The Romantic Period And Robert Burns

1221 words - 5 pages

The Romantic Period and Robert Burns

At the end of the eighteenth century a new literature arose
in England. It was called, Romanticism, and it opposed most of
the ideas held earlier in the century. Romanticism had its roots
in a changed attitude toward mankind.The forerunners
of the Romanticists argued that men are naturally good; society
makes them bad. If the social world could be changed, all men
might be happier. Many reforms were suggested: better treatment
of people in prisons and almshouses; fewer death penalties for
minor crimes; and an increase in charitable institutions.
Romanticism was a powerful reaction against Neoclassicism in
liberation of the imagination and rediscovery of nature. English
romantic writers tended to turn their backs upon cities and
centers of culture for their inspiration, and to seek subjects
and settings for their poems in mountains and valleys, forests,
meadows and brooks. Romanticism made much of freedom and
imagination. Some ideas that came with the romantic movement are
that humble life is best, and another was that people should live
close to nature. Thus the Romantic movement was essentially
anti-progress, if progress meant industrialization. Because of
this concern for nature and the simple folk, authors began to
take an interest in old legends, folk ballads, and rustic
characters. Many writers started to give more play to their
senses and to their imagination. Their pictures of nature became
livelier and more realistic. They loved to describe rural scenes,
graveyards, majestic mountains and roaring waterfalls.
With this Romanticism grew, but it can not be accurately
defined. It was a group of ideas, a web of beliefs. No one
Romantic writer expressed all these ideas, but each believed
enough of them to set him apart from earlier writers. The
Romanticist was emotional and imaginative. He acted through
inspiration and intuition, believed in democracy, humanity, and
the possibility of achieving a better world.
Some of the first great romanticists included, William
Blake. He not only wrote books, but he also illustrated and
printed them. Many of his conservative contemporaries thought he
was insane because his ideas were so unusual. Among those
"insane" ideas was his devotion to freedom and universal love. He
was interested in children and animals.
Another significant author of the Romantic period is Samuel
Taylor Coleridge. No one had put more wonder and mystery into
beautiful melodic verse than he did. His strange,
haunting supernaturalism of 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' and
'Christabel' have universal and irresistible appeal. A friend of
Coleridge's for many years was William Wordsworth. Together they
wrote a volume of verse, 'Lyrical Ballads', which sounded the new
note in poetry. This book really signaled the beginning of
English Romanticism. Coleridge found beauty in the unreal,
Wordsworth found it...

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