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Romanticism and the Romantic poets

Romanticism and the Romantic poets

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Summary

Romanticism and the Romantic poets

In a nutshell

The Romantic period of poetry, to put it simply, was an era of poetry between the 18th and early 19th centuries that focused on nature and the beauty of feeling. In this summary, you will learn about key poets of the Romantic period, how the period affected poetry and what a Romantic poem is likely to include.



Context of the period

Due to a cultural shift, imagination, emotion and individual sensibility replaced reason and logic in the eighteenth century as the dominant forces in writing. A new interest in nature, particularly untamed nature and solitude, replaced interest in city life among writers. Romantic literature was markedly different from the literature of the eighteenth century due to new interests and attitudes, but to say the eighteenth century had no influence on it would be a lie.


Key poets

The era had many influential poets. Below are a few notable ones:


Poet

Dates

What they did.

Wordsworth
1770 - 1850
Wordsworth was a key figure in the English Romantic movement. Nature was viewed in a new light by him in his essays and poems. Wordsworth explored his own sensibility deeply.
Keats
1795 - 1821
The verses of John Keats are characterised by vivid imagery and a sensual appeal. His early death was felt by other poets and his work influenced many others.
Lord Byron
1788 - 1824
His poetry used wit and satire to convey meaning leading him to be held in high regard during this period.
Shelley
1792 - 1822
Some consider him to be one of the best lyric and philosophical poets of the era, and among the most influential of the Romantics.



Aspects of Romantic poetry


Convention

Explanation

Use of everyday wording
The poetry used less complicated language so it was more accessible to everybody.
Lyricism
An emphasis on the use of lyric poetry.
Supernaturalism
A focus on creating an atmosphere of wonder.
Themes of freedom
As poets became frustrated with their time period, their work moved towards ideals of freedom and liberty.
Rural life
Images of rural life were used to contrast against urban settings.
Inspired by ideas of revolution
A response to the French Revolution of 1789. The poetry had a sense of rebellion.
Feeling
A focus on feeling and the beauty of emotion.
Subjectivity
There was a focus on the individual and how they felt.
Personification
They used personification of nature to highlight its beauty.
Vivid description
This was used to create a detailed image of the scene the poem was describing.


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