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Thursday, 13 September 2018

Some Important Short Notes On The Romantic Period (1798-1832)

The Romantic Period (1798-1832) consists mainly of High imagination,  Lyrical Ballads, The Revival of Romanticism Or, Romantic Movement, Ivanhoe,  The Lake Poets, Jane Austen, Thomas Gray, Romanticism,  Preface to the Lyrical Ballads important short notes etc. Here, these things are discussed in small areas.
Some Important Short Notes On The Romantic Period


High imagination 

Imagination is the image-making and synthesizing power of the human mind. It is the source of creative thinking. It is valued in artists and poets but feared in the insane. So imagination is traditionally used with fancy as a term for the human mind that recombines remembered images. It is distinguished from reason and judgement. It is also opposed to  them.The Romantic poets raise imagination above both reason and fancy. In Biographia Literaria, S. T. Coleridge differs fancy from imagination. According to him, fancy is the capacity simply to reassemble remembered images. On the contrary, imagination dissolves, diffuses and dissipates images in order to recreate. John Keats says, "What the imagination seizes as beauty must be truth-----whether it existed before or not." High imagination is the first and foremost characteristics of romanticism. The poets of the 18th and early half of the 19th century have used imagination highly in their poems. Wordsworth, S. T. Coleridge, P. B. Shelley, John Keats, Byron, Tennyson and W. B. Yeats are regarded as the romantic poets. Most of them follow a certain doctrine. They reject the fact that writers should be earth-bound, realistic and factual. They seek an ideal condition for human beings in their high-soaring and unlimited imagination. They are opposite to the neo-classicists.

Lyrical Ballads

Lyrical Ballads in an important achievement of the Romantic Period (1798-1832). It was published in September, 1798 jointly by William Wordsworth and S. T. Coleridge. It has ever since been described as the volume that formally inaugurates the Romantic Movement. Wordsworth and Coleridge approach poetry from slightly different points of view. Wordsworth takes humble topics as the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. Wordsworth and Coleridge react to the gorgeous, pompous and artificial language of the 17th century poets. They react against the writing style of the neo-classicists. The humble things and men are exalted to the highest dignity through the poems of Wordsworth. Democratic trends in poetry are introduced with the publication of Lyrical Ballads. Lyrical Ballads brings about a great change is literature. The change is obvious both in subject and style. Romanticism gives them extra-ordinary beauty. On the other hand, Coleridge deals with the supernatural and makes it seem real. In other words, he has to make the supernatural natural. But Wordsworth tries to make the natural supernatural. Lyrical Ballads contains some of his finest poems such as "We are Seven" and "Lines Composed a few Miles above Tintern Abbey". " The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", masterpiece of S. T. Coleridge, is also included in the first volume published in 1798. In the second edition of the volume in 1800, Wordsworth includes "Lucy" poems and "Michael". The third edition of the volume is published in 1802.

The Revival of Romanticism Or, Romantic Movement 

The Romantic Period (1798-1832) is called the Revival of Romanticism. Because the romantic ideals of the Elizabethan period revive during these years. Lyrical Ballads published in 1798 brings about a great change in literature. The change is obvious both in subject and style. Romanticism gives them extra-ordinary beauty. On the other hand, Coleridge deals with the supernatural and makes it seem real. In other words, he has to make the supernatural natural. But Wordsworth tries to make the natural supernatural. Lyrical Ballads contains some of his finest poems such as " We are Seven" and "Lines Composed a few Miles above Tintern Abbey". " The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", masterpiece of S. T. Coleridge, is also included in the first volume published in 1798. In the second edition of the volume in 1800, Wordsworth includes "Lucy" poems and "Michael". The third edition of the volume is published in 1802.

" Preface to the Lyrical Ballads " is one of the most important poetical documents. It is regarded as the manifesto of the Romantic Movement. It states that the situations of poetry should be taken from common life. It also says that they should be related in language really used by men. According to Wordsworth, all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.

Romantic Movement is a movement in art and literature in the 18th and 19th centuries in revolt against the neo-classicism of the previous centuries. It is executed by the different poets the age. They are attributed as romantic for certain special qualities in their poetry. They are led by William Wordsworth and S. T. Coleridge. The romantic poets hold a doctrine which is called Romanticism. This literary doctrine had its origin in the Elizabethan Age. However, it revives with full force towards the end of the 19th century during the time of Wordsworth and Coleridge. As the Elizabethan Age is regarded as the original Romantic period, the time span from (1798-1832) is regarded as the Revival of Romanticism. With the publication of Lyrical Ballads this revival started. The main features of romanticism are-----high imagination, love of nature, spontaneity, interest in the remote, simplicity in expression, revolutionary zeal and supernaturalism.

 Ivanhoe


Ivanhoe is a remarkable novel of the Romantic period. It was written in 1820 by Sir Walter Scott. It is his first novel to be set in the medieval times. It is set against the background of antagonism between Saxons and Normans in England of the late 12th Century. John and Richard are only historical characters in the novel. Ivanhoe who is the hero of the novel is an imaginary character. He marries Rowena. He has all the medieval trappings. In the novel, Wamba and Garth are interesting characters. Ivanhoe re-creates the history of the medieval England. It is a marvellous feat of imaginative recreations. It gives a vivid and brilliant picture of medieval life in England. At that time, the Norman conquerors and the Saxon conquerors were beginning to combine into a nation. Every aspect of the medieval life is depicted in the novel and almost nothing is left. The triangular love between Ivanhoe and Rebecca and Rowena is described with psychological realism.
     
The Lake Poets

The poet who lived in a place called Lake District are called the Lake Poets. Lake District was a very charming place full of natural objects including lakes, mountains, streams etc. Some English poets of the Romantic period lived in this beautiful area. William Wordsworth, S. T. Coleridge and Robert Southey lived in that part of England. Francis Geoffrey a Scottish Justice had been writing adverse criticism in the Edinburgh Review for twenty yards about them. He considered them as the poets of Lake District. As a result, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey are regarded as the Lake poets. Whether Wordsworth is regarded as the lake poet or not, he is the greatest romantic poet. He was born in 1770 and died in 1850. He had a direct connection with the Revival of Romanticism. He has written a lot of poems in which his mysticism, pantheism and deep love for nature are obviously stand. On the other hand, Coleridge was born in 1772 and died in 1834. He was the collaborator of Wordsworth in the publication of Lyrical Ballads in 1798. He is the master of the art of story-telling and handling the supernatural elements. But Robert Southey (1774-1843) was born in the Romantic Period. His poetical work is not so romantic.

Jane Austen
   
Jane Austen is a great novelist of the Romantic Period (1798-1832). She has a permanent place in the literary world of fiction. She was born in 1775 and died in 1817. She was written several novels in this period. But her novels want romanticism. Miss Austen's position in the world of English novel is firm and very high. She was an inspiration to the women novelists in English in the subsequent ages. The Bronte sisters, Mrs. Gaskell, etc. were inspired by her writings. Miss Austen has great influxes in the world of English fiction and it is very clear and potential. Her most popular novels are Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion, Sense and Sensitivity (1811). But all her novels appear originally anonymously. Her name was given subsequently in the volumes of 1818. In her novels, she depicts the social life of the time. She wrote realistic comedies of manner. As a novelist, she carries on the tradition of the 18th century novelists. In her novels, the plots are well-made and the character-sketches are vivid. They carry a clear and precise philosophy of life. She is found to be a real successor of Richardson, Fielding and Fanny Burney. She is a successful storyteller in her plan of storytelling facts and characters. She gives an accurate and deep representation of the contemporary social life with a comic sense and ironic effect. In dealing with social life, she is never away from the moral ground. She seems to be a moralist and carrying the trend of the eighteenth century novels.

Thomas Gray

Thomas Gray is notable name in the history of English poetry. He is a great pre-Romantic poet. He is essentially a serious scholar. He was born in 1716 in London in an aristocratic family. He studied at Eton and Cambridge. In the University, he was able to befriend with Horace Walpole. He travelled Italy and France with him from 1739 to 1741. Returning from his visit, he admitted into the University and achieved degree. In 1557, he got 'Laureatesil' but was refused. In 1768, he was appointed as a lecturer of history at the Cambridge University. But he did not attend any class because of health reason. He died in 1771. Thus his life is almost uneventful. He has passed his life in the middle of meditation and deep study. His poetical contributions are no doubt limited. Because he has written only a very few poems. His leading works are "Ode on Distant Prospect of Eton College", "Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat", "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard", " The Progress of Poesy" and "The Bard". His poetic works actually anticipated the dawn of romanticism in English poetry. He plays a leading role in the march of English poetry towards romanticism amid the age of prose and reason of the eighteenth century. He is famous for his most popular elegy. "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard". This poem makes him a poet. The elegy has a universal significance. Because its simple theme strikes the inmost care of a thoughtful heart. " The Progress of Poesy" and "The Bard" are his two great odes. They are filled with the new conception of the poet as an inspired singer rather than an accomplished artist. Gray is essentially a classicist. Matthew Arnold opines that he was a born poet, fell upon an age of prose.

Romanticism 
 
Romanticism is a term which cannot be defined accurately. Because many critics have defined it in various ways, in various angles. An English critic, F. L. Lucas has counted 11,396 definitions of Romanticism. So this term is very difficult to define. C. H. Herford has defined it as "Romanticism is the extra ordinary development of imaginative sensibility" Walter Pater says, "Romanticism is the addition of strangeness to beauty." Whereas Watts Dunton says, "Romanticism is the Renaissance of wonder." But the most convincing definition of Romanticism is given by an eminent critic. It is "One poet is romantic because he falls in love ; another romantic because he sees a ghost; another romantic because he hears a cuckoo; another Romantic because he is reconciled to the church." Regarding Romantic poetry, Keats has written, "If poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all." However, Romanticism is a doctrine which holds that art and literature should be free from classical and neo-classical rules and constraints. The poetry of the romantic revival is a revolt against the poetry of the classical Age of Pope. This literary doctrine had its origin in the Elizabethan Age.
There are many salient characteristics of Romanticism. Among them, the following characteristics are remarkable-----
(i) High imagination,
(ii) Love for nature,
(iii) Primitivism or spontaneity,
(iv) Interest in the remote or love for the post,
(v) Simplicity in expression
(vi) Revolutionary zeal,
(vii) Individualism,
(viii) Supernaturalism,
(ix) Subjectivity,
(x) Medievalism,
(xi) Love for freedom and liberty and
(xii) Predominance of lyricism.

Preface to the Lyrical Ballads 

Lyrical Ballads is an important achievement of the Romantic Period (1798-1832). It was published in September, 1798 jointly by William Wordsworth and S. T. Coleridge. It has ever since been described as the volume that formally inaugurates the Romantic Movement. The poems Published in this volume are completely different from the neo-classical poetry. They are opposite to the poetry of John Dryden and Alexander Pope. As they were the new kind of creation, they were not accepted cordially at first. In this respect, Wordsworth says, "Several of my Friends are anxious for the success of  these poems-----they have advised me to prefix a systematic defence of the theory upon which the Poems were written." Coleridge also requested him to write a "Praface" highlighting their motives of composing such poems. So Wordsworth decided to write a "Preface" for Lyrical Ballads almost unwillingly. It was first added to the second edition of the volume in 1800."Preface to the Lyrical Ballads" is one of the most important poetical documents. It is regarded as the manifesto of the Romantic Movement. It states that the situations of poetry should be taken from common life. It also says that they should be related in language really used by men. According to Wordsworth, all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of  powerful feelings. In fact, he wants to talk about the subject, language and poetic diction of poetry in this "Preface". His faculty as a critic is also manifested in the " Preface to the Lyrical Ballads".

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