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Influences Of The Romantic Period Essay

1766 words - 7 pages

Influences on the Romantic Period
Romanticism spawned in the late 18th century and flourished in the early and mid-19th century. Romanticism emphasized the irrational, the imaginative, the personal, the spontaneous, the emotional, the visionary, the transcendental, and the individual. Romanticism is often viewed as a rejection of the ideologies of Classicism and Neoclassicisms, namely calm, order, harmony, idealization, rationality and balance. Some characteristics of Romanticism include: emotion over reason, senses over intellect, love for nature, use of the hero and the exceptional figure in general, emphasis of imagination being the gateway to spiritual truth, and an interest in folk culture. Romanticism was preceded by related developments in the med-18th century referred to as “Pre-Romanticism”. One Pre-Romantic style was medieval romance, which is where Romanticism gets its name from. The medieval romance was a tale that emphasized the exotic, the mysterious, and individual heroism. This style contrasted the then prevalent classical forms of literature such as the French Neoclassical Tragedy. But this new emotional literary expression would be a key part of literature during the Romantic Era (Britannica). Literature during the Romantic Era was influenced by politics and major historical events and social reforms, religion, science, economics, and art and music.
Literature of the Romantic Era was heavily influenced by the politics, major events and social reforms of the time, the most notable being the French Revolution in 1789, which is typically marked as the beginning of this period. Many authors of the time period were attracted to the ideal of universal equality and the abandonment of monarchy in favor of democratic government; many of these authors internalized the ideals of the French Revolution into their literature to reflect the internal issues of their own country. The Storming of the Bastille and the Reign of Terror had a large effect on many authors such as William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey. The bloodshed of the revolution and the disappointment of democratic hopes was on the minds of these authors and was reflected in their writing. The French Revolution also brought up emerging issues of nationalism, which was shown in the failed Irish Uprising of 1798; these two events effected authors in the Romantic Era including Thomas Moore and Thomas Campbell. The ideas of nationalism are clearly seen in the poetry of Moore, who frequently talks about the conditions of the Irish-Catholic oppression and the Irish Revolution. Another area where the effects of the French Revolution can be seen on the literature of the time period is in satiric poetry. Romantic authors such as Byron and Shelley sympathized with the Revolution’s ideas of equality and individuality; they embraced these principles to critique the English government in their poetry. Other political events had a large impact on Byron and Shelley as...

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