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British Romanticism

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Lisa Cook

on 8 January 2014

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Transcript of British Romanticism

How Romantic!
A brief look at British Romanticism ~ 1798-1837
Tally up your number of As:

3 or fewer As = not romantic
4 or 5 As = sort of romantic
6 or 7 As = highly romantic
8-10 As = extremely romantic

Did your ideas of what this word means change?
1.A simple person who lives in the country close to nature can have more wisdom that a sophisticated, well-educated person from the city.

2. The answer to life’s most puzzling questions can be found through a connection with nature and understanding your place in the world.

3. The use of one’s imagination is more important than rational thought.

4. What you believe is more important than what
society believes.

5. Knowledge is gained through gut reactions and subjective hunches rather than level-headed, objective, rational thought.

6. You would rather spend time outdoors than indoors.

7. Experimental trial and error is a better process than the conventional scientific method.

8. The best writing is be spontaneous and full of emotion, not planned and straightforward.

9. Sensitivity, feelings, and spontaneity are more important than intellectualism.

10. “Dare to be” is a better motto than “dare to know.”

Romanticism is characterized by the 5 “I”s
Romantics placed a higher value on intuition that on reason
Emotions were an important part of art and literature
British Romantic William Wordsworth described poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”
The belief that man can make the world a better place
Romantics believed in the natural goodness of humans, which is hindered by the urban life of civilization. They believed that the savage is noble, childhood is good and the emotions inspired by both beliefs causes the heart to soar.
The Romantic artist, musician or writer is an inspired creator rather than a technical master
This meant "going with the flow," getting lost in the moment, and being spontaneous
There was no such thing as "getting it right"
Romantics celebrated the individual
Romantics often elevated the achievements of the misunderstood, heroic individual outcast.
“I may not be better than other people, but at least I’m different” (Jean Jacques Rousseau)
The Origins of Romanticism
Romanticism began to take root as a movement after the French Revolution
The publication of Lyrical Ballads by English poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1798 is considered the beginning of literary Romanticism
Before the Romantic Period, there was the Age of Reason
Also called the Enlightenment

This time period focused on rational, reasonable thought and valued logic, intellect and intelligence over everything else
When talking about the Romantic Era in literature, we are actually referring to romantic as “freely imaginative fiction” and not romantic as in “romantic love”
The words Romantic or Romance originally referred to Medieval tales of knights written in the original Roman language - Latin.

These tales often included love stories between a knight and his lady - resulting in the modern meaning of romance.

How Romantic are you?

For the following statements, write A if you agree and D if you disagree
Some common characteristics of Romantic Literature
During Rationalism, cities were seen as centers of progress, success and self-realization
During Romanticism, cities were seen as places of congestion, corruption and moral ambiguity
Romantics sought to return to a simpler time and praised natural settings over urban ones
The Industrial Revolution led to overcrowded, dirty, squalid cities.
Romantics sought an escape to the more natural, peaceful, sublime setting of nature
"Sublime" is a word you will hear often in Romantic literature
"The sublime" or "sublime" (noun and adjective forms) referred to anything awe or terror inspiring. It is a combination of the “grotesque” and “the beautiful”

It was deeply connected with nature.
If you stood at the edge of a great cliff looking down into a beautiful valley, knowing you could plummet at any moment but you were could still feel the wonder of the beauty and magnitude all around you - you were experiencing the sublime
Romantics looked to nature for inspiration, especially when it came to lyrical poetry
By admiring the simple beauty of nature, one could be brought to a deeper more essential form of truth
Romantics could make an emotional connection through nature
There was also an emphasis on the past and folk lore as sources of inspiration

Symbolism within literature and poetry was seen as the highest form of creativity

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
However, by the middle of the century, American poetry was about to change drastically
The most famous Romantic poets:
Early Romantic poets imitated traditional English styles, however, later Romantic poets began using incredibly unique styles
Imagination was emphasized over “reason”
This was a backlash against the rationalism characterized by the “Age of Reason”
Imagination was considered necessary for creating all art.
British writer Samuel Taylor Coleridge called it “intellectual intuition.”
William Wordsworth
William Blake
Lord Byron
Shelley had a very unconventional life and was very idealistic
He was also a radical nonconformist
He married Mary Wollstonecraft, who would eventually go on to write Frankenstein, a famous Romantic novel

John Keats
The End!
What does it mean to call something Romantic?

Take a minute or two and jot down your thoughts.

In order to understand where Romanticism came from, it's helpful to know what came before it...
In the Age of Reason, writers focused on

Reason and Judgement
Concern with the universal experience
The value of society as a whole
The value of rules
In the Romantic Era, writers focused on

Imagination and Emotion
Concern with the particular experience
The value of the individual human being
The value of freedom

Romanticism refers to a movement in art, literature, and music during the early 19th century.
William Wordsworth
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
William Blake
Lord Byron
Percy Bysshe Shelley
John Keats
Helped to launch the Romantic Age
Along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he published Lyrical Ballads, the text that started the Romantic era
His most famous work is The Prelude, which chronicles the spiritual life of the poet
Has an interest and sympathy for the life and troubles of the “common man”
He is considered the nature poet by focusing ordinary people in country settings

An English Romantic poet, literary critic and philosopher.
He was good friends with fellow Romantic Poet, William Wordsworth
His works are highly symbolic
His most famous poems are The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Kahn
Started writing poetry when he was twelve
Blake was a nonconformist who associated with some of the leading radical thinkers of his day
He rebelled against traditional poetic forms and techniques
He valued imagination over reason

He indulged in excesses and had huge debts and many love affairs
His most famous creations are his dark heroes, called Byronic heroes, who, in fact, were not heroes at all, but stood out from ordinary humans as larger than life

Percy Bysshe Shelley
During his life, his poems did not receive favorable reviews by the critics
The poetry of Keats is characterized by sensual imagery, most notably in his odes
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