The Romantic Erain British Literature 1798-1832
Objectives and Skills • CCSS.ELA-Literacy RL. 12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL12.5 Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact. • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L. 12.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening. • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. • Skills: • Figurative Language – metaphor, simile, symbolism • Tone • Purpose
What does it mean to call something Romantic? Take a few minutes and jot down your thoughts on a sheet of notebook paper. Brainstorm a list, or write a paragraph of your ideas about the word Romantic.
For each statement, write down “A” if you agree or “D” if you disagree 1. The answers to life’s most puzzling questions can be found through discussions with a simple person who lives in the country close to nature—not with a sophisticated, well-educated person from the city. 2. The answer to life’s most puzzling questions can be found through a connection with nature. 3. The use of one’s imagination is more important than rational (based on reason or fact) thought. 4. Subjectivity (personally biased) is more important than objectivity (unbiased).
5. Knowledge is gained through gut reactions and subjective hunches rather than level-headed, objective, rational thought. 6. Nature is more important than art. 7. Experimental trial and error is a better process than the conventional scientific method. 8. Poetry should be spontaneous and full of emotion, not planned and straightforward. 9. Sensitivity, feelings, and spontaneity are more important than intellectualism. 10. “Dare to be” is a better motto than “dare to know.”
Are you Romantic? Tally up your number of As: 3 or fewer As = not romantic 4 or 5 As = sort of romantic 6 or 7 As = highly romantic 8-10 As = extremely romantic Has your idea of the word Romantic changed in any way? If so, how?
Romanticism • The words Romantic or Romance originally referred to Medieval tales of knights written in the original Roman language - Latin. These tales often included love stories between a knight and his lady - resulting in the modern meaning of romance. • When talking about the Romantic Era in literature, we are actually referring to romantic as “freely imaginative fiction” and not romantic as in “romantic love”
Let’s take a step back to the Age of Reason to better understand the Romantic Era
In the Age of Reason, Writers stressed: Reason and Judgement Concern with the universal experience The value of society as a whole The value of rules In the Romantic Era, Writers stressed: Imagination and Emotion Concern with the particular experience The value of the individual human being The value of freedom Age of Reason vs. Romantic Era
Characteristics of the Romantic Era 1. Common Man and Childhood over Urban Sophistication Romantics believed in the natural goodness of humans, which is hindered by the urban life of civilization. They believed that the savage is noble, childhood is good and the emotions inspired by both beliefs causes the heart to soar. 2. Emotions over Reason Romantics believed that knowledge is gained through intuition rather than deduction. This is best summed up by Wordsworth who stated that “all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.”
3. Nature over Artificial Romantics stressed the awe of nature in art and language and the experience of sublimity through a connection with nature. Romantics rejected the ideas of the industrial revolution . 4. The Individual over Society Romantics often elevated the achievements of the misunderstood, heroic individual outcast. 5. Imagination over Logic Romantics legitimized the individual imagination as a critical authority.
Which characteristics of the Romantic Era does this painting evoke? William Turner. Arundel Castle, with Rainbow, 1824
Which characteristics of the Romantic Era does this painting evoke? William Blake, Jacob’s Ladder, 1799-1806 (English)
Which characteristics of the Romantic Era does this painting evoke? John Constable, The White Horse, 1819 (English)
To the Romantics, nature provided the pattern on which to base their creative lives. The Romantics watched as cities grew, industry prospered and farming life declined. In an effort to reclaim nature, the Romantics made it a central force in their lives and their literature. Nature was celebrated as a source of delight, an image of love, and a model of moral perfection.
What Romantic Era themes does this painting evoke? John Constable, Dedham Church and Vale, 1800
Five Major Romantic Era Poets William Wordsworth William Blake Lord Byron Percy Shelley John Keats
William Wordsworth • Helped to launch the Romantic Age • His most famous work is The Prelude chronicles the spiritual life of the poet • Has an interest and sympathy for the life and troubles of the “common man” • He is considered the nature poet by focusing ordinary people in country settings
William Blake • Started writing poetry when he was twelve • Blake was a nonconformist who associated with some of the leading radical thinkers of his day • He rebelled against traditional poetic forms and techniques • He valued imagination over reason
Lord Byron • He indulged in excesses and had huge debts and many love affairs • His most famous creations are his dark heroes, called Byronic heroes, who, in fact, were not heroes at all, but stood out from ordinary humans as larger than life
Percy Shelley • Shelley had a very unconventional life and was very idealistic • He was also a radical nonconformist • He did not become famous until after his death
John Keats • During his life, his poems did not receive favorable reviews by the critics • The poetry of Keats is characterized by sensual imagery, most notably in his odes