Feature of Romanticism [P161-163]
a. The Romantic period is an age of poetry. The Romantics believed that poetry could purify both individual souls and the society.
b. Wordsworth’s theory of poetry is calling for simple themes drawn from humble life expressed in the language of ordinary people.
c. The spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.
d. The Romantics believed that object should be the expression of the writer’s emotion， impression and beliefs.
2. Imagination. It is in solitude， in communication with the natural universe， that man can exercise this most valuable of faculties， the imagination.
3. Worship of Nature. Nature is not only the major source of poetic imagery， but also provides the dominant subject matter.
4. To escape from a world that had become excessively rational， as well as excessively materialistic and ugly， the Romantics would turn to other times and places， where the qualities they valued could be convincingly depicted. Lake poet or passive Romantic poet： Wordsworth， Coleridge， Southey - old and conservative. Active Romantic poet： Byron， Shelly， Keats - young and revolutionary.
5. Romantics also tend to be nationalistic， defending the great poets and dramatists of their own national heritage against the advocates of classical rules.
6. Romantic writers are always seeking for the Absolute， the Ideal through the transcendence of the actual. They have also made bold experiments in poetic language， versification and design， and constructed a variety of forms on original principles of organization and style.
Political Writing [P164]
1. Leading figures： Coleridge， Hazlitt， Lamb， and De Quincey
2. William Hazlitt （1778-1830） is a great critic on Shakespeare， Elizabethan drama， and English poetry. He is also a master of the familiar essays. He has developed an eloquent， courageous and arbitrary prose style.
3. Charles Lam （1775-1844） is a lovable essayist. His essay is a medium for a delightful literary treatment of life’s small pleasures and reassurance. The essential characteristic of his essays is a strong clear intelligence， commanding in its centrality， its courage， and its vital irony.
4. Thomas De Quincey （1785-1859） is one of the keenest intellects of the age. The great literary merit of his Confessions of an English Opium Eater lies in his subtle revelation of the potentiality of human dreams. His concern with the psychological effects of literature achieves. His style， sometimes stately， sometimes headlong， now gorgeous， now musical， shows a harmony between the idea and the expression.hunder which overwhelmed him left heart still unvanquished.der which overwhelmed him left heart still unvanquished.
Novelists of the period
1. Jane Austen （1775-1817） She honors the Augustan virtues of moderation， dignity， disciplined emotion and common sense. The major theme of her novels is love and marriage.
2. Walter Scott （1771-1832） is the most popular novelist of his day. His major novels： Waverley， Old Mortality， The Heart of Midlothian， Rob Roy and Ivanhoe. The last 3 are most famous. Importance of Walter Scott：
a. In his depiction of Scotland， England， and the Continent from medieval times to the 18th century， he showed a keen sense of political and traditional forces and of their influence on the individual.
b. He is the first major historical novelist， exerting a powerful literary influence both in British and on the Continent throughout the 19th century.
It’s a phase of the Romantic Movement. Its principal elements are violence， horror and the supernatural.
1. Content： magic， supernatural elements， ghosts， monsters.
2. Setting： old castle， graveyard， dark forest.
3. Atmosphere： horrible.
1. Wordsworth， Coleridge， Southey. They live in the district of Great Lake， northwestern England.
2. They have radical inclinations in their youth， but later turned conservative and received favors from the Government.
3. They criticize the industrial capitalist society.
William Blake （1757-1827）
1757 He was born in an Irish family. His father was a small hosiery businessman. As a child， he was talented in drawing.
1767 At the age of 10， he was sent to a drawing school.
1771 Age of 14， he began his 7-year apprenticeship for an engraver.
1779 He began to earn a living as an engraver.
1780 He married Catherine Boucher. His marriage is a life long happiness.
Blake often misunderstood by other people as a gifted but mad man. He wasn’t rich as he spent most of his time on writing and painting. In his time， he wasn’t known as a poet， because his poems were published posthumously.
William Blake’s 3 major works
1809 The Songs of Innocence is a lovely volume of poems， presenting a happy and innocent world， though not without its evils and sufferings.
Writing style of the poem： He broke completely with the traditions of the 18th century. He experienced in meter and rhyme and introduced bold metrical innovations which could not be found in the poetry of his contemporaries.
1794 The Songs of Experience paints a different world， a world of misery， poverty， disease， war and repression with a melancholy tone.
The two books hold the similar subject matter， but the tone emphasis and conclusion differ.
e.g. "The Chimney Sweeper" in the two books
Difference The Songs of Innocence The Songs of Experience
Writing tone Happy and hopeful Bitter and ironical
Sweeper Sees duty a hope， if they do their duty， they will live happily in the heaven. Sees duty an exploitation.
Religion Identify himself with religion or Christianity. He believes he will gain happiness if he does his duty. Sees the religion or Christianity as the source of misery. The suffering of the child reveals the false ideal of Christianity.
Selected reading from William Blake [P171-172] "The Chimney Sweeper" from The Songs of Innocence and The Songs of Experience.