Literary Connections: Romanticism in English literature

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Romanticism in English literature

N.B.: This page is a basic introduction to the period. Many important aspects of Romanticism have been deliberately left out for the sake of brevity. These include female Romantic poets (e.g. Charlotte Smith, Anna Letitia Barbauld), American Transcendentalists (e.g. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau), continental European Romantics (e.g. Goethe, Friedrich Hölderlin) and the politicis of the era. Anyone interested in a fuller understanding of Romanticism should research these areas.

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British Romanticism produced many of the world's greatest poets

The same year that Lyrical Ballads was published, Wordsworth began writing The Prelude, an epic autobiographical poem that he would revise throughout his life (it was published posthumously in 1850). While working on The Prelude, Wordsworth produced other poetry, such as "Lucy." He also wrote a preface for the second edition of Lyrical Ballads; it described his poetry as being inspired by powerful emotions and would come to be seen as a declaration of Romantic principles.

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John Keats: (1795 – 1821):
Keats was the prodigy of the Romantics. Though dead at age 25, he was enormously prolific. During his brief career, he was stubbornly (tough fairly successfully) insistent on maintaining his artistic independence and originally, even going so far as to refuse to befriend Percy Shelley out of fear that the slightly older, more established poet might influence his writing. As a result, Keats's poetry, though distinctly Romantic in flavor, is unlike any of his contemporaries. He is best known for his sonnets and odes, particularly "Ode to a Nightingale" and Ode on a Grecian Urn." He is also well-known for his love of the classics of antiquity, which often filters into his poetry.

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Romanticism - Keats Shelley House

Origins of the Symphonic Poem
– Opera overtures became popular as separate concert pieces (textbook, p. 204)
– Composers began writing single-movement concert pieces inspired by literature, legend, nature, patriotic themes, etc.
– Nationalistic composers sought to “free themselves” from standard forms such as the German symphony (textbook, p. 212)

Romanticism Movement, Artists and Major Works | The Art Story

Romantic, when used about English literature and given a capital letter, refers to a period from around 1789 (the beginning of the French Revolution) to about 1832 (the death of Sir Walter Scott). An alternative starting date is the publication in 1798 of Wordsworth and Coleridge's . Other major Romantic writers in English included the poets , , Keats, Shelley and and the essayists Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt.

Songs of Innocence and Experience | English Romanticism

These values manifested themselves in literature in several important ways, listed below. It is important to keep in mind that nothing on this list describes all Romantic literature or all Romantic writers. These general ideas, however, provide a reasonable description of tendencies which would have been fairly commonplace amongst Romantics.

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Lord Byron (1788 – 1824):
Byron is one of the few British Romantic writers to achieve widespread fame during his lifetime. Byron was good friends with Percy Shelley, but very much disliked (and was disliked by) Wordsworth and Coleridge. In fact, Byron’s poetry bears little resemblance to that of the Lake Poets; it’s style and form is much more similar to British poetry of the 18th century. His contribution to the period comes in the form of the Byronic hero, a “boldly defiant but bitterly self-tormenting outcast, proudly contemptuous of social norms but suffering for some unnamed sin” ().

Women are far more dangerous than men

The Romantic Movement included all the arts and not just literature and it began first on the European mainland. The German writer Goethe is a key figure - inspired in part by Shakespeare - as are the composers Beethoven and Berlioz and artists such as J M W Turner and Caspar David Friedrich. Romanticism rejected tradition in favour of innovation and placed great emphasis on the poet's feelings, on responses to nature and on the power of the imagination - but of course it was more complicated than can be summed up in a few sentences, so make use of some of the books and websites listed here to find out more.