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Romantic Period: Themes and Motifs

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Alison Androw

on 10 April 2014

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Transcript of Romantic Period: Themes and Motifs

Romantic Period: Themes and Motifs
Importance of Nature
The Romantics viewed nature as an ‘idealized, magical and even divine world.’

Valued the duality of nature: Both a source for tranquility and overwhelming demonic power.

19th century Britain rejected human society and respected nature, seeing nature as a way to become closer to God.

Artists – painted the sea, or the Alps
Writers – commented on the power of nature and its’ endless, mysterious life
Musicians- depicts moods of nature (stormy and peaceful).

Inspiration from the Supernatural
The Romantics saw beauty in the supernatural and believes something existed beyond the natural world.

The spirit world unleashed its power to overthrow the tyranny of civilization and government.

British romantics focused on the beauty and power of the natural world, whereas American Romantics used images of ghosts, demonic cats, and rope-gnawing rats.
The Inner-Self and Individual

In 19th century Britain, self-reliance, the inner self, and individualism was highly valued in the Romantic Period.

British Romanticism attempted to free itself from traditional forms and subjects by connecting with the inner soul of the individual.

Known for their non-conformity and freedom of thought.
Imagination and the Inner Experience
The Romantic Period is characterized by imagination and the inner experience.

Feeling or emotion is more important than logic/rationalism.

Civilization, technology, and science was considered dangerous and demonic.

Imagination is valued over the hard facts of experience.

"You want something, you get it. Period"
The Poets of the Romantic Period
William Blake (1757-1827): Dwelt upon his divine vision and rebelled against traditional poetic forms and techniques. He created his own mythological world with man as the central figure. Two famous poems include The Lamb and The Tyger.
Poets of the Romantic Period
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834): Coleridge's most famous poems have a distinct supernatural element and strongly influenced American Romantics such as Poe and Hawthorne. Poems include Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Kahn
William Wordsworth (1770-1850): Wordsworth is considered the nature poet. Focused on ordinary people in rustic settings. His most famous poems include I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, We are Seven, and I Travelled Among Unknown Men.
Lord Byron (1788-1824): Byron's most famous creations are his dark heroes, who stood out from ordinary humans. The Byronic hero possessed incredible strength, rebelled against societal norms, and forced upon himself exile. Byron's most famous works include Don Juan and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822): Shelley was a radical non-conformist. He campaigned for social justice, even marrying the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft, an English leader in the women's rights movement. His most famous poems include Mutability, Ozymandias, and Ode to the West Wind.
Motifs and Themes
Importance of Nature
Spirituality and the Divine
Inspiration from the Supernatural
Inner-self and Individual
Non-Conformity
Imagination and Inner-Experience
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