ROMANTIC PERIOD IN ENGLISH LITERATURE: 1798-1832 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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ROMANTIC PERIOD IN ENGLISH LITERATURE: 1798-1832
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ROMANTIC PERIOD IN ENGLISH LITERATURE: 1798-1832

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  1. ROMANTIC PERIOD IN ENGLISH LITERATURE: 1798-1832 A BRIEF OVERVIEW

  2. SOCIAL & POLITICAL CONTEXT • PERIOD OF GREAT CHANGE IN ENGLAND: • AGRICULTURAL - POWERFUL LANDHOLDING ARISTOCRACY • GIVING WAY TO MODERN INDUSTRIAL NATION OF LARGE-SCALE EMPLOYERS & A GROWING, RESTLESS MIDDLE CLASS.

  3. PERIOD OF CHANGE (cont.) • AMERICAN & FRENCH REVOLUTIONS - IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE. • REVOLUTIONS - THREATS TO EXISTING SOCIAL STRUCTURE

  4. PERIOD OF CHANGE (cont.) • POLITICAL REPRESSION IN ENGLAND • NEEDED CHANGES – DUE TO INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION.

  5. PERIOD OF CHANGE (cont.) • MILL TOWNS GREW • THE LANDSCAPE - SUBDIVIDED • FACTORIES SPEWED POLLUTION OVER SLUMS • THE POPULATION - DIVIDED INTO RICH & POOR.

  6. LACK OF REFORM • NO REFORMS – philosophy of LAISSEZ-FAIRE (“LET ALONE”) prevailed. • Lack of reforms caused the Romantic poets to turn to a more private, spontaneous, lyric poetry that championed the cause of the “common man”

  7. LACK OF REFORM (cont.) • CONSEQUENCES • LOW WAGES • HORRIBLE WORKING CONDITIONS • LARGE-SCALE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN & CHILDREN IN BRUTALLY HARD OCCUPATIONS (SUCH AS COAL MINING).

  8. LACK OF REFORM (cont.) • IN THE FACE OF TECHNOLOGICAL UN-EMPLOYMENT & POVERTY, WORKERS • COULD NOT VOTE • RESORT TO PROTESTS & RIOTS • INCUR FURTHER REPRESSION • THE POOR SUFFERED • THE LEISURE CLASS PROSPERED.

  9. PLIGHT OF WOMEN • WOMEN OF ALL CLASSES • REGARDED AS INFERIOR TO MEN • UNDEREDUCATED • LIMITED VOCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES • STRICT CODE OF SEXUAL BEHAVIOR • ALMOST NO LEGAL RIGHTS.

  10. PLIGHT OF WOMEN (cont.) • THE CAUSE OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS WAS LARGELY IGNORED.

  11. ROMANTICISM • Embraced imagination and naturalness • Turned away from 18th century emphasis on reason and artifice • Fascination with youth and innocence • Question tradition and authority

  12. ROMANTICISM (cont.) • ROMANTIC POETS – • REJECTED PUBLIC, FORMAL, AND WITTY WORKS OF THE PREVIOUS CENTURY • EMBRACED PERSONAL EXPERIENCES • EMOTIONS • SIMPLE ,UNADORNED LANGUAGE

  13. ROMANTIC POETS (cont.) • LYRIC FORM TO EXPRESS, FEELINGS, SELF-REVOLATION, & IMAGINATION • DEMOCRATIC ATTITUDE TOWARD AUDIENCE, “ A MAN SPEAKING TO MEN.” • TURNED TO AN INNER DREAM WORLD TO BLOCK OUT THE UGLY INDUSTRIAL AGE THEY LIVED IN • INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY • SYMPATHIZED WITH REBELS

  14. ROMANTIC POETS (cont.) • NATURE – TRANSFORMATIVE • NATURE – HUMAN MIND “MIRRORED” THE OTHER’S CREATIVE PROPERTIES

  15. POETIC THEORY & PRACTICE • WORDSWORTH TRIED TO ARTICULATE THE SPIRIT OF THE NEW POETRY IN THE PREFACE TO LYRICAL BALLADS (1800, 1802).

  16. CONCEPT OF POETRY • POETRY WAS SEEN AS THE “SPONTA-NEOUS OVERFLOW OF POWERFUL FEELINGS” • THE ESSENCE OF POETRY WAS THE MIND, EMOTIONS, & IMAGINATION OF THE POET (NOT THE OUTER WORLD).

  17. POETRY & THE POET • FIRST-PERSON LYRIC POEM BECAME THE MAJOR ROMANTIC LITERARY FORM, WITH “I” OFTEN REFERRING DIRECTLY TO THE POET. • THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SELF BE-CAME A MAJOR TOPIC OF ROMANTIC POETRY.

  18. POETRY & THE POET (cont.) • POETS OFTEN SAW THEMSELVES AS PROPHETS IN A TIME OF CRISIS, REVISING THE PROMISE OF DIVINE REDEMPTION IN TERMS OF A “HEAVEN” ON EARTH.

  19. POETIC SPONTANEITY, FREEDOM • Initial act of poetic composition must: • Arise from impulse; • Be free from the rules inherited from the past • Rely on instinct, intuition, and feeling

  20. NATURE • Accurate observation & description of wild nature important because, • Serves as a stimulus to thinking • Contributes to the resolution of personal problems • Resolution of crises

  21. NATURE (cont.) • LANDSCAPE • GIVEN HUMAN QUALITIES OR • SEEN AS A SYSTEM OF SYMBOLS REVEALING THE NATURE OF GOD. • CLOSENESS TO NATURE WAS SEEN AS BRINGING OUT HUMANITY’S INNATE GOODNESS.

  22. GLORIFICATION OF THE COMMONPLACE • HUMBLE, RUSTIC SUBJECT MATTER & PLAIN STYLE BECAME THE PRINCIPAL SUBJECT & MEDIUM OF POETRY.

  23. THE COMMONPLACE (cont.) • POETS SOUGHT TO REFRESH READERS’ SENSE OF WONDER ABOUT THE ORDINARY THINGS OF EXISTENCE, TO MAKE THE “OLD” WORLD SEEM NEW.

  24. THE SUPERNATURAL & STRANGE • MANY ROMANTIC POEMS: • EXPLORE THE REALM OF MYSTERY & MAGIC • INCORPORATE MATERIALS FROM FOLKLORE & SUPERSTITION • OFTEN SET IN DISTANT OR FARAWAY PLACES

  25. THE STRANGE (cont.) • RENEWED INTEREST IN THE MIDDLE AGES (AND THE BALLAD FORM) AS A BEAUTIFUL, EXOTIC, MYSTERIOUS BYGONE ERA.

  26. THE STRANGE (cont.) • THERE WAS ALSO GREAT INTEREST IN UNUSUAL MODES OF EXPERIENCE, • VISIONARY STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS • HYPNOTISM • DREAMS • DRUG-INDUCED STATES, AND SO FORTH.

  27. THE STRANGE (cont.) • GOTHIC • Eerie and supernatural elements • Stories set in gloomy, medieval castles • Intention – make readers, blood run cold • Expressed a sense of helplessness about: • Things beyond control • Revolutions in Europe • Industrialization’s economic changes

  28. INDIVIDUALISM & STRIVING • HUMAN BEINGS WERE SEEN AS ESSEN-TIALLY NOBLE & GOOD (THOUGH COR-RUPTED BY SOCIETY) • POSSESSING GREAT POWER & POTENTIAL THAT HAD FORMERLY BEEN ASCRIBED ONLY TO GOD.

  29. INDIVIDUALISM (cont.) • THERE WAS EMPHASIS ON • BELIEF IN DEMOCRATIC IDEALS • CONCERN FOR HUMAN LIBERTY • A GREAT OUTCRY AGAINST VARIOUS FORMS OF TYRANNY.

  30. INDIVIDUALISM (cont.) • THE HUMAN MIND WAS SEEN AS • CREATING (AT LEAST IN PART) THE WORLD AROUND IT • HAVING ACCESS TO THE INFINITE VIA THE FACULTY OF IMAGINATION.

  31. INDIVIDUALISM (cont.) • REFUSING TO ACCEPT LIMITATIONS, HUMAN BEINGS SET INFINITE, INACCESSIBLE GOALS, THUS MAKING FAILURE & IMPERFECTION GLORIOUS ACCOMPLISHMENTS.

  32. INDIVIDUALISM (cont.) • REFUSAL TO ACCEPT LIMITATIONS FOUND EXPRESSION IN BOLD POETIC EXPERIMENTATION.

  33. INDIVIDUALISM (cont.) • MANY WRITERS ISOLATED THEMSELVES FROM SOCIETY TO FOCUS ON THEIR INDIVIDUAL VISION. • THEME OF EXILE WAS COMMON - THE ROMANTIC NON-CONFORMIST OFTEN SEEN AS A GREAT SINNER OR OUTLAW.

  34. INDIVIDUALISM (cont) • BYRONIC HERO • “Mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” – Lady Caroline Lamb, speaking of George Gordon, Lord Byron • “A man proud, moody, cynical, with defiance on his brow, and misery in his heart, a scorner of his kind, implacable in revenge, yet capable of deep and strong affection.” • Reckless, wounded manhood

  35. ROMANTIC POETS • Dominated by six poets: • William Blake • Samuel Taylor Coleridge • William Wordsworth • Percy Bysshe Shelley • John Keats • George Gordon, Lord Byron

  36. William Blake

  37. William Wordsworth

  38. Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  39. Percy Bysshe Shelley

  40. John Keats

  41. George Gordon, Lord Byron