Romanticism  - 1789-1848
“If poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all.” (Keats)

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Romanticism  - 1789-1848
“If poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all.” (Keats)

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Neoclassical painting
= Age of Enlightenment (or: Age of Reason)

The Oath of the Horatii (1785)
Louvre, Paris.
By Jacques-Louis David.
Romantic painting

The Hay Wain

(John Constable, 1821)

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Slide 3 - Video

Romantic music
  • Famous early Romantic composers: Beethoven , Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Bellini, and Berlioz. 
  • Late 19th century: dramatic expansion in  size of orchestra and in  range/diversity instruments 
  • Late 19th century music is characterized by nationalistic fervor , (musicians Dvořák, Sibelius, Grieg,  Saint-Saëns, Fauré). 
       French revolution start of Romantic era -> revolution = political independence = music for              your own country

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Neoclassical architecture

The White House (1792-1800)

Romantic architecture

Brighton, Royal Pavilion
(John Nash, 1815-1822)

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Neoclassical poetry (Enlightenment)
= didactic (teaches people)

Essay on man - Alexander Pope

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state, 
A being darkly wise, and rudely great:

Romantic poetry
= personal feeling (art for the sake of art, expression of emotions)

I wandered lonely as a cloud - William Wordsworth

For oft, when on my couch I lie  
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.  

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 Start of Literary period- Romanticism
1789: French  Revolution > Ideal of new world without tyranny, characterized by individual freedom.

Willam Godwin's Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (influenced Wordsworth, Shelly a.o.)

Plea for English Democratice Republic

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Romantic themes in art/literature
  • liberty  
  • nature  
  • the exotic  
  • the supernatural  
  • creative process / imagination 

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Characteristics Romanticism
  1. individual, personal
  2. feeling / Imagination
  3. common life
  4. spontaneity
  5. ordinary language
  6. pleasure
  7. nature as background and inspiration

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How does a Romantic poet write?
  • Poet’s own feelings important (personal, subjective, individual)
  •  Poem is composed spontaneously cf. Wordsworth: poetry is “the spontaneous,overflow of powerful feelings, taking its origin in emotion recollected in tranquility.” 
  • Keywords: inspiration, imagination, originality 

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Romanticism: Friendship instead of social status 
  • The most important form of loyalty was friendship (you choose friends based on same character)
  • Choice of friends/partners became important vs  Social status obtained through friends/partners

Freedom of choice was also freedom to reject a partner. Not everyone could handle rejection

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William Blake (1757 – 1827) 
  • Poet, painter, illustrator during the Romantic period
  • Famous for his expressiveness and creativity, 
  • Philosophical and mystical undercurrents in his work
  •  Hostile to the Church of England  (to almost all forms of organised religion) but reverent of the Bible
  • Influenced by the ideals & ambitions of the French and American Revolutions
  • His poetry rebels against the abuse of class power 
  • Famous work:  Songs of Innocence and  of Experience (1794)
  • Imagination is the most important element of human existence
  • He experienced visions of beautiful religious themes and imagery
  •  Believed in racial and sexual equality. Several poems and paintings express universal humanity:                                                         "As all men are alike (tho' infinitely various)".

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