-Emotion vs. Reason-
In the last years of the 18th century are the years of the Early Romantic Age; during this period the attitude towards reason changed because of a new sensibility became dominant and began to influence people; reason has given way to emotion, as now it wasn’t seen as the only way of knowledge, because it was a sort of mental prison, repressing emotions and feelings.
There were new interests in humble, everyday life, ruins, melancholy, graveyards, desolation; there were also been a revaluation of the past, especially of the middle ages.
Also changed the way Nature was seen: now it’s seen as a real and live creature; before it was seen as a set of divine laws and principles, that men could control with his reason.
Even the conception of beauty changed, as it wasn’t still objective, but it’s subjective, because as David Hume said, each mind perceives a different beauty.
-New Trends in Poetry-
The new poets established a new trends which managed to prepare the way for the Romantic poets.
Poets tended to use subjective, autobiographical material, starting a new trend towards the expression of a lyrical and personal experience of life.
Early Romantic poets reacted to the social changes taking place in the country with a re-evaluation of rural origins.
Pastoral Poetry celebrated and praised country life for its simplicity and domesticity, free from the corruption of urban life.
One of the most influential groups of poets it’s known as ‘The Graveyard School’, because of their melancholy tone and the choice of cemeteries, ruins, stormy landscapes as the setting of their poems; Thomas Gray, one of the poets of this school, wrote the ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’.
Sublime refers to a linguistic, literary or artistic form which express noble or elevate feelings and behaviour.
The Sublime doesn’t arise from the pleasure produced by beautiful forms and also not from the detached contemplation of the object, but it has its roots in the feelings of fear and horror created by what is infinite and terrible.
Void, obscurity, loneliness and silence are sublime.
This ‘horrible’ beauty gave aesthetic dignity to anything ugly existing in nature, and affected the literature of the end of the 18th century.