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Romanticism In The 18th And 19th Century English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 944 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The term romanticism does not have a set definition. The style was a large part of British literature. Romanticism not only influenced a style of writing it also influenced other forms of art such as: music and paintings. Romanticism became popular within a short period of time. As a style of literature there were many elements and characteristics that were used. These elements and characteristics helped distinguish romanticism from any other forms and styles of literature. There were many authors of romanticism. Not all of the authors had the same writing style. Neither did they base their writings off of the same events.

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There are many essential elements to romanticism. A few of the elements are: spiritual power of nature, importance of imagination, and dignity of the artist (Wilhelm 706). Imagination was one of the most used elements. Romanticism grew around imagination very quickly (Egendorf 32). Imagination was not only a result of the eighteenth century; it was also a reaction to other trends and ideas (33). External nature and love were some other essential elements to romanticism (28). Romantic writers preferred that their nature be untamed and wild (Wilhelm 702). The overwhelming nature inspired the writers because of the fear. They were more interested in the fear more than the ordinary appreciation of nature (702). The writers were far more interested in the way the heart represents the origin of emotion than in its mechanics (700).Romantic works were full of exotic extremes, nightmares, visions and quests after the impossible (Wilhelm 699). Lone wanderers, innocent children, and oddness were some other factors in romantic period works (699). They wrote about children because they led the most natural life (702). Writing about children helped change the way people look at children (706). Romantic writers developed various forms of reminiscence and primitivism (Drabble). Romantic writings had many different topics. A few topics were: Gothic, Tintern Abbey, Romantic Landscape, Satanic hero and Byronic hero (Topics 2). Gothic started in the mid-eighteenth century (1). It opened more consideration to nightmarish terror, violence and sexual rapacity (1). Gothic displayed nothing more than a delightful tremor (1). Tintern Abbey was a very different method. It was equal to the diverse field of romanticism (2). Satanic and Byronic hero topics were important to the romantic period because it brought certain subjects up (2). A few of the subjects that were brought up were: individualism, revolution, and the relationship of the author (2). All of these subjects were important from these topics because they were thought about to the society (2).

Romantic writers all had their own way and style of writing. Most shared a serious attitude towards the methods(Wilhelm 702).They also shared the same attitude toward the benefits of science. Majority of the writers were either hermits or exiles (Drabble). Their writings reflected the feelings about the revolution sweeping across Europe (Egendorf 12). Not all of the writers reflected their works towards the revolution. Some were more cautious when it came to writing about the revolution. Those who were more cautious liked to write about rural, home life (12). When writing, authors looked back to the past for relief against hard feelings from the society (Moss 217). William Blake believed that science did not hold the secrets of the universe, he believed imagination held the secrets(Wilhelm 700). William Blake said ” Vision or imagination is a representation of what externally exists, really and unchangeably”( 700). He was rebellious in his writings (Egendorf 61). He wrote against the cultural trends of his time. Blake wrote poetry that showed how he was an earthly, and creative writer. Wordsworth and Coleridge were poerty writers in the romantic period. They were drawn from the lives of uneducated people ( Wilhelm 702). Wordsworth promoted that the language of poetry to return to simple language and homely events (Egendorf 42). William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge both used informal language, instead of formal language (Wilhelm 702). Wordsworth said “we should shut our books and lift our eyes to the natural world around us” (702). One author that was inspired by Wordsworth and Coleridge was Shelley (704). The french revolution was a great influence and an inspiring tragedy for Shelley (Egendorf 12). Shelley was influenced by a scientist by the name of Erasmus Darwin. He produced numerous inventions, he also was significant to literature. He wrote “The Botanical Garden” and he became famous for it right away. Shelley used the scientific ideas and made them in to nature poems (Moss 116). Writers appear in literature of the romantic period as social and political figures (Moss 406). Romantic writers were creators of some of the greateset works (Egendorf 12).

Writings by key romantic authors can barely be understood. The only way you would be able to understand the writings is with the knowledge of where their plots and concepts were originated from (Topics 1). With the way writers used passion and imagination it transformed the world (Moss 406). Romanticism “ended” in the late nineteenth century. People say that “the end still shows little sign of arriving” (Drabble). Romanticism has helped influence American literature (Wilhelm 706). Rebellious rock lyrics, songwriting and literary themes that are against enlightenment theories are a few examples of how romanticism has influenced today’s culture (Drabble).


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