British Romantic Poetry: Poets

william blake

william blake
– oldest poet, but outlived Keats, Shelley, and Byron.- relatively unknown due to his radical ideas and elevated writing styles- based on poetry on his study of the bible- an artist- saw visions and spirits- wrote Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience- believed that man had a good side and a bad side- does not use metaphors but symbols- thought to be the transition from Neoclassical to Romantic- wrote of the downtrodden and forgotten

william wordsworth

william wordsworth
– most influential of the Romantics- grew up in the Lake region of England (where have we head this: Pride and Prejudice)- rejected materialism (similar to 1960s)- saw nature as a “religion” – greater understanding- travelled all around Europe offering a first hand view of the revolutions occurring- lived with Coleridge as roommates- named poet laureate in 1843- used common language- gave charm and newness to the everyday- offered insight into the beauty of things- people are “born free and everywhere in chains”

samuel taylor coleridge

(samuel taylor) coleridge
– wrote literary criticism, social thought, philosophy, and theology- voracious reader especially fantasy- planned on moving to America to form a Utopia- opium addict – often mentioned in his poetry- vague line between reality and dreams- used blank verse to express his ideas- good friends with Wordsworth- power of imagination- shapes reality – magical blend of thought and emotion

george gordon (Lord Byron)

(george gordon) Lord Byron
– most admired and best known-very handsome and charming- Byronic Hero- melancholy man of great and noble principles, with great courage of his convictions, and haunted by some secret past sin- traveled all over the Mediterranean with many love affairs- illicit love, idyllic love, sexual repression, sexual decadence, thwarted love, marriage- lived in excess- joined the Greek War of Independence- nature vs. civilization- reason more than in emotion- wit and satire than sentiment

percy bysshe shelley

percy (bysshe shelley)
– “the perfect” Romantic- quest for truth, love of learning, interest in many things, variety of poetry- restless and brooding- rebellion against authority- his characteristics were nature, the power of imagination, the pursuit of ideal love, and the untamed spirit ever in search of freedom- expelled from Oxford for writing an Atheist pamphlet- left 1st wife to marry Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin- traveled around with Lord Byron- drowned in a yachting accident

john keats

john keats
– the youngest Romantic- wrote poetry at a very early age- studied Greek mythology- apprenticed to a surgeon- had a humorous side despite his ill health- died of tuberculosis

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