The romantic age



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The Romantic movement developped in western Europe and it involved not only literature but also philosophy, science, religion and art.

“ROMANTIC”→ state of mind contrasting with the rationalism of the Enlightenment.

In England the publication of the “Lyrical Ballads” by Wordsworth and Coleridge in 1798 is considered the beginning of a literary revolution.
In fact the preface to “Lyrical Ballads” sets down the guidelines of this new form of poetry.

NATURE→one of the main sources of inspiration of poets, in fact a new sensibility towards Nature can be found.
Romantic poets turned to Nature also because they din’t feel at ease in the society of their time. They lived in
isolation enjoying the loneliness of the countryside far from urban life, focusing on the emotional response of
the individual. Nature filled them with pleasure and appeared to them in strict relation with human soul.

The main theme was childhood seen as an age of innocence and purity contrasted with the corruption brought about by civilisation.

IMAGINATION→ another essential feature of the age. The poet presented himself as a link between the ordinary man and
the divine.
Imagination was seen as the power to see beyond appeareance into the real nature of things.
The poet was an inspired visionary no more only aiming at the perfection of his verse. In fact classical
Influences weren’t completely forgotten as they still gave the models of perfection and beauty.

Other important influences came from the popular tradition of folksongs and ballads and from the Middle Ages.

Two generations of romantic poets dued not only to a real difference in age, but also to the different social background they lived.

1. Wordsworth ] “Lake Poets” (they lived in the English Lake District.
2. Coleridge ]

They emphasized the importance of the self and its relationship with Nature.

1. Byron ]
2. Shelley ]
3. Keats ]

All died very young. The relationship between LIFE and ART was foundamental for their poetry. Byron and Shelley embodied the typical “rebel poet” who is rejected by the society he despised (Byron) and against which he fights (Shelley).

Romantic poets only wrote for their own pleasure without worrying about the reaction of the public and disregarding any form of criticism.

Poet’s task is a noble one, also for the future generations.