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ROMANTICISM. The Spirit of an age. ROMANTIC PERIOD IN ENGLISH LITERATURE: 1798-1830 1789 ? Songs of Innocence 1798 ? Lyrical Ballads 1800 ?. WORDSWORTH and COLERIDGE TRIED TO ARTICULATE THE SPIRIT OF THE NEW POETRY IN THE PREFACE TO “ LYRICAL BALLADS “. Wordsworth.
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ROMANTICISM The Spirit of an age
ROMANTIC PERIOD IN ENGLISH LITERATURE: 1798-1830 1789 ? Songs of Innocence 1798 ? Lyrical Ballads 1800 ?
WORDSWORTH and COLERIDGE TRIED TO ARTICULATE THE SPIRIT OF THE NEW POETRY IN THE PREFACE TO “LYRICAL BALLADS “
“LYRICAL BALLADS” THE MANIFESTO OF THE ROMANTIC MOVEMENT
THE TERM “ROMANTICISM” IS DIFFICULT TO DEFINE FOR THE VARIETY OF LITERARY ACHIEVEMENTS, AND THE WRITERS OF THE PERIOD WERE ONLY LATER LABELLED “ROMANTIC.”
The period was dominated by poetry since it was the best vehicle for the renewed interest in imagination and emotions.
POETRY WAS SEEN AS THE “SPONTANEOUS OVERFLOW OF POWERFUL FEELINGS”THE ESSENCE OF POETRY WAS THE EMOTIONS, & IMAGINATION OF THE POET (NOT THE OUTER WORLD).
POETRY & THE POET • FIRST-PERSON LYRIC POEM BECAME THE MAJOR ROMANTIC LITERARY FORM, WITH “I” OFTEN REFERRING DIRECTLY TO THE POET • THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SELF BE-CAME A MAJOR TOPIC OF ROMANTIC POETRY.
The poets began to give great value to individual consciousness, an interest in psychological introspection and meditation as a reaction to the common sense and the grow of a mass-society.
POETS OFTEN SAW THEMSELVES ASPROPHETS IN A TIME OF CRISIS, REVISING THE PROMISE OF DIVINE REDEMPTION IN TERMS OF A “HEAVEN” ON EARTH.
POETIC SPONTANEITY, FREEDOM • INITIAL ACT OF POETIC COMPOSITION MUST ARISE FROM IMPULSE • A POET MUST BE FREE FROM THE RULES INHERITED FROM THE PAST AND RELY ON INSTINCT, INTUITION, & FEELING.
This spirit of revolt against all forms of authority resulted in a kind of: • TITANISM ( overstatement of passions) • Exaltation of IRRATIONAL and MYSTIC aspects of life and to a concern with the SUPERNATURAL • “ poetry for poetry’s sake”, a Greek ideal for beauty
NATURE • IMPORTANCE OF ACCURATE OBSERVATION & DESCRIPTION OF WILD NATURE, WHICH SERVES AS A STIMULUS TO THINKING& TO THE RESOLUTION OF PERSONAL PROBLEMS & CRISES.
NATURE (cont.) • LANDSCAPE WAS OFTEN GIVEN HUMAN QUALITIES OR SEEN AS A SYSTEM OF SYMBOLS REVEALING THE NATURE OF GOD. • NATURE WAS SEEN AS BRINGING OUT HUMANITY’S INNATE GOODNESS.
Romantics see nature through lenses of emotion, usually coloured with melancholy. • Nature is in contrast to the ugliness of the towns of the time. • Far from the pastoral conventions of Augustan Age, it conveyed a new sense of intimate communion between nature and man.
The Romantic conception of nature was influenced by 3 philosophical theories • Platonism or rather Renaissance Neoplatonism, which saw this world as the image of an ideal metaphysical world • Pantheism: Nature and the Universe is moved by an immanent God, whose presence is manifested in every stone and tree. • German idealism: Fichte- Schelling- Hegel regarded eternal reality as a sort of illusion
Shelling • with his philosophy of art, seen as the supreme moment when man, through unconscious intuitions, can grasp the truth behind reality, and his conception of nature, seen as something alive, sharing man’s own feelings, since they are both driven by the same animating principles.
GLORIFICATION OF THE COMMONPLACE • HUMBLE, RUSTIC SUBJECT MATTER & PLAIN STYLE BECAME THE PRINCIPAL SUBJECT & MEDIUM OF POETRY.
THE SUPERNATURAL & STRANGE • The universe was a living entity that could reveal itself on two levels: • The visible and the invisible ( the supernatural) • MANY ROMANTIC POEMS EXPLORE THE REALM OF MYSTERY & MAGIC; INCORPORATE MATERIALS FROM FOLKLORE, SUPERSTITION, ETC , OFTEN SET IN DISTANT OR FARAWAY PLACES.
THE STRANGE • RELATED TO THIS WAS A RENEWED INTEREST IN THE MIDDLE AGES (AND THE BALLAD FORM) AS A BEAUTIFUL, EXOTIC, MYSTERIOUS ERA.
THE STRANGE • THERE WAS ALSO GREAT INTEREST IN UNUSUAL MODES OF EXPERIENCE, SUCH AS VISIONARY STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS, HYPNOTISM, DREAMS, DRUG-INDUCED STATES, AND SO FORTH.
INDIVIDUALISM HUMAN BEINGS WERE SEEN: • AS ESSENTIALLY NOBLE & GOOD (THOUGH CORRUPTED BY SOCIETY) • AS POSSESSING GREAT POWER & POTENTIAL THAT HAD FORMERLY BEEN ASCRIBED ONLY TO GOD.
INDIVIDUALISM • THERE WAS A GREAT BELIEF IN DEMO- CRATIC IDEALS, CONCERN FOR HUMAN LIBERTY, & A GREAT OUTCRY AGAINST VARIOUS FORMS OF TYRANNY.
INDIVIDUALISM • THE HUMAN MIND WAS SEEN AS CREATING (AT LEAST IN PART) THE WORLD AROUND IT, AND AS HAVING ACCESS TO THE INFINITE FACULTY OF IMAGINATION.
INDIVIDUALISM • MANY WRITERS DELIBERATELY ISO-LATED THEMSELVES FROM SOCIETY TO FOCUS ON THEIR INDIVIDUAL VISION.( isolation in Nature) • THEME OF EXILE WAS COMMON, THE NON-CONFORMIST ROMANTICS WERE OFTEN SEEN AS GREAT SINNERS OR OUTLAWS .(revolt aganst society)
Striving for the infinite • The desire to create myths • The Romantics were aware that the search for infinity was destined to fail, but this impossible task was the artist’s mission
The language • It should be written in a “selection of language really used by men” instead of ”Artificial Diction“ • There was a return to earlier verse forms: • Blank verse ( Wordsworth and Shelley): unrhymed iambic pentameter • The sonnet ( Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats) • The Spenzerian Stanza ( Keats) • The Italian Terza Rima ( Shelley) • The Italian Ottava Rima ( Byron) • The Folk ballad Stanza ( Keats, Coleridge)
There were several important differences between first generation of Romantics and the younger second generation: Age and political convictions: • Wordsworth and Coleridge were critical of many existing social conventions • Byron, Shelley and Keats were all exiles , exiled from moral, social and political habits prevailing in English life. • The second generation kept their revolutionary spirit to the end. • Byron and Shelley thought that all authority should be cast aside and leave man free . Keats exiled more in spirit than in body, dedicated himself to a search for timeless beauty
Before analyzing one of Wordsworth’s poems:DAFFODILS • Let’s have a look at the video
Wordsworth : “ DAFFODILS” I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills,When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils;Beside the lake, beneath the trees,Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Wanderedmay suggest: • The isolation and alienation of the poet • it emphasize his loneliness, and how he feels no connection with anyone around him • That indicates that he didn't have a destination or purpose , he was just wandering about, almost as if in search of a friend
A simile:“ as a cloud” • Floating lonely as a cloud symbolizes a separation from the natural world • he states that he "floats on high o'er vales and hills." ,he is far above the hills and vales, not connected to them. He is apart and separate, and not included. • But also the union between man and nature • Idea of freedom • The habit to dream/ imagination
“When all at once I saw ….golden daffodils” • he re-establishes a connection with nature as he moves through the field of daffodils a crowd, a host….. Fluttering and dancing • The daffodils are alive and personified endowed with a life and a soul of their own • They are able to feel joy and to transmit it golden….. • Giving them a higher connototion “ A CERTAIN COLOURING OF IMAGINATION”
“ A CERTAIN COLOURING OF IMAGINATION” “ ordinary things should be presented to the mind in an unusual way”
“Beside the lake, beneath the trees,” • The daffodils are not described, but the poet puts them in relationship to nature
Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way,They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay:The thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, • Earth and heaven are united in the beauty of the daffodils • No more solitude, but a deep union with nature
The waves beside them danced; but they Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:A poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company:I gazed—and gazed—but little thoughtWhat wealth the show to me had brought:
A poet could not but be gay, • Only a poet can find himself in a state of creative joy • the importance of the poet's role in society during the Romanticism period. Romantics such as believed it was the poet's responsibility to demonstrate humanity's connection to nature and relay the message to society.
I gazed—and gazed—… • This repetition conveys the impression of the poet breathless, unable to move in front of such a beauty …butlittle thought • The thought came later wealth • = happiness with the contact with nature. This joy is now the opposite of the loneliness in the first stanza, his life is awakened to new life by the daffodils
For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood,They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude;And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils
when on my couch I lie • When the poet sees the daffodils he little tought what they meant to him. • The thought came later, remembering the daffodils and using imagination • Only Imagination enables man to enter into and give life and significance to the world • When at home, in a pensive mood, remembering the sensations felt, you are able to feel emotions
LANGUAGE • “ Language really used by men” • In the first 3 stanzas he uses the past simple, while in the last one he uses the Present Simple. • The change of tenses underlines the gap between the past experience and its remembrance in the poet’s ecstatic vision
WHAT IS POETRY? • The spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings = emotions • It comes from “ emotions recollected in tranquillity”