ROMANTICISM

"A shipwreck", Gericault (1817-18)




 Romanticism began in England and Germany in 1798, the year of the first edition of the "Lyrical Ballads", by Wordsworth and Coleridge.The early romantic period coincides with what is often called "the age of revolutions", including the French Revolution (1789), an age of upheaval in political, economic and social traditions, the age which witnessed the initial transformations of the Industrial Revolution.

For the Romantics "imagination" was very important. It was the primary faculty for creating all art. "Nature" also meant many things to the Romantics. It was often presented as a work of art. Emotion was more important than reason (Wordsworth defined poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings"). The Romantics also gave importance to the individual and the unique.



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THE ROMANTIC POETS

WILLIAM BLAKE     

He was born in 1757 in London. He was a believer in liberty and freedom for all, especially for women. His most famous works are "Songs of Innocence" (1789)  and "Songs of Experience" (1794). In these works he openly criticised all the transformations the Industrial Revolution meant, especially young children working long hours, and how these children were corrupted by the system.

"The chimney sweeper"  Listen    Read  (fuente, BBC)

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

He was born in 1770 in Cumberland (north of England). In 1790 he travelled to France and from that journey on his life was dominated by the French Revolution and the libertarian ideals of the time. Nevertheless, he was, above all, the poet of Nature, highly inspired by a beautiful area in the North of England called "The Lake District". His most famous work is "Lyrical Ballads", written with his influential friend Samuel Coleridge. In this work their intention was to write poetry in ordinary speech for ordinary rural people. He insisted on the urge of going back from the industrial city to the rural life.

"The daffodils"              Listen       Read


SAMUEL COLERIDGE

He was born in 1772 in Devon. He wrote "Lyrical Ballads" together with Wordsworth in1798. He was an addicted to opium (like many other romantic writers), and some of his most famous works, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and "Kubla Khan" were probably written under the influence of this drug.

"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"         Listen        Read (fuente, BBC)


LORD BYRON

He was born in London in 1788. He was a very controversial person, and this controversy led him to leave England. He moved to to Switzerland and he didn't return to England until his death in 1824. In Swtizerland he became a close friend of Shelley and his wife, Mary Shelley. His major works are "Childe Harold" and "Don Juan".

"Darkness"           Listen        Read (fuente, BBC)

JOHN KEATS

He is the tragic figure of the Romantic period who died young, but during his short life he created some of the best known poetry of the 19th century.

SHELLEY

He was born in1792 in Sussex. He was a rebel against English politics and conservative values. He was a good friend of Lord Byron, and married Mary Shelley, author of "Frankenstein". The three of them used to spend a lot of time together in Lake Geneva, Switzerland (a very romantic setting. THINK WHY!). He died by drowning and many say this death wasn't accidental. His most famous work is "Adonais".

"Adonais" (extract)         Listen        Read (fuente, BBC)
 

Now go to "Other activities (Literature)", and do the exercise about the romantic poets.


THE BRONTË SISTERS


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