Romantic lit

The Romantic Period
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This lesson contains 28 slides, with interactive quizzes, text slides and 2 videos.

time-iconLesson duration is: 45 min

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The Romantic Period

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  • Industrial revolution: brought wealth and prosperity to the country
  • Britain grew from a agricultural nation into an industrialised nation
  • Farmers had to find work in factories in the cities (long hours, miserable working conditions)
  • The gap between rich and poor became wider; wealth wasn’t equally divided -> social unrest
  • The ideals of the French revolution (1789), freedom, equality and the abolition of class distinctions appealed to many, especially young, people all over Europe, including English Romantic poets (e.g. Lord Byron)

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1798 William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge:
Lyrical Ballads

Poetry of simplicity, both in form and in contents.

In a period of social change and growing unrest people longed for another world.


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Romantic period
beauty and value of nature
distant and exotic cultures
innocence of children
The supernatural
God as the centre
Scientific knowledge
Clasical influences
courtly love

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The Romantic poets - the first generation
  • 1789: publication of Lyrical Ballads  (William Wordsworth & Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
  • Goal: bring poetry within reach of ordinary people
  • Form: simple poems > normal, everyday language
  • Subjects: ordinary country folk and their (highly idealized) pure lives in the country

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The Romantic poets - the first generation
William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850)
  • Probably England's greatest nature poet
  • Inspired by the Lake District
Famous for:
  • short, lyrical poems
  • I wandered lonely as a cloud
  • We are Seven

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The Romantic poets - the first generation
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

Famous for his art ballad
  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

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The Romantic poets - the second generation
George, Lord Byron  (1788-1824)
  • Notorious life-style!

Best known for two long narrative poems
  • Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
  • Don Juan

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The Romantic poets - the second generation
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 - 1822)
  • Unconventional life
  • Husband of Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein)

Most famous for:
  • shorter verse - Ozymandias, Ode to the West Wind
  • masterpiece - Adonais (long elegy on the death of John Keats)

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The Romantic poets - the second generation
John Keats (1795 - 1821)
  • Early death from tuberculosis
  • Neglected during life-time
  • Now one of England's most beloved poets

Famous for:
  • Three famous odes: On a Grecian Urn, To A Nightingale, To Autumn
  • Art ballad: La Belle Dame Sans Merci

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Early 19th Century Novel
Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
  • immensely popular in Britain and abroad
  • "Father of the historical novel"
  • Many books based on Scottish history
  • Most famous work: Ivanhoe (1819)

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Early 19th Century Novel
Jane Austen (1775 - 1817)
  • Most important novelist of early 19th century
  • "Mother of the romance novel"
  • Elegant + witty studies of young women
  • Focusing on love and common sense
Most important novels:
  • Sense and Sensibilty / Emma /  Persuasion 
  • Pride and Prejudice

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What are the characteristics of Romantic prose?
departure from reason
focus on nature
element of the supernatural
focus on individual

Slide 13 - Quiz

Wuthering Heights
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen
Emily Brontë
Mary Shelley

Slide 14 - Drag question

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18th/19th century
(industrial revolution)

Slide 18 - Mind map

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If you were to live in these circumstances, what would you look for/long for?

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Romanticism as a reaction
- urbanisation
- "filling in the map"
- Reason & science

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The Romantic Period
  • the beauty and value of nature
  • idealization of the countryside and country people
  • the (idealized) past and distant and exotic cultures
  • senses and emotions over reason
  • the supernatural (horror/magic) and the sublime

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