British Literature: Romantic Period

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Last updated: May 10, 2019

Satire
Literary technique in which ideas are ridiculed for the purpose of improving society

Jonathan Swift
Wrote “A Modest Proposal” which concerned the English treating the Irish poorly; Used satire to propose that the children of Ireland should be eaten

Romanticism
Artistic, literary, and intellectual movement as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, Enlightenment, and scientific revelation of nature; Main aspects include the love of nature, passion of supernatural, importance of the commonplace, new spontaneity, and freedom from Neoclassicism

Metaphysical Poetry
Highly intellectualized poetry marked by bold and ingenious conceits (metaphysical conceits), incongruous imagery, complexity and subtlety of thought, frequent use of paradox, and often by deliberate harshness of rigidity or expression

John Donne
Wrote passionate love poems; Grieved after his wife died and did not remarry; Wrote “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”; Asked by King James to stop writing about sex and to write something for the new King James Bible; Wrote metaphysical poetry

William Blake
Often saw visions (usually under the influence of drugs); Produced illustrations that were about his poems on wooden blocks; Made poems that had opposites (“The Tyger” and “The Lamb”); Work reflects how he interpretedhuman experiences; Wanted to show the contrary states of the human soul; His poems often had words with duality to the

John Keats
Most of his family died from tuberculosis, and was later diagnosed with it; His poetry was so strong in his last few years of life because of the combination of the fear of death, sorrow, and love; Wrote “Ode to a Nightingale” and “Ode On a Grecian Urn”

Apostrophe
An object, abstract quality, or an absent or imaginary person is directly addressed

Lord Byron
Known for writing apostrophes; Wrote “She Walks in Beauty” and “Apostrophe to the Ocean”

Ballads
Poems written to be sung; Traditionally has four-lined stanzas (either in AABB or ABCB form); Begins abruptly; Each stanza has a strong rhythmic pattern

Jane Austen
Grew up in an environment that stressed learning and creative thinking; One of her books was sent to a publisher and the publisher never got it published for years on the grounds of her being a girl; Wrote “Sense and Sensibility”; Sense is the ability to feel or see, while sensibility is the actions of feeling or seeking something

William Wordsworth
Loved nature, but loathed the idea of formal schooling; Sister’s name was Dorothy Wordsworth; Friends with Samuel Taylor Coleridge; Had a love affair with Annette Vallon while in Paris, but forced out because of the French Revolution; Wrote “Tintern Abbey”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Close friends w/ Wordsworth and his sister; Strongly influenced by opium; Most famous for writing “Kubla Khan” and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”; Wrote “Kubla Khan” while still under the influence of opium

King James Bible
Written in 1604; 54 scholars were appointed to make it a beautiful transition from the previous bible; Was important because of its influence to future writers; John Donne was one of its writers; King James ordered John Donne to write less poetry about sex

Percy B. Shelley
Born in 1792; Hist first wife drowned, then he drowned as well; Both of his children died within their first 9 months of life; Wrote “Ozymandias” and “Ode to the West Wind”; Dreamt of changing the world through love, imagination, and poetry; Last wife was Mary Shelley

Robert Burns
Scottish poet; Wrote poems based on his family life and wrote songs about girls; Known for “Auld Lang Syne”; Auld Lang Syne means Old Time Sake; comedic undertones; Wrote about how people would be better w/out errors; “To a Mouse” and “To a Louse”

Mary Shelley
Daughter of famous feminist Mary Wollstonecraft; Mother died while giving birth to her; Married Percy Shelley; Wrote “Frankenstein” and was published in 1889; Was part of a writer’s guild; Was worried that her daughter would meet the same fate that most people that met Percy Shelley met (death)

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