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The Romantic Authors

William Wordsworth

Preface to Lyrical Ballads: The Manifesto of English Romanticism
-everyday situations as the subject of poetry
-use of the language of common people purified by the poet
-poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings
-poetry has its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity
-the poet is a man speaking to men but he has a greater sensibility
Themes
-the relationship between man and nature, they are one entity
-pantheistic view of nature
-nature as guide and consolation
-importance of childhood and memory
-importance of the senses, in particular sight and hearing
-the poet moves from the perception of nature to develop a philosophical reflection
-didactic role of poetry

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Theory of imagination
-primary imagination: power of perception

-secondary imagination: recreates or creates new worlds (the poet has it)
-fancy: a mode of memory
Themes
-suspension of disbelief: the supernatural made real
-pantheistic nature
-the crisis of the human will (The Rime)
-the exotic (Kubla Khan)
-didactic role of poetry
George Gordon Byron
The Byronic hero (Child Harold, Manfred)
-proud individualism
-rejection of the conventional rules of society
-wild in manners
-restless and mysterious
Classical and Romantic
-use of irony and satire (Don Juan)
-use of classical forms (Spensieran stanza, ottava rima)
-sublime nature
-nature as the reflection of poet's feelings and mood
-theme of the journey and exile

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Themes
-refusal of social and political conventions (England in 1819)
-faith in a better future
-principles of freedom and love (To a Skylark)
-poetic imagination as revolutionary creativity meant to change reality
-poetry redeems from decay
-pantheistic nature as the reflection of poet's moood
John Keats
Themes
-the clash between the ideal and the real
-the classical world as a source of inspiration (Greece, The Middle Ages)
-the cult of beauty as a way to truth
-the relationship between life, time/eternity, art
-art as consolation
-the poet has the power of negative capability
-importance given to all the senses

Walter Scott

Historical novel
-combination of fictional and historical events
-scottish history
-concept of social history
-regret for the past values of heroism and loyalty

-importance of description
-use of omniscient narrator

Edgar Allan Poe

The tales
-great influence on the detective story (tales of Detection)
-importance of the deductive method
-gothic elements from outside and inside the self (tales of Imagination)
-theme of cruelty, perverseness and madness
-fusion of beauty and death, creation and destruction
-theme of the double
-first person narrator
The poems
-Coleridge's influence
-themes of loss, decadence and supernatural
-extensive use of symbols
-poet's aim: to create an emotional effect on the reader

Jane Austen

Novel of Manners
-master of irony
-characters belonging mainly to the country gentry
-no interest in contemporary historical events
-classical themes of decorum,, propriety, marriage
-relationship between character's desires and social conventions (Sense and Sensibility)
-importance of psychological insight: round characters (Darcy, Elizabeth, Elinor, Marianne)
-long passages of dialogue without the mediation of the narrator
-omniscient, unobtrusive narrator.

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