William Wordsworth and Robert Browning Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 19 May 2017

William Wordsworth and Robert Browning

Literature is characterized by having various genres which are created by different poets and writers. Poets do not just use certain pre-determined poetic methods in expressing their thoughts and ideas. Poetry is a mere expression of poet’s feelings towards the environment in which one finds himself; ultimately, these feelings form a kind of poetic observation which is then turned into the work of poetic writing. It is very often that the poetic method used by a poet signifies the period during which this poet lived.

Robert Browning and William Wordsworth lived at almost the same era, but their works were very different from each other. It is not hard to distinguish Browning’s work from that of Wordsworth by the methods they employed in their poems. It is important to analyze what makes their works identifiable and different from each other. Wordsworth is considered to be a romantic poet while Browning is a social realist. Thesis statement: although Browning and Wordsworth were contemporaries, their poetic works are very different through the prism of genres they used in their creative writing.

Many poetic critics and experts consider Wordsworth to have initiated the era of Romanticism in the English literature. Wordsworth has created new definitions and new insights into poetry, and has actually changed the traditional structure of attitudes towards poetry (Bristow 115). In terms of its origin and influence on poetry, Romanticism was extremely widespread. It has become one of the two major artistic philosophies of the Western culture (Wilson 19). The Romantic Movement actually started in about 1770, and it has ultimately transformed all literary approaches within and beyond poetry (Bristow 116).

Its origins can be found in the social changes of the 18th century, in a new awareness of nature as it was researched by scientists and writers in a reaction against industrialization and in intellectual support for radical political ideas (Wilson 38). Romanticism called for creating opposition towards everything that existed during the time in which Wordsworth was living. Though emotions like terror and rage could also be found in the Romantic literary works, the most popular emotion was love. The inspiration for this emotion stemmed from the relationship of a loving couple.

In this context, Wordsworth was completely different from Browning, as he pursued the romantic ideals in his poetry in distinction from social realistic images created by Browning. In distinction from Wordsworth, in his poetry Robert Browning was employing the principles and instruments of social realism. Social realism defined a truthful and historically concrete representation of reality in the process of its revolutionary development (Hassett 29). It was aimed at illustrating and explaining the unpleasant side of human life through poverty, immorality and war.

The poets of social realism did not pay much attention to their style, but emphasized the importance of the message conveyed through a literary work (Rose 10). The majority of works of that period were actually the reflection of the legacy of revolution and of the hard work of people. Scholars were trying to create a list of distinguishing features between Romanticism and Social Realism, but the differences between these two styles become excellently visible when the works of Wordsworth and Browning are being compared.

William Wordsworth is known as a prominent romantic poet. Wordsworth and his poems have later been marked as the end of neoclassical poetry (Wilson 56). He began the Romantic Movement with his collection of Lyrical Ballads in collaboration with Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He has made himself famous by his ability to revoke human feelings towards the beauty of nature. Wordsworth was mainly describing the emotional flame, feelings, and insights which generated the beauty of nature and of a person (Rose 10).

His works were focused on the nature, children, the poor, common people, and Wordsworth was trying to use simple lexicon in expressing his feelings towards the nature around him. Wordsworth’s style is completely different from that of Browning in that Wordsworth was viewing the life through the prism of more pleasant emotions than those expressed by Browning. It may seem surprising that the two contemporary poets have generated the two completely different approaches towards their surroundings, but this is how the choice of the writing style creates significant differences in the works of the two talented poets.

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  • University/College: University of Chicago

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  • Date: 19 May 2017

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