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The Pre-Raphaelite Movement is a literary movement started in 1848 as an organization of painters. They called themselves Pre-Raphaelites. Some artists of that time followed the art forms used before the period of Raphael. We know that Raphael was an Italian artist born in 1483 and died in 1520. The artists from the time span from 1848 to 1860 believed that the artificiality entered into the art from the time of Raphael. So they wanted to seek for the art and painting before Raphael. D.G. Rossetti was the main figure of the Pre-Raphaelite movement.He along with W.H. Hunt and J. Millais formed this group. Later on, Christina Rossetti, W. Morris and A  Swinburne joined them. Originally, it was a movement for the painters. But eventually these ideals took the shape of a literary movement. Medievalism, symbolism, sensuousness truthfulness and simplicity are the main features of the Pre- Raphaelite. The Pre-Raphaelite poets exercised poetry and arts equally. They held a conception known as "Art for Art's sake". We have already mentioned that the Pre-Raphaelite poets of England drew their inspiration from the works of Italian painters before Raphael. Like the Romantics, they were also inspired by the Middle Ages. In other words, they were encouraged by their romance, chivalry, superstition and strange combination of the material and the mystical. The return of these poets was to a medievalism different from that of Scott and Tennyson. They added to the charm of medieval literature. In this way, they revive it as a subtle something which differs it  from medieval literature itself. The Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood identified themselves artistically with the painters, the early Florentines. John Ruskin in his Modern Painters had protested against the academic traditions which kept young artists making school copies of Raphael. Pre-Raphaelitesm put this protest into a practical form. It was basically a protest against the classical tradition and conventional art of the old masters. The Pre-Raphaelitesm writers and painters insisted that a painter should paint whatever he sees. They might be regardless of the formal rules of painting. Hunt and Millais in particular adversely criticised Raphael's great painting, "Transfiguration". They also challenged the classical doctrines explained by the celebrated English painter, Sir Joshua Reynolds. The Pre-Raphaelite looked upon the senses as the gateway to the realisation of the spirit. Beauty was to them sensuous and concrete. Keats's influence on them was strong and deep. For sensual elements of their poetry, they were condemned as the "fleshly school" of  poets.

D.G Rossetti is the outstanding spokesman of this pre-Raphaelite poetry.His chief poems appeared in 1870.They  were violently attacked for their sensuality by Robert Buchanan. The works of Rossetti consisted of sonnets and ballads. In the sonnets of The House of Life, he pours out his love for his young and beautiful wife. These sonnets are rich to the point of excess and subtle to the point of obscurity. They contain a sort of mystic symbolism. Among his other works The Blessed Damozel, My Sister's Sleep, The Portrait, Jenny and Burden of Nineveh are mentionable. His work is extremely individual and original. It is distinguished in English literature by its rich Italian colouring and its warm sensuous quality.His remarkable poem,The blessed damozel" contains  The essence of Pre-Raphaelite spirit. 

William Morris found his earliest inspiration in the Middle Ages. He loved everything Gothic. His true genius, his lyrical quality is revealed in his shorter poems. Though he became prominent as a teller of famous stories, he remained essentially.lyrical. This is evident in his great compositions, The Life and Death of Jason and The Ugly Paradise. The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems has been called the single volume of Pre-Raphaelite verse. Its subjects are almost entirely British and French medievalism.

Swinburne was the spoiled child of the Pre-Raphaelite group. Unlike the other members of the group, he was a musician rather than a painter. His poetry lacks rhymes and colours. His characteristic poems in this period are "Hymn to Proserpine", "The Garden of Proserpine". "Laus Veneris", "Faustine" etc. They breathe the spirit of sensuality. Like the Pre-Raphaelite, he demonstrated "Art for Art's Sake". But he manifested the decadent romanticism in his emphasis on pure aestheticism. After Swinburne, we shall consider Christina Rossetti as a Pre-Raphaelite poet. She represented more perfectly the idea of simplicity which was at the root of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. She showed a lyrical gift, a pure sense of melody and remarkable powers of versification in her shorter poems. But she possessed also a fanciful imagination and a love of the country. It is revealed in the most popular of her child poem, Goblin Market".

We have found that Pre-Raphaelite poetry and painting has certain features. The most important characteristics is extreme attention to realistic details. The Pre-Raphaelite painted their pictures with elaborate care. Another feature of the movement is its love of symbolism. Rossetti learnt its secret from Dante. In his famous poem The Blessed Damozel", Christian symbols are worked into the poem. They give to the poem a medieval background. So medievalism is another characteristic of Pre-Raphaelite painting and poetry. But the most interesting feature is the combination of sensuousness and mysticism. All these traits are more or less employed in the poetry are painting of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. 

At last, we can say that the Pre-Raphaelites were above all artists and art was their religion.They were as free from any moral or didactic purpose as Keats.They aimed at perfect form   and finish. They possessed many qualities revealed in their poetry and painting. Sexual passion was dealt with more frankly and freely than was usual at that time. For this reason, they are also referred to as the "fleshly school." They are strongly pictorial in their poetry which abounds in word pictures. It would be wrong to call the Pre-Raphaelites an entirely new school of poets. Because they were influenced by Coleridge, Keats, Scott, and Tennyson. They tried to attain their poetic technique and perfection of form. For this reason. Saintsbury calls Pre-Raphaelitesm a direct and legitimate development of the Romantic Revival in England. 


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