ROMANTICISM? CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT?
Define the Term! “Twelve Months of Suffering”…. Romanticism “Is just that which cannot be defined.” - 1824 scholars, Depuis and Cononet
“Romanticism is a term applied to a European-wide revolution in literature and other arts covering approximately the period 1780 to 1840.” -Neil King
“Resembling the tales or romances; wild, improbable; false; fanciful; full of wild scenery.” - Samuel Johnson (1709-84)
“A complex artistic, literary and intellectual movement…in reaction to the Industrial Revolution… a revolt against aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment…reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature. -Unknown
“What happened in that period…was of almost unparalleled significance…the amazing resurgence of quality in English poetry…also in our understanding of art…Something happened in that period which has exercised a decisive influence on how we live.” -Ian Johnston.
THROUGH AN INDULGENCE IN EMOTIONALISM AND NATURE, THE INDIVIDUAL IS MORALLY IMPROVED THE IMMEASURABLE POWEROF NATURE
VALUE OF THE WILD NATURAL WORLD USE OF IMAGINATION TO ELEVATE THE ORDINARY
AND… The celebration of imaginative liberation by abandonment of reason, social restrictions, and traditional education so to expose the individual to the creativity of a world of infinite potential.
‘Texts related to the [Romantic period] examines or affirm the power of the imagination to inform, illuminate or transform human experience’
To INFORM: Romantics began to distance themselves from the traditional sources, which until then informed them of all that was in the world. The movement signposted a change of intellectual source, where one could look to Nature, who inspired the imagination to inform the individual of all that is and could be of the world. To ILLUMINATE: The imagination, for Romantics, illuminated Human experiences by allowing the individual to access complete freedom of the mind. Consequently, the Romantics- by use of their imagination- were able to shed light (and illuminate) hidden wanders of the world. This often involved the exploration of the supernatural. To TRANSFORM: It was common for the Romantics to transform, or elevate, ordinary human experiences into something extraordinary and often sublime; awe inspiring and powerful. This transformation was encouraged by Natures inspiration of the freedom of the imagination.
Where are they Where in literature do these ideals occur? Examples of Romantic literature that examines or affirms the power and impact of the imagination on human experience.
‘WHEN from the craggy mountain's pathless steep, Whose flinty brow hangs o'er the raging sea, My wand'ring eye beholds the foamy deep, I mark the restless surge-and think of THEE. The curling waves, the passing breezes move, Changing and treach'rous as the breath of LOVE; The "sad similitude" awakes my smart, And thy dear image twines about my heart.’
‘Where its slim trunk the ash from rock to rockFlings arching like a bridge; that branchless ash.Unsunn’d and damp, whose few poor-yellow leavesNe’er tremble in the gale, yet tremble still,Fann’d by the water-fall!’ -Exemplifies the use of the Imagination to transform from where they are physically alone without the ‘Beauties and feelings’ of Nature to where they are apart of the human experience amongst the natural world. ‘Well, they are gone, and here must I remain,This lime-tree bower my prison! I have lostBeauties and feelings, such as would have beenMost sweet to my remembrance… -Melodramatic Tantrum!
‘Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife: Come, hear the woodland linnet, How sweet his music! on my life, There's more of wisdom in it. And hark! how blithe the throstle sings! He, too, is no mean preacher: Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature be your teacher.’ -The Protagonist of the poem has already liberated themselves from the traditional intellectual source and has turned to Nature to inform them of the wisdom of the world. And now they are on a mission to inform others to turn to the natural world as a source of informing intellect.
When the loud gambols of the village throng, Drown the lorn murmurs of the ring-dove's throat; I think I hear thy fascinating song,Join the melodious minstrel's tuneful note- My list'ning ear soon tells me -'tis not THEE, Nor THY lov'd song-nor THY soft minstrelsy; In vain I turn away to hide my smart,Thy dulcet numbers vibrate in my heart.
‘Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,T’was sad as sad could be;And we did speak only only to break The silence of the sea … The very deep did rot: O Christ! That ever this should be! Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs Upon the slimy sea.’ - The motionless silence and eerie supernatural elements. ‘And how the storm-blast came, and heWas tyrannous and strong:He struck with his o’ertaking wings,And chased us south along. With slopping masts and dipping prow, As who pursued with yell and blow Still treads the shadow of his foe, And forward bends his head, The ship drove fast, loud roar’d the blast, The southward aye we fled. -The powerful and horrendous storm
TECHNIQUES Literary Techniques used: Techniques the Romantics utilised
Characterisation & Juxtaposition As shown in the previously explored texts
Characterisation is a highly significant technique used by Robinson to juxtapose Nature from the village. NATURE CHARACTERISED AS; ‘Dear…blissful’ and powerful- ‘craggy mountain's pathless steep, Whose flinty brow hangs o'er the raging sea’ -Words like flinty and raging inspire a sense of power. VILLAGE CHARACTERISED AS: ‘Loud gambols’ that drown out the ‘lorn murmours of Nature’.The village is characterised as busy, crowded and unappealing to the speaker.
The Juxtaposition of the City to Nature in ‘This Lime-Tree Bower my prison’ is pivotal in addressing the Romantic paradigm of the use of the imagination and Nature to intellectually inform the individual. Kindle, thou blue Ocean! So my friend, Struck with deep joy may stand, as I have stood, Silent with swimming sense; yea, gazing round On the wide landscape, gaze till all doth seem Less gross than bodily; and of such hues As veil the almighty Spirit, when yet he makes Spirits perceive his presence.’ ‘In gladness all; but thou, methinks, most glad, My gentle-hearted Charles! for thou hast pined And hunger’d after Nature, many a year, In the great City pent, winning thy way With sad yet patient soul, through evil and pain And strange Calamity …
Figurative Language Personification and Capitalisation
‘Heaven…Nature…Almighty Spirit…Life’ -Capitalisation in ‘This Lime-Tree Bower my prison’. ‘scarce a ZEPHYR fans the drooping ROSE…MAY'S soft breath…VENUS smiles serene…thornless ROSES’. -Capitalisation in ‘Absence’. ‘Storm-blast…Christian…God’s name…The Sun…Moon…Christ…Death…The Nightmare Life-in-Death was she…Heavens.’ -Capitalisation in ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’.
‘She has a world of ready wealth, Our minds and hearts to bless-- Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health, Truth breathed by cheerfulness.’ -Personification from ‘The Tables Turned’
Discussion: Romanticism!! Let’s Discuss!!
What Are Your Ideas On… The Romantics indulgence in emotionalism and in Nature to morally improve themselves. Consider that the Romantics were very expressive and they were emotionally and spiritually linked to Nature, so what are your ideas?