Revolutions and Reforms • A mark of the beginning of the Romantic Period is the French Revolution. • Eventually, England is at war with a France ruled by Napoleon. • The political climate of England begins to change as England shifts away from agriculture and toward industry.
Laissez Faire • As the Industrial Revolution begins to take hold, a policy of laissez faire (let industries do as they please) begins to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. • Small children are put to work in horrible and grueling conditions. • Appalled, poets of the time reject formal, public verse and turn to private, spontaneous, lyric poetry.
Romanticism • Rejects reason and artifice and embraces imagination and naturalness; • Speaks of personal experiences and emotions; • Uses primarily lyric poetry; • “Men speaking to men.”
Romanticism (2) • Often speaks of a past or dream world and turns away from the industrial age; • Reflects strong beliefs in individual liberty and sympathy with rebellion; • Sees Nature as transformative (mirrors the mind’s true state).
Romantic Poetry • Explores the significance of common place subjects, the beauty of nature and the human imagination; • Speaks the language of feelings and the heart; • Relates primarily to ordinary people.
Ballads • Often come from an oral tradition; • Usually written in quatrains (stanzas with four lines) with an abab rhyme scheme; • Typically in iambic pentameter.
Important Writers • The publication in 1798 of Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems by William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge began the Romantic Period in England. • Wordsworth, Coleridge, and William Blake were born before the period began, and Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats, and George Gordon, Lord Byron were born after the beginning of the period.