beauty is truth, truth beauty,' - that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.(21)

Love is my religionI could die for it.(22)

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter.(23)

My imagination is a monastery and I am its monk.(24)

RESOURCESy (1)Holman, C.Hugh. A Handbook To Literature. New York, 1972. pg.464 y (2) http://www.poetseers.org/the_romantics/ y (3) http://www.poetseers.org/the_romantics/ y (4) http://www.poetseers.org/the_romantics/ y (5)Urgan, Mna. ngiliz Edebiyat Tarihi(History of English Literature)pgs.502-503. y (6) Holman, C.Hugh. A Handbook To Literature. New York, 1972.pg.466 y (7) Holman, C.Hugh. A Handbook To Literature. New York, 1972.pg.465 y (8) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romantic_poetry

y (9) http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/romantics/blake.shtml y (10) Urgan, Mna. ngiliz Edebiyat Tarihi(History of English Literature) pg.541 y (11) http://www.poetseers.org/the_poetseers/blake/ y (12)http://www.poetseers.org/the_romantics/romantic_po etry/ y (13)http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/romantics/wordsworth.sht ml y (14)http://www.poetseers.org/the_romantics/william_wor dsworth/library/ y (15)http://www.poetseers.org/the_romantics/william_wor dsworth/library/ y (16) http://www.poetseers.org/the_romantics/romantic_poetry /

y (17)http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/romantics/coleridge.shtml y (18) Urgan, Mna. ngiliz Edebiyat Tarihi(History of English Literature) pg.603 y (19)http://www.poetseers.org/the_romantics/samuel_taylo r_coleridge/ y (20)http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/romantics/intro.shtml #top y (21)http://www.srichinmoypoetry.com/library/the_poet_se ers/keats y (22)http://www.srichinmoypoetry.com/library/the_poet_s eers/keats y (23)http://www.srichinmoypoetry.com/library/the_poet_s eers/keats y (24)http://www.srichinmoypoetry.com/library/the_poet_s eers/keats