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Pre-Romanticism - Principal Features

WHEN: The Pre-romanticism developed in the last thirty years of the 18th century.

NAMES:this period is known as Pre-Romanticism, Early Romantic Age and the Age of Transition.

PRINCIPAL FEATURE:it's characterised by a return to creativity, sensibility, imagination, after the Enlightenment period and the Industrial Revolution.

THEMES:beauty, art, death, nature, love.

WHAT POETS REJECT:Industrial Revolution and his consequences (pollution, exploitation of woman and children, transformation of lanscape, mechanisation), because of the lack of fantasy, imagination, creativity that it caused.

WHAT POETS EXPRESS:melancholy, feelings, emotion, imagination, pessimism, suffering, solitude, passions.

PLACES OF INSPIRATION:uncontaminated and beautiful places, desolate lanscapes, ruins, ancient castles, graveyards. In this places they can find tranquillity to meditate.

FACTORS OF DEVELOPMENT:the noisy activity of the town is compared with the simple serenity of countryside; there's an interest in humble and everyday life (The Task, William Cowper); there is an interest in meditation on death and on suffering of the poor; a taste for desolate places; the rediscovery of the art, architecture, legends and popular traditions of Middle Ages, manisfested in 'Gothic'.

NATURE:the concept of nature changes. It isn't view anymore as a set of divine laws, but as a real and living being to be described as it really is.

BEAUTY:beauty becomes a subjective concept. David Hume stated: "Beauty is no quality in things: it exits merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty".

LITERARY FORM:the poetry is preferred, because is more suitable to express man's feelings and sentiments.


    Ossianic poetry (a cycle of poems by an Irish warrior, Ossian, who lived in the 3rd century in Scotland), characterised by melancholy and suffering produced by war or conntrasted love, and by a description of a wild, gloomy nature. These circulate thanks to James Macpherson, who collects some Ossianic's work in Fragments of Ancient Poetry.

    Graveyard School, a groups of poets who are interested in stormy lanscapes, ruins, and they use a melancholy tone.

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