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According to the Norton Anthropology of English Literature textbook, “The Romantic period, though by far the shortest, is at least as complex and diverse as any other period in British literary history” (Greenblatt 3). After reading the textbook and watching the videos on The Romantic Movement, I do believe Romanticism is very important in history, it has helped human beings become their own individuals. Romanticism started in the 1750s with the work of artists, poets, and philosophers. “The Romantic Movement was a birth to the modern world, which created a start for consumerism, industrialization, urbanization, and secularization” (“History of Ideas-Romanticism”).
Romantics despised the Enlightenment movement, it was against almost everything the Romantics believed in.
“As we know, the Enlightenment movement was all about people believing in science, logic, reasoning, progress, and controlling how people live their lives through politics, the law, and through church and education. The Romantics rebelled against the Enlightenment movement through paintings, poetry, the way they live their lives, and through music” (Private).
During the romantic movement, there were two significant moments in history that inspired the romantics to rebel, they were the French revolution and the Industrial revolution. The French revolution was a time where people overthrew the monarchy and the people deiced to gain control to take over the government. “Three important books epitomize the radical social thinking stimulated by the revolution. Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790) justified the Revolution against Edmund Burke’s attack in his Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790).
Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man (1791-92) also advocated for England a democratic republic that was to be achieved, if lesser pressures failed, by popular revolution” (Greenblatt 6). The industrial revolution was the beaning of the textile industry, children played a big part in factory work. “William Blake wrote poetry about the Industrial Revolution. Blake wrote about how children were neglected and had to work in poor working conditions. He also wrote about how the Indtrial revolution affected everyone negatively” (Private). When I first saw the words “The Romantic Movement”, I thought I had to do with love and heartbreak, in a sense it does, but in Romanticism, it is much more than that. During the Romantic movement, there were many themes. The main theme I saw, from the information I was given, was ”Romanticism was a new way of looking at nature, love, sex, money, and work” (“History of Ideas-Romanticism”).
“The Romantic Era had to deal with rebellion, being yourself, expressing emotions of terror, anger, sadness, love, taking risks, and going on adventures” (Private). Due to the Enlightenment movement people were told to think a certain way and have certain beliefs based off science, politics, religion, etc. “Romantics liked their art to be natural and spontaneous, they liked the idea that their work can be made for everyone. The Romantic movement was about making art simpler, for example; poetry. Romantics did not like the poetry that they grew up with because it was too complex. Due to this issue they began looking at folktales and songs, they realized that they were much simpler so people could understand, so they started using them in their poems” (Private). William Wordsworth is an example of someone who made his writings relatable and understandable.
“For Wordsworth’s polemical purposes, it was in “humble and rustic life” that a natural language— “a language really spoken by men” and “incorporated with the beautiful and permanent forms of nature” — was to be found” (Greenblatt 16). Romantics were inspired by William Shakespeare’s poetry, they saw him as a rebel who broke rules, incorporated humor, tragedy, and many other themes. The reason why Shakespeare’s poetry was not classical is that he makes many themes together. “The Romantics also loved the gothic theme, which included: blood, horror, and supernatural. They liked the gothic theme because it allowed humans to explore their dark sides.
Percy Shelley wife, Mary Shelley, is an example of gothic theme writing, she wrote Frankenstein” (Private). “The Romantics did not like the idea that everything in life made sense, they knew that life had all sorts of emotions like fear happiness sadness and anger. The Romantics tried to express all these emotions and expressions in their work. The Romantic Movement helps develop the ideas of people as individuals and being themselves as well as thinking for themselves” (Private). There were plenty of writers during the Romantic Period. Some of the main writers during the Romantic period were William Wordsworth, William Blake, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. William Wordsworth was one who was responsible for starting the Romantic movement. He wrote poetry in Lyrical Ballads.
“The Preface has been read as a document in which Wordsworth, proving himself a self-made man, arranges for his disinheritance— arranges to cut himself off, he says, “from a large portion of the phrases and figures of speech which from father to son have long been regarded as the common inheritance of Poets.” (Greenblatt 19). Wordsworth also wrote Daffodils and Tintern. “William Blake was one of the earliest writers during the Romantic period. He used ancient Religion, folk tales, myths, legends, and Christianity. to create poetic fantasies. During the Day William Blake was an engraver, he Illustrated a lot of his own poems” (Trivasse). Some of Blakes famous poems were: The Tyger, London, And did those feet in ancient time. Lastly, Samuel Taylor Coleridge was inspired by “bewitching’s, hauntings, in positions, shaped by antiquated treatises on demonology, folklore, and Gothic novels” (Greenblatt 18). Coleridge made three famous poems: Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Christabel, and Kubla Khan. us
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