Part 2 Romantic Age Poets in The Romantic Age (1798-1824) Lecture 14 History of English Literature MA ENGLISH COMSATS Virtual Islamabad

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  • Slide 1
  • Part 2 Romantic Age Poets in The Romantic Age (1798-1824) Lecture 14 History of English Literature MA ENGLISH COMSATS Virtual Islamabad
  • Slide 2
  • Introduction The most fruitful period The revolt against the Classical school which had been started Most popular English poets like Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley and Keats belong to this period.
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  • English Romanticism Introduction Romantic poetry William Wordsworth S.T. Coleridge G.G. Byron P.B. Shelley John Keats
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  • Introduction English Romanticism begins in 1798 with the publication of Wordsworth and Coleridge s The Lyrical Ballads and ends in 1832 with Walter Scott s death. William Blake and Robert Burns also belong to this literary genre, though they live prior to the Romantic period.
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  • INTRODUCTION English Romanticism is a revolt of the English imagination against the neoclassical reason. The French Revolution of 1789-1794 and the English Industrial Revolution exert great influence on English Romanticism. The romanticists express a negative attitude towards the existing social or political conditions. They place the individual at the center of art, as can be seen from Lord Byrons Byronic Hero.
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  • INTRODUCTION The key words of English Romanticism are nature and imagination. English Romantics tend to be nationalistic, defending the greatest English writers. They argue that poetry should be free from all rules.
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  • Overview of Romantic literature The romantic period is an age of poetry. Wordsworth and Coleridge are the most representative writers. They explore new theories and innovate new techniques in versification. They believe that poetry could purify individual souls and society. For further study of their literary theory, please refer to Wordsworth s Preface to The Lyrical Ballads & Coleridge s Biographia Literaria.
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  • Lake poets Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey were known as Lake Poets because they lived and knew one another in the last few years of the 18 th century in the district of the great lakes in Northwestern England. The former two published The Lyrical Ballads together in 1798, while all three of them had radical inclinations in their youth but later turned conservative and received pensions and poet laureateships from the aristocracy.
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  • Other greatest Romantic poets are: John Keats, P.B. Shelley and G. G. Byron. Karl Marx likes Byron and Shelley very much. Years ago, Wordsworth and Coleridge were labeled negative romantic poets while Byron and Shelley were hailed as positive (revolutionary) Romantic poets . Wordsworth and Coleridge s literary achievements were underestimated for a long time.
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  • Feminist works Mary Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792. Gothic novel is a type of romantic fiction that predominates in the late 18 th century and continues to show its influence in early 19 th century. Its principal elements are violence, horror, and the supernatural. Frankenstein (1818) by Mary Shelley and The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) by Ann Radcliffe are masterpieces of English gothic novel.
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  • English fiction gropes its way amidst the overwhelming Romantic poetry. It revives its popularity in the hands of Jane Austen & Walt Scott. Walt Scott is noted for his historical novel based on Scottish history and legends. He exerted great influence on European literature of his time. Jane Austen is the first and foremost English women novelist. Following the neoclassical tradition, she is unsurpassed in the description of uneventful everyday life.
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  • Essayists in English Romanticism EssayistsRepresentative works William HazlittFamiliar essays Charles LambEssays of Elia; Tales from Shakespeare ColeridgeBiographia Literaria
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  • William Wordsworth Wordsworth is the most representative poet of English Romanticism. He was born into a lawyer s family in 1770 at Cockmouth, Cumberland. His parents died when he was very young.
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  • He was taken care of by his relatives. He got his education at the Grammar School of Hawkshead and then at St. Johns College, Cambridge. He was a worshipper of nature from his childhood. He frequently visited places of beautiful scenery. A walking tour of the Swiss Alps heightened his addiction to nature. He had great sympathy with the French Revolution. He paid 2 visits to France, during the second visit he fell in love with Annette Vallon, who bore him a daughter.
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  • Wordsworth was totally disillusioned by the Jacobin dictatorship and the French invasion of other European countries. He became conservative in politics. He was labeled as negative Romantic poet by Karl Marx and was severely criticized by Byron. In 1795 he and his sister Dorothy Wordsworth settled down in Racedown, Dorsetshire. In 1797 he became Coleridge`s friend. The three persons became three people with one soul in literary history.
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  • Legend has it that Wordworth and his sister lived a kind of incestuous life during this period. Dorothy helped Wordsworth turn his eyes to the face of nature and preserved the poet in him. She served as Wordsworths confidante and inspirer. As Wordsworth put it in his poem: She gave me eyes, she gave me ears; And humble cares, and delicate fears; A heart, the fountain of sweet tears; And love, and thought, and joy.
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  • In 1798, Wordsworth and Coleridge published their Lyrical Ballads. !n 1798 and 1799, he made a tour around Germany. Upon his return to England, he and his sister moved to Dove Cottage in Grasmere, the most beautiful place in the Lake District. Coleridge & Robert Southey lived a stones throw from their dwelling place. The three poets came to be known as Lake Poets. In 1802, Wordsworth got married to Mary Hutchingson. In 1813, he got a job as distributor of stamps.
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  • In 1842, he received the government pension and in the following year, he succeeded Southey as Poet Laureate. He died at Rydal Mount in 1850 and was buried in the Grasmere churchyard.
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  • His major works Wordsworth s fame lies chiefly in his short poems. His short poems fall into 2 categories: poems about nature and poems about human life. He is a worshipper of nature . It is nature that gives him strength and knowledge full of grace .
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  • His best known poems of nature include: I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, Tintern Abbey, To the Cuckoo, My Heart Leaps up, To a Butterfly, An Evening Walk, & The Sparrow s Nest. His best known poems about human life include: Lucy Poems, The Solitary Reaper and The Old Cumberland Beggar, Michael, & To a Highland Girl.
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  • Wordsworth wrote many sonnets. His famous sonnets are: Earth Has Not Anything to Show More Fair, On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic, & Thought of a Briton on the Subjugation of Switzerland. His best known long poem is The Prelude. In this poem Wordsworth analyses the growth of his poetic genius during his childhood and youth, and recalls the lessons he owes to nature.
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  • Wordsworths greatest contribution to English literature is his poems and his Preface to The Lyrical Ballads. Though The Lyrical Ballads is known as the collaborated work of Wordsworth and Coleridge, all the poems but one (The Rime of The Ancient Mariner) are written by Wordsworth. Most of his most quoted poem are taken from this collection.
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  • Preface to Lyrical Ballads Wordsworths Preface (1800) to Lyrical Ballads is the manifesto of English Romanticism. It is one of the revolutionary works of criticism, helping usher in the Romantic Age in literature (Dutton, 1984:50). He is primarily concerned to justify the kinds of his poems which he had contributed to Lyrical Ballads.
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  • Key points in his Preface Definition of a poet He ( poet) is a man speaking to men: a man, it is true, endowed with more lively sensibility, more enthusiasm and tenderness, who has a greater knowledge of human nature, and a more comprehensive soul, than are supposed to be common among mankind.
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  • Creative process of authentic poetry Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility: the emotion is contemplated till, by a species of reaction, the tranquility gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred (similar) to that which before was the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced, and does itself actually exist in the mind. In this mood successful composition generally begins
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  • Subject matter & poetic language The principal objectwas to choose incidents and situations from common life, and to relate or describe them, throughout, as far as was possible in a selection of language really used by men, and at the same time, to throw over them a certain coloring of imagination, whereby ordinary things should be presented in an unusual aspect
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  • Humble and rustic life was generally chosen, because, in that condition, the essential passions of the heart find a better soil in which they can attain their maturity The language, too, of these men has been ado