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ROMANTICISM & VICTORIANISM

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Rafael Velez

on 14 December 2014

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Transcript of ROMANTICISM & VICTORIANISM

ROMANTICISM


Focus on the Individual and his experience.
The power of the imagination.
The transfer of political frustrations to art.
The revolution in taste that this transfer represented.
Romanticism as response to the ordered 'Age of Reason'. It can be identified by:
The Augustan classical culture was undermined and replaced by a new set of literary ideals:
The past was now of interest for its own sake.
The importance of individual experience and everyday language began to bring poetry closer to the ordinary reader.
Ordinary people, rather than the elite of society provided appropriate material.
Use of the first person was an accepted medium, now serious and reflective rather than ironic.
Plainness of expression marked a move away from the formality of classical convention.
The source of poetry lay in the spontaneous rather than in the crafted and artificial.
Generations
1. William Blake (1757-1827):
gap between 'Age of Reason' and

2. 'Age of Imagination':
2.1 'First Generation':
William Wordsworth
Samuel Coleridge

2.2 'Second Generation':
Lord Byron (1788-1842)
Percy Bysshe Shelly (1792-1824)
John Keats (1795-1821)
Lyrical Ballads
The principal object, then, which I proposed to myself in these Poems was to choose incidents and situations from common life, and to relate or describe them, throughout, as far as was possible, in a selection of language really used by men.
W. Wordsworth
Daffodils

I 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.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
Songs of Experience
A little black thing among the snow,
Crying "'weep! 'weep!" in notes of woe!
"Where are thy father and mother? Say!"--
"They are both gone up to the church to pray.

"Because I was happy upon the heath,
And smiled among the winter's snow,
They clothed me in the clothes of death,
And taught me to sing the notes of woe.

"And because I am happy and dance and sing,
They think they have done me no injury,
And are gone to praise God and his priest and king,
Who make up a heaven of our misery."
VICTORIAN POETRY
Their central symbol was often a woman whose spiritualized eroticism was highly ambiguous.
This aspect of their work was violently attacked by Robert Buchanan in 1871 in an article entitled "The Fleshly School of Poetry“.
Despite this and other attacks, the movement succeeded in establishing, in the face of mid-Victorian complacency and materialism, the idea of a religion of beauty and the alienated artist which was extremely important for Yeats, Pound, and the modernist movement.
A group of young English artists who banded together in London in 1848 to protest the academicism and formalism of the classic tradition and lead English painting back to what they called "Nature":
a sincere and unpretentious representation of the subject through precise attention to detail.

Because they professed to find their ideal in the Italian painters before Raphael, they called themselves "P.-R." and their organization the Pre-raphaelite Brotherhood:
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, and John Everett MiIIais were the leading spirits of the group, which ultimately numbered seven.

As an organization it lasted only into the early 1850s, but the movement it inspired entered a second phase in 1856, when Rossetti met William Morris and Edward Burne Jones, who had similar aspirations.
The group remained active through the 1880s and contributed importantly to aestheticism and symbolism.
In Victorian love poetry passion’s is there, but not with the unhibited exhilaration of the Romantics. It is fraught with new anxieties, the psychological investigation of love’s processes and, particularly, its disease.
In contrast, the internal, psychological element in this poem by Emily Brontë is dominant, for all its external references:


I'm happiest when most away
I can bear my soul from its home of clay
On a windy night when the moon is bright
And the eye can wander thru worlds of light
When I am not and none beside
Nor earth nor sea nor cloudless sky
But only spirit wandering wide
Thru infinite immensity.
The conversational and lyrical voices of Romantic poetry are heard again in Victorianism, yet with variations.
Romantic themes and styles intensified:
Presentation of the psychological dimension of personal experience in poetry.
At mid-century, then, both Tennyson and Browning had evolved a distinct poetics from their Romantic roots:
representation of a singular subjectivity in a dramatic context that allows ironic distance and implication;
use of visual detail to mediate between subjective and objective ideas of perception;
experiments with perspectivism to generate large poetic forms with ambition of social and philosophical statement;
and an embrace of elaboration in style.
From the beginning, Pre-Raphaelitism had a literary side which manifested itself in two short-lived "little magazines," The Germ (1850) and The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine (1856) .

Unlike their painting, however, the poetry of the Pre-Raphaleites was not a reaction against the tradition but a continuation and development of the romanticism of Keats, Blake, Poe, Whitman, and the early Tennyson, with influences from Dante, Chaucer, Malory, and the English ballads.
The chief P.-R. poets were Rossetti, Morris, and Swinburne; also Christina Rossetti, Coventry Patmore, and Meredith.

Despite their original aim of symbolic realism, the P.-R. poets tended ultimately toward the creation of a poetic realm in which medievalism, musicality, vague religious feeling, and a dreamlike atmosphere combined to give a narcotically escapist effect.
PRE-RAPHAELITE BROTHERHOOD
The Romantic concern with the self has an externality about it (Wordsworth):


I 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.
Broad similarities between Romantic and Victorian Poetry are clear.
The Romantics’ emphasis on the emotions persists in the Victorians’ work.
The world of nature and the nostalgic impulse remain.
The idea of the poet as a visionary and seer, as well as an inspired maker, continues.
Coleridge died in 1 832;
Tennyson published his first volume in 1 830,
Browning in 1 833;
and Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1 837:
so the 1 830s can be considered the transition from romantic to Victorian poetry.
Yet though the labels are generally used, they make an odd pair:
romantic attempts to describe qualities in the literature itself (as well as in other arts) ,
whereas "Victorian" is simply borrowed from political history.

It might be better to regard Tennyson and Browning as the third generation of romantic poets, and Arnold, Meredith, and the Rossettis as the fourth, rather than postulating a new phase in literature.
'I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day'
BY GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS
I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day.
What hours, O what black hours we have spent
This night! what sights you, heart, saw; ways you went!
And more must, in yet longer light's delay.
With witness I speak this. But where I say
Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lament
Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent
To dearest him that lives alas! away.

I am gall, I am heartburn. God's most deep decree
Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;
Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.
Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see
The lost are like this, and their scourge to be
As I am mine, their sweating selves; but worse.
The Woodspurge
BY DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI
The wind flapp'd loose, the wind was still,
Shaken out dead from tree and hill:
I had walk'd on at the wind's will,—
I sat now, for the wind was still.

Between my knees my forehead was,—
My lips, drawn in, said not Alas!
My hair was over in the grass,
My naked ears heard the day pass.

My eyes, wide open, had the run
Of some ten weeds to fix upon;
Among those few, out of the sun,
The woodspurge flower'd, three cups in one.

From perfect grief there need not be
Wisdom or even memory:
One thing then learnt remains to me,—
The woodspurge has a cup of three.
Sonnets from the Portuguese 14: If Thou
BY ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING
If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love's sake only. Do not say
I love her for her smile ... her look ... her way
Of speaking gently, ... for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day'—
For these things in themselves, Belovèd, may
Be changed, or change for thee,—and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,—
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love's sake, that evermore
Thou may'st love on, through love's eternity.
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