What is Romanticism
The word Romanticism has been derived from the word Romance which means to give full play imagination. Romanticism has occupied a permanent position in English literature. It is a style of art music and literature that was common in Europe in rhe late 18th and early 19th centuries. The word Romanticism brings in its boundary not only literature but also politics, philosophy, and the arts generally. It is the opposite of classicism. It was a revolt against the Neoclassic trends of the poetry of the Augustan period.
Romanticism is a term that cannot be defined accurately. Many critics have defined it in various ways, in various angles. An English critic, F.L.Lucas has counted 11,396 definitions of romanticism. So this term is very difficult to define. C.H.Herfold has defined as “Romanticism is an extraordinary development of imaginative sensibility. ” Again Watts Dunton says, Romanticism is the Renaissance of wonder.”
There are many salient features of Romanticism.
2)Love for Beauty
3)Love for nature
5)Simplicity in expression
11)Love for freedom and liberty
The English romantic poets began a new movement in English poetry. Now we will discuss the salient features of romanticism with special reference to Wordsworth and Keats.
William Wordsworth: is the founder of the Romantic period. He is one of the major romantic poets. He is called the poet of nature.
His great poems are “I Wondered Lonely as a Cloud”,” Tintern Abbey”, “Intimations of Immortality”.Now we will show the salient features of romanticism concerning Wordsworth:-
*The most salient feature of romanticism is high imagination. All the poems of Wordsworth show high imagination.
*Love for nature is an important feature of Wordsworth’s poetry. He shows great interest in nature. He says that nature is the heart, guide, guardian, and nurse.
*Common language is another feature of Wordsworth’s poetry. In his poetry, he has used common language. For example, in his poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, we find a common language.
*Common theme is another vital feature of Wordsworth’s poetry. He uses the subject matter of common life and things.
*Subjectivity is an important feature of Wordsworth’s poetry. He writes his poems in a subjective style. He expresses his own feelings, emotions, and passions in his poems.
*Glorification of childhood is also a great feature of romanticism. It is a great feature of Wordsworth too. He has glorified childhood in his ode, Intimations of immortality, and his other poems.
John Keats is woe-begotten of all Romantic poets. His significant works are–To Autumn, Ode on a Grecian Urn, Ode to a Nightingale, etc. The salient feature of Keat’s poetry in the following —
*Subjectivity is an important feature of romanticism. Keats is essentially subjective. He wrote his poems in a subjective manner where he expresses his own sorrow and suffering.
*Love for beauty is an important feature of Keat’s poetry.
*Escapism is an important feature of romanticism. In the poems of Keats, we find the theme of escapism.
*Sensuousness is another important feature of romanticism. It is also an important feature of Keat’s poetry. The presence of sensuousness is found in his odes.
*Melancholy is an important feature of romanticism. In the poems of Keats, we find the theme of melancholy.
In conclusion, we can say that William Wordsworth and John Keats are towering figures in the Romantic period. In their poems, we notice the features of romanticism very finely.
revival or revolt?
English Romantic movement was both a revival and a revolt. It was a revival of Elizabethan romance, imagination, love for nature, and beauty. And it was a revolt against the classicism or neo-classicism of the 18th century.The Romantic poets reacted against the style of the 18th century.
The 18th-century poet used simile, metaphor, allusion, and other poetic diction like heroic couplet in their poetry. As a result, their poetry was artificial.
On the other hand, romantic poets used simple language in their poetry so that common people maybe understand and get pleasure. Poets must not use poetic diction.
The 18th-century poets wrote about upper-class Society, fashionable life, artistic drawing-room. But Wordsworth and his followers wrote about common people and ordinary objects of nature.
Therefore, to the 18th-century poets, nature means human nature, the feeling of sorrow and suffering, but to the romantic poets, nature means the world of leaves, trees, flowers, seas, hills, forest, etc.