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Romanticism in English literature began in the 1790s with the publication of the Lyrical Ballads of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Wordsworth’s “Preface” to the second edition (1800) of Lyrical Ballads, in which he described poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings,” became the manifesto of the English Romantic movement in poetry. French Revolution and German Idealistic philosophy gave life to it. However, its actual beginnings date back to the poetry of Gray, Collins, Blake and Burns who are regarded as 'Transition Poets' who lived and wrote at the end of the Neo-Classical Age , which is also called Enlightenment. Its proponents value logic, reason and rationality whereas Romantics value emotion, passion and individuality. Romanticism was a literary movement that swept through virtually every country of Europe, the United States, and Latin America that lasted from about 1750. British poets such as Wordsworth,,Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley, George Gordon Lord Byron, and John Keats propelled the English romantic movement.
Romanticism is, according to Victor Hugo's phrase, "liberalism in literature," meaning especially the freeing of the artist and writer from restraints and rules. By the late 18th century in France and Germany, literary taste began to turn from classical and neoclassical conventions. The generation of revolution and wars, of stress and upheaval had produce Romanticism was a literary movement that swept through virtually every country of Europe, the United States, and Latin America that lasted from about 1750 to 1870.ed doubts on the security of the age of reason.
1. Love and worship of Nature and dislike for the urban life. Nature was a focus of many famous poets such as Wordsworth and Coleridge, father of English Romanticism." Any of his works can support the focus of nature. Robert Burns uses his Scottish dialect to support the "common everyday language" of the era. William Blake supports the emphasis of emotion in his Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience.
2. The romantic poets were also splendid egotists. They were always looking inwards. They often went to the verge of self pity,. For instance, Shelley cries: "I fall upon the thorns of life, I bleed". So love and liberty was a cause of celebration for them.
3. They have great love for the supernatural and the mystical. . They were dissatisfied with the present and day to day reality and sought to escape on the 'viewless wings of poesy’, into the world of Nature, Art, Medievalism or exotic land.
4. Poetry came to be regarded as the spontaneous expression of the poet's own subjective feelings and did not conform to the poetic conventions of classical doctrines. They are preoccupied with articulating their personal experiences.
5.They completely abandoned the 'Heroic Couplet' and substituted it with simpler verse forms like the ballads which belonged to the English rural Folk. In fact the 'Ballad Revival' is said to have sparked off the English Romantic Movement.
6. The 'poetic diction' of the Neo-Classical Age was completely done away with and the language of the ordinary people became the language of Romantic poetry.
7. The subjects of Romantic poetry were often ordinary people as can be seen Simon Lee, Idiot Boy etc.
8. Making of romantic love a law unto itself, transcending conventional morality
Romantic ideals never died out in poetry, but were largely absorbed into the precepts of many other movements. Traces of romanticism can be explored in French symbolism and surrealism and in the work of prominent poets such as Charles Baudelaire and Rainer Maria Rilke. The book is of great use.
Dr V Pala Prasada Rao