romantic + victorian poetry

Topic: EntertainmentThe Handmaid'S Tale
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Last updated: December 17, 2019
Romantic Era

Victorian Era
1837-1901 (reign of Queen Victoria)

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When did Romanticism officially begin?
Romanticism is officially “born” with the 1798 publication of Lyrical Ballads, a work co-authored by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Early English Romanticism
Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge

Late English Romanticism
Byron, Keats and Shelley

What piece of literature links Romanticism with the Victorian era?
Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre

Victorian authors
Brontes, Tennyson, Robert + Elizabeth Browning, Dickens

Very late Victorian authors
Hopkins and Wilde

Byronic Hero
“mad, bad, and dangerous to know” In literature, a rebel, proudly defiant in his attitude toward conventional social codes and religious beliefs; an exile or outcast hungering for an ultimate truth to give meaning to his life. Despite past transgressions he remains a sympathetic figure.

Characteristics of Romanticism
-Cultivates reverence for the beauty of nature (often with extreme emotions; see Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Kubla Khan)-Emphasize liberation and individuality; opposed to convention, conformity, and tyranny of religion-Indulges in physical and emotional passion-Centers on the poet; “poet in the world”, poet’s eyes become the focus-Alarmingly dramatic and expressive. e.g. “Oh, I feel the world crushing down upon me!”-Gives you the feeling that you are wandering in a misty wonderland; in a haze, dreamy

Characteristics of Victorian Era Literature
– Occasional poetry (a poem written to describe or comment on a particular event); see Alfred Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade”- Medieval text- Reference to the vestige of Roman culture (king Arthur, Lancelot, etc)- Modern Language (doesn’t ring any Shakespearian bells)- Not just poet’s views or experience (unlike Romantic poetry); “Man in the World”- Often showcases human misery- Dramatic Monologues (address an unknown audience); see Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess”- Much like romantic poetry, Victorian poetry shows skepticism of religion. But it mentions the withdrawal of religious conviction due to Darwin’s controversial theory of evolution (Darwinism/Christianity)-Less dramatic: often do not deviate greatly from the social norm

Wordsworth’s definition of poetry
“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility”Poetry begins when the individual as an individual achieves an epiphanic of his/her own connectedness to the is-ness of things, the world itself, with all of its sacredness and power.

It’s the experience of the numinous power of nature that produces that sudden mystical experience of feeling and knowing too much all at once.

Blakes view
the real poet grasps how things previously understood as opposites in fact participate intimately in one another, and occupies that space where these opposites coincide and become one (good and evil, Heaven and Hell, Beauty and Ugliness, Experience and Innocence). Job, by Blake’s reasoning, is an artist, a poet.

Coleridge’s concept of fantasy
What is poetry? is so nearly the same question with what is a poet?

major themes of the entire Romantic movement–
that passion and art generate one another, and constitute the highest calling on the face of the earth

to a skylark
Shelley hears evidence of exactly that fusion–the bird’s sweet song and glorious existence reflects the ideals of the Romantics themselves.

is the highest calling,

It’s a wonderful sonnet about how the ambitions of even Rameses the Great ultimately come to an ironic erasure of his greatness. it captures the plight of the quintessential Romantic hero, who is compelled matter–to stand at the nexus of natural and supernatural and achieve a glorious rapprochement between those worlds, even though he knows,at the same time, the total futility of being able to finally hold his own against the awesome power of the natural world to best him.

byronic hero v satanic hero
Byronic heroes don’t stand for purity or goodness–at least not overtly. Unlike the Miltonic/Satanic hero, though, they do tend to have certain non-normative virtues that they live by, though these emerge over time. Our immediate impression of the Byronic hero tends to be that he’s bad news, with bad secrets, and very possibly isn’t going to be good for us at all. But a true Byronic hero somehow manages, by the end, to be exactly what we were looking for, and to reveal a weird nobility. Somewhere.

If you want to stick around long enough to see it for yourself. Satanic heroes have nothing moral about them at all.

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