Pre – Romanticism (1776-1814)
In 1814 began the Victorian Age. It was a period of grate changes -> We have three revolution: the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution.
The American and French Revolution spread the new political and social ideas of freedom, brotherhood and equality. This would be evident in the production of Thomas Gray.
The Industrial Revolution took place in England ‘cause the British Empire had row materials that were imported and exported since 1500. With this materials, England made the manufactured and so it was the cradle of the industries. -> New technological invention (ex. steam engine).
At the beginning, the England’s economy was based on agriculture and home activities and then there was a passage from it to the big industries. It brought about a terrible change from the economical point of view and social point of view.
Economical: the industrial production was faster, cheaper and more. This meant the downfall of the home activities. Lots of English people used to living in the country and they would have a good style of life, they found themselves jobless and so they moved to the city. The suburb condition was totally unbearable.
England passed to be an agriculture country to an industrial one. The country was left more and more.
There were more jobbers than job so they were underpaid, they were made to work till 13 hours a day in terrible condition and the people fell ill and died easy (nobody helped the family so they got fired).
Some men took to drinking and the women became prostitutes.
Social: the country family forced to move to the city, they were exploited, they were no more important as men and they lost their human dignity. They were a mood of melancholy (like Antonio of The merchant of Venice) and nostalgia.
Enlightenment vs. Pre-Romanticism
Another reason that pushed this current was a reaction versus the Enlightenment.
The first half of ‘800 was dominated by Enlightenment -> people began to be feed up with reason. It was not possible to enquire the reality throw only the reason. Fantasy, feeling, instinct and emotions were important too.
Country was the symbol of freedom and of the old contact with the natural world.
There was an exaltation of the Middle Age, where the people was free and they had ideals -> good past was last vs. ugly present.
Children and humble people were the exaltation of the simplicity. They looked the world by a naive, simple and true point of view. - childhood vs. adulthood.
The country humble people followed the nature, they lived without the machine humble vs. citizens.
The poetic production of the Enlightenment was dominated by the poet diction. There was a style for poetry. It was really difficult language, elaborated, full of poetic figure and the country poetry imitated the classic poetical world (like Greece myths). Who was ignorant, didn’t understand and appreciate them. The Romanticism used a simple style and everyone could understand it.
Moreover in Italy and in England, the graveyard poetry spread. It was the first reaction against the Enlightenment and it was a widespread of melancholy (change of the society).
The poets were mused on death. They realized the precariousness of the human life. -> Life was difficult, people were worried/melancholy and they thought of death.
One of the messages was the grave as contact between the death and the alive.