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Romantic poetry is the poetry of the Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century. It involved a reaction against prevailing Enlightenment ideas of the 18th century,and lasted approximately from 1800 to 1850.
In early-19th-century England, the poet William Wordsworth defined his and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's innovative poetry in his Preface to Lyrical Ballads (1798):
I have said before that poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin in emotion recollected in tranquility: the emotion is contemplated till, by a species of reaction, the tranquility gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that which was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced, and does itself actually exist in the mind.
The poems of Lyrical Ballads intentionally re-imagined the way poetry should sound: "By fitting to metrical arrangement a selection of the real language of men," Wordsworth and his English contemporaries, such as Coleridge, John Keats, Percy Shelley, and William Blake, wrote poetry that was meant to boil up from serious, contemplative reflection over the interaction of humans with their environment. Although many stress the notion of spontaneity in Romantic poetry, the movement was still greatly concerned with the difficulty of composition and of translating these emotions into poetic form. Indeed, Coleridge, in his essay On Poesy or Art, sees art as “the mediatress between, and reconciler of nature and man”.Such an attitude reflects what might be called the dominant theme of English Romantic poetry: the filtering of natural emotion through the human mind in order to create meaning.
One of the most important concepts in Romantic poetry. The sublime in literature refers to use of language and description that excites thoughts and emotions beyond ordinary experience. Though often associated with grandeur, the sublime may also refer to the grotesque or other extraordinary experiences that "take us beyond ourselves.”
The literary concept of the sublime became important in the eighteenth century. It is associated with the 1757 treatise by Edmund Burke, though it has earlier roots. The idea of the sublime was taken up by Immanuel Kant and the Romantic poets including especially William Wordsworth.
Romantic poetry contrasts with Neoclassical poetry, which was the product of intellect and reason, while Romantic poetry is more the product of emotion. Romantic poetry at the beginning of the nineteenth century was a reaction against the set standards, conventions of eighteenth-century poetry. According to William J. Long, "[T]he Romantic movement was marked, and is always marked, by a strong reaction and protest against the bondage of rule and custom which in science and theology as well as literature, generally tend to fetter the free human spirit."[ full citation needed ]
Belief in the importance of the imagination is a distinctive feature of romantic poets such as John Keats, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and P. B. Shelley, unlike the neoclassical poets. Keats said, “I am certain of nothing but of the holiness of the Heart's affections and the truth of Imagination- What the imagination seizes as beauty must be truth.” For Wordsworth and William Blake, as well as Victor Hugo and Alessandro Manzoni, the imagination is a spiritual force, is related to morality, and they believed that literature, especially poetry, could improve the world. The secret of great art, Blake claimed, is the capacity to imagine. To define imagination, in his poem "Auguries of Innocence", Blake said:
Love for nature is another important feature of romantic poetry, as a source of inspiration. This poetry involves a relationship with external nature and places, and a belief in pantheism. However, the romantic poets differed in their views about nature. Wordsworth recognized nature as a living thing, teacher, god and everything. These feelings are fully developed and expressed in his epic poem The Prelude . In his poem "The Tables Turn" he writes:
Shelley was another nature poet, who believed that nature is a living thing and there is a union between nature and man. Wordsworth approaches nature philosophically, while Shelley emphasises the intellect. John Keats is another a lover of nature, but Coleridge differs from other romantic poets of his age, in that he has a realistic perspective on nature. He believes that nature is not the source of joy and pleasure, but rather that people's reactions to it depends on their mood and disposition. Coleridge believed that joy does not come from external nature, but that it emanates from the human heart.
Melancholy occupies a prominent place in romantic poetry, and is an important source of inspiration for the Romantic poets. In '"Ode to a Nightingale", Keats wrote:
Romantic poetry was attracted to nostalgia, and medievalism is another important characteristic of romantic poetry, especially in the works of John Keats and Coleridge.[ citation needed ] They were attracted to exotic, remote and obscure places, and so they were more attracted to Middle Ages than to their own age.
The world of classical Greece was important to the Romantics. John Keats' poetry is full of allusions to the art, literature and culture of Greece, as for example in "Ode on a Grecian Urn".
Most of the romantic poets used supernatural elements in their poetry. Samuel Taylor Coleridge is the leading romantic poet in this regard, and "Kubla Khan" is full of supernatural elements.
Romantic poetry is the poetry of sentiments, emotions and imagination. Romantic poetry opposed the objectivity of neoclassical poetry. Neoclassical poets avoided describing their personal emotions in their poetry, unlike the Romantics.[ citation needed ]
French literature from the first half of the century was dominated by Romanticism, which is associated with such authors as Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, père, François-René de Chateaubriand, Alphonse de Lamartine, Gérard de Nerval, Charles Nodier, Alfred de Musset, Théophile Gautier and Alfred de Vigny. Their influence was felt in theatre, poetry, prose fiction. The effect of the romantic movement would continue to be felt in the latter half of the century in diverse literary developments, such as "realism", "symbolism", and the so-called fin de siècle "decadent" movement.
German Romanticism was the dominant intellectual movement in the philosophy, the arts, and the culture of German-speaking countries in the late-18th and early 19th centuries. Compared to English Romanticism, German Romanticism developed relatively late, and, in the early years, coincided with Weimar Classicism (1772–1805); in contrast to the seriousness of English Romanticism, the German variety of Romanticism notably valued wit, humour, and beauty.
Sturm und Drang, literally "Storm and Drive", "Storm and Urge", though conventionally translated as "Storm and Stress")is a proto-Romantic movement in German literature and music that took place from the late 1760s to the early 1780s, in which individual subjectivity and, in particular, extremes of emotion were given free expression in reaction to the perceived constraints of rationalism imposed by the Enlightenment and associated aesthetic movements. The period is named for Friedrich Maximilian Klinger's play Sturm und Drang , which was first performed in 1777.
The philosopher Johann Georg Hamann is considered to be the ideologue of Sturm und Drang, with Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz, H. L. Wagner and Friedrich Maximilian Klinger also significant figures. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was also a notable proponent of the movement, though he and Friedrich Schiller ended their period of association with it by initiating what would become Weimar Classicism.
Jena Romanticism – also the Jena Romantics or Early Romanticism (Frühromantik) – is the first phase of Romanticism in German literature represented by the work of a group centred in Jena from about 1798 to 1804.
Heidelberg was the centre of the epoch of Romantik (Romanticism) in Germany. The phase after Jena Romanticism is often called Heidelberg Romanticism (see also Berlin Romanticism). There was a famous circle of poets, the Heidelberg Romantics, such as Joseph von Eichendorff, Johann Joseph von Görres, Ludwig Achim von Arnim, and Clemens Brentano. A relic of Romanticism is the Philosophers' Walk (German: Philosophenweg), a scenic walking path on the nearby Heiligenberg, overlooking Heidelberg.
The Romantik epoch of German philosophy and literature, was described as a movement against classical and realistic theories of literature, a contrast to the rationality of the Age of Enlightenment. It elevated medievalism and elements of art and narrative perceived to be from the medieval period. It also emphasized folk art, nature and an epistemology based on nature, which included human activity conditioned by nature in the form of language, custom and usage.
Romanticism in Poland was a literary, artistic and intellectual period in the evolution of Polish culture, which began around 1820, coinciding with the publication of Adam Mickiewicz's first poems in 1822. It ended with the suppression of the Polish-Lithuanian January 1863 Uprising against the Russian Empire in 1864. The latter event ushered in a new era in Polish culture known as Positivism.
The 19th century is traditionally referred to as the "Golden Era" of Russian literature. Romanticism permitted a flowering of especially poetic talent: the names of Vasily Zhukovsky and later that of his protégé Alexander Pushkin came to the fore. Pushkin is credited with both crystallizing the literary Russian language and introducing a new level of artistry to Russian literature. His best-known work is a novel in verse, Eugene Onegin . An entire new generation of poets including Mikhail Lermontov, Yevgeny Baratynsky, Konstantin Batyushkov, Nikolay Nekrasov, Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy, Fyodor Tyutchev and Afanasy Fet followed in Pushkin's steps.
Pushkin is considered by many to be the central representative of Romanticism in Russian literature; however, he can't be labelled unequivocally as a Romantic. Russian critics have traditionally argued that his works represent a path from neo-Classicism through Romanticism to Realism. An alternative assessment suggests that "he had an ability to entertain contrarities [sic] which may seem Romantic in origin, but are ultimately subversive of all fixed points of view, all single outlooks, including the Romantic" and that "he is simultaneously Romantic and not Romantic".
Scottish poet Robert Burns became a "people’s poet" in Russia. In Imperial times the Russian aristocracy were so out of touch with the peasantry that Burns, translated into Russian, became a symbol for the ordinary Russian people. In Soviet Russia, Burns was elevated as the archetypical poet of the people – not least since the Soviet regime slaughtered and silenced its own poets. A new translation of Burns, begun in 1924 by Samuil Marshak, proved enormously popular selling over 600,000 copies. In 1956, the Soviet Union became the first country in the world to honour Burns with a commemorative stamp. The poetry of Burns is taught in Russian schools alongside their own national poets. Burns was a great admirer of the egalitarian ethos behind the French Revolution. Whether Burns would have recognised the same principles at work in the Soviet State at its most repressive is moot. This didn’t stop the Communists from claiming Burns as one of their own and incorporating his work into their state propaganda. The post-communist years of rampant capitalism in Russia have not tarnished Burns' reputation.
Lord Byron was a major influence on almost all Russian poets of the Golden Era, including Pushkin, Vyazemsky, Zhukovsky, Batyushkov, Baratynsky, Delvig and, especially, Lermontov.
Germany and England were major influences on Romantic Spanish poetry. During the late 18th century to the late 19th century, Romanticism spread in the form of philosophy and art throughout Western societies, and the earlier period of this movement overlapped with the Age of Revolutions. The idea of the creative imagination was stressed above the idea of reason, and minute elements of nature, including as insects and pebbles, were now considered divine. Nature was perceived in many different ways by the Spanish Romantics, and Instead of employing allegory, as earlier poets had done, these poets tended to use myth and symbol. The power of human emotion furthermore is emphasised during this period. [ citation needed ] In Catalonia, the Romantic movement was a major trigger for the Catalan Renaissance or 'Renaixença', which would gradually bring back prestige to the Catalan language and literature (in decadence since its 15th-century Golden Age), with the leading figure in poetry of Jacint Verdaguer.Leading Romantic poets include Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (considered the most important), Manuel José Quintana, José Zorrilla, Rosalía de Castro (in Galician and Spanish), and José de Espronceda.
In Swedish literature the Romantic period is between 1809 and 1830,while in Europe, the period is usually seen as running between 1800–1850. The Swedish version was very much influenced by German literature. During this relatively short period, there were so many great Swedish poets, that the era is called the Golden Age. The period started around when several periodicals were published that criticised the literature of the 18th century. The important periodical Iduna, published by the Gothic Society (1811), presented a romanticised version of Gothicismus, a 17th-century cultural movement in Sweden that had centered on the belief in the glory of the Swedish Geats or Goths. The early 19th-century Romantic nationalist version emphasised the Vikings as heroic figures.
Transcendentalism was a philosophical movement that developed in the late 1820s and 1830s in the eastern region of the United States, rooted in English and German Romanticism, the Biblical criticism of Herder and Schleiermacher, the skepticism of Hume,and the transcendental philosophy of Immanuel Kant and of German Idealism. It was also influenced by Indian religions, especially the Upanishads.
The movement was a reaction to or protest against the general state of intellectualism and spirituality.The doctrine of the Unitarian church as taught at Harvard Divinity School was of particular interest.
Poet Walt Whitman (1819–1892), whose major work Leaves of Grass was first published in 1855, was influenced by transcendentalism.Influenced by Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalist movement, itself an offshoot of Romanticism, Whitman's poetry praises nature and the individual human's role in it. However, much like Emerson, Whitman does not diminish the role of the mind or the spirit; rather, he elevates the human form and the human mind, deeming both worthy of poetic praise.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849) is best known for his poetry and short stories, and is widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States and American literature as a whole. Poe, however, strongly disliked transcendentalism.
Another American Romantic poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882), was the most popular poet of his day.He was one of the first American celebrities and was also popular in Europe, and it was reported that 10,000 copies of The Courtship of Miles Standish sold in London in a single day. However, Longfellow's popularity rapidly declined, beginning shortly after his death and into the twentieth century as academics began to appreciate poets like Walt Whitman, Edwin Arlington Robinson, and Robert Frost. In the twentieth century, literary scholar Kermit Vanderbilt noted, "Increasingly rare is the scholar who braves ridicule to justify the art of Longfellow's popular rhymings." 20th-century poet Lewis Putnam Turco concluded "Longfellow was minor and derivative in every way throughout his career [...] nothing more than a hack imitator of the English Romantics." Since Maya Angelou, American Verse, and especially Romantic American verse has not had any notable forerunners.
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Romanticism was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature—all components of modernity. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. It had a significant and complex effect on politics, with romantic thinkers influencing liberalism, radicalism, conservatism and nationalism.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was an English poet, literary critic, philosopher and theologian who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets. He also shared volumes and collaborated with Charles Lamb, Robert Southey, and Charles Lloyd. He wrote the poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, as well as the major prose work Biographia Literaria. His critical work, especially on William Shakespeare, was highly influential, and he helped introduce German idealist philosophy to English-speaking culture. Coleridge coined many familiar words and phrases, including suspension of disbelief. He had a major influence on Ralph Waldo Emerson and on American transcendentalism.
Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often influenced by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of literature's goals and methods. Though the two activities are closely related, literary critics are not always, and have not always been, theorists.
The Lake Poets were a group of English poets who all lived in the Lake District of England, United Kingdom, in the first half of the nineteenth century. As a group, they followed no single "school" of thought or literary practice then known. They were named, only to be uniformly disparaged, by the Edinburgh Review. They are considered part of the Romantic Movement.
Alastor, or The Spirit of Solitude is a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley, written from 10 September to 14 December in 1815 in Bishopsgate, London and first published in 1816. The poem was without a title when Shelley passed it along to his contemporary and friend, Thomas Love Peacock. The poem is 720 lines long. It is considered to be one of the first of Shelley's major poems.
Dark Romanticism is a literary subgenre of Romanticism, reflecting popular fascination with the irrational, the demonic and the grotesque. Often conflated with Gothicism, it has shadowed the euphoric Romantic movement ever since its 18th-century beginnings. Edgar Allan Poe is often celebrated as one of the supreme exponents of the tradition.
19th-century science was greatly influenced by Romanticism, an intellectual movement that originated in Western Europe as a counter-movement to the late-18th-century Enlightenment. Romanticism incorporated many fields of study, including politics, the arts, and the humanities.
Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature.
"Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood" is a poem by William Wordsworth, completed in 1804 and published in Poems, in Two Volumes (1807). The poem was completed in two parts, with the first four stanzas written among a series of poems composed in 1802 about childhood. The first part of the poem was completed on 27 March 1802 and a copy was provided to Wordsworth's friend and fellow poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who responded with his own poem, "Dejection: An Ode", in April. The fourth stanza of the ode ends with a question, and Wordsworth was finally able to answer it with seven additional stanzas completed in early 1804. It was first printed as "Ode" in 1807, and it was not until 1815 that it was edited and reworked to the version that is currently known, "Ode: Intimations of Immortality".
The Lucy poems are a series of five poems composed by the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth (1770–1850) between 1798 and 1801. All but one were first published during 1800 in the second edition of Lyrical Ballads, a collaboration between Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge that was both Wordsworth's first major publication and a milestone in the early English Romantic movement. In the series, Wordsworth sought to write unaffected English verse infused with abstract ideals of beauty, nature, love, longing and death.
Michael O'Neill was an English poet and academic, specialising in the Romantic period and post-war poetry.
Susan J. Wolfson is Professor of English at Princeton University. She received her PhD from University of California, Berkeley and, previous to Princeton, taught for thirteen years at Rutgers University New Brunswick. Wolfson's recent books include Frankenstein: Longman Cultural Edition (2007). Formal Charges: The Shaping of Poetry in English Romanticism and The Questioning Presence: Wordsworth, Keats, and the Interrogative Mode in Romantic Poetry ; two editions, Lord Byron: Selected Poems, co-edited with Peter Manning, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, coedited with Barry V. Qualls, and scholarship on William Blake, S.T. Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Dorothy Wordsworth, Mary Lamb, Lord Byron, John Keats, Felicia Hemans, Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, various topics on British Romanticism.
The sublime in literature refers to use of language and description that excites thoughts and emotions beyond ordinary experience. Though often associated with grandeur, the sublime may also refer to the grotesque or other extraordinary experiences that "take[s] us beyond ourselves.”
Romanticism originated in the 2nd half of the 18th century at the same time as the French Revolution. Romanticism continued to grow in reaction to the effects of the social transformation caused by the Revolution. There are many signs of these effects of the French Revolution in various pieces of Romantic literature. By examining the influence of the French Revolution, one can determine that Romanticism arose as a reaction to the French Revolution. Instead of searching for rules governing nature and human beings, the romantics searched for a direct communication with nature and treated humans as unique individuals not subject to scientific rules.
The sonnet was a popular form of poetry during the Romantic period: William Wordsworth wrote 523 sonnets, John Keats 67, Samuel Taylor Coleridge 48, and Percy Bysshe Shelley 18.
Romanticism in Scotland was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that developed between the late eighteenth and the early nineteenth centuries. It was part of the wider European Romantic movement, which was partly a reaction against the Age of Enlightenment, emphasising individual, national and emotional responses, moving beyond Renaissance and Classicist models, particularly to the Middle Ages.
Romanticism was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century. Scholars regard the publishing of William Wordsworth's and Samuel Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads in 1798 as probably the beginning of the movement, and the crowning of Queen Victoria in 1837 as its end. Romanticism arrived in other parts of the English-speaking world later; in America, it arrived around 1820.
Nicholas Hugh Roe, FBA, FRSE is a scholar of English literature and an academic, specialising in Romantic literature and culture. Since 1996, he has been Professor of English Literature at the University of St Andrews. After completing his undergraduate degrees and doctorate at Trinity College, Oxford, Roe joined St Andrews as a lecturer in English in 1985; he was promoted to Reader in 1993.
Fiona Stafford FBA is Professor of English Language and Literature and a Fellow of Somerville College at the University of Oxford.