British literature is literature that is associated with the United Kingdom. The first epic poem, Beowulf, starts in the 8th century. The period of the British Literature leads to the 18th century. It includes literature from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The main part of British Literature is written in the English language because of its former colonies of Britain. This form of literature includes writings from Anglo-Norman, Anglo-Saxon, Scots, Scottish, and other languages. Two important periods in British Literature are the Romantic Period and the Modern period.
Even though they are form the same form of literature, they have different aspects that make them unique. There is a change in British Literature from the Romantic period to the Modern period.
The romantic period began in 1770 when Wordsworth and Coleridge published Lyrical Ballads in 1798. The beginning of the Romantic Period was a time of war during the French Revolution. The most recognizable feature of the poetry in this time period shows a new role of individual thought and personal feelings.
Romanticism was a major movement that was influential on shaping modern views into literature. Major themes included in this period were Naturalism, Gothicism, Emotionalism, Exoticism, and Individualism. William Blake was a popular poet during this time. He expressed realism of the new world that was forming in his writings. He is known for his writing of Songs of Innocence and Experience that explains the ignorance and reality of the society that he lives in. Wordsworth is also a well-known poet who talks about nature and how society is unappreciative of the world that they live in.
He explains how nature is something that is extremely important, but people take it for granted. He repeated how mankind is not interested in nature as much as they should be. He explains this by saying, “For this, for everything, we are out of tune” (line 8). The realistic way of thinking began in the 17th and 18th centuries and allowed poets to talk more about their opinions and views during this period.
The Modern Period has some differences that makes it different from the Romantic Period. Realism is a lot more important in this era than any of the others in British Literature. The realism in this era was brought by tragedy of major historical events that happened through this time. There was a lot of poems written about war, death, terrorist attacks, and even the Titanic ship sinking. Every work was more emotional and realistic than other poems from different time periods. Dylan Thomas was a popular poet during the Modern Period era. In his work Do not go gentle into that good night, he speaks directly to humankind and states: “Do not go gentle into that good night/Rage, rage against the dying of the light” (line 18-19). Thomas is mentioning the state of which humankind is giving up on the world and does not care much about what is going on. Many other poems in this time period are more realistic with their works and discuss multiple events that happened in society.
The Romantic Period and Modern Period share the same aspects in which they both point out the realism in the society vs. the world. When more wars and tragic events where happening in the world, writers decided to share their experiences and opinions on society. Literature relies on the way that the world changes around it. That is one thing that all periods have in common. All poets in British literature will continue to rely on what events happening in the world to help them write their poetry to make people realize what is going on around them in a more realistic way.
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