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The Romantic Age

Historical background

During the romantic age there’s some important historical and economical events.
The political events are:
- The French Revolution;
- The Napoleonic wars: Napoleone declares war to Britan;
- Luddite Riots (Malta, Singapore..);
The economical events are:
- Technological inventions of the industrial revolution.

The term “industrial revolution” refer to the England economic development from 1760 to the middle of 19th century.
There are a lot of inventions as machines (stamp power machine, cloth-making machine, power loan..) and new fonts of power as coal.
The English intellectuals support the French revolution, especially in his early fase (as Blake).
The hero of the British navy was the admiral Orazio Nelson: he defeats the French Spanish fleet in 1805.
Napoleone was defeated in 1815 at Waterloo, in Belgio. In this way, Britain obtain Singapore, Silo, Malta and Cape of Buona Speranza.
The workers protest because they was worried about the new machines and it creares unemployment.
The riots were call ‘luddite’ because they take name from Ned Lad, the first worker who destroys a power loom.

The period

The romantic age or ‘the age of poetry’ begin in the second half of the 1700 and end in the 1830s. The period starts with the American Declaration of Indipindence in 1776 and with the French Revolution in 1789.
During the neo-classical age some ideas of the romanticism began to appear.


The years preceding the period is the ‘pre-romantic’. In this time poets began to break free to the Neo-Classical and experiment with new subject and themes. Pre-romantic literature focus to sensibility and melancholy, imagination, the wild, the lonely and the desolate.
The most important pre-romantic poet was Thomas Grey that wrote “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”, a melanchonic meditation on the theme of death.

Early romanticism
William Blake is an Early Romantic’s poet because he speaks about new themes (freedom, love, imagination, nature...) and he’s revolutionary in his interpretation of poetic language.

First generation
William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge added a preface to a collection of their poems called “Lyrical Ballads”. The preface later became a kind of manifesto of Romanticism because described a new way of thinking about poetry. Their themes include the relationship between man and the natural or supernatural world, and the value of feeling and emotions.

Second generation
The poets are Byron, Percy Shelley and Keats.
Byron and Shelley poems reflect their interest in personal and moral freedom.
Keats explore the themes of nature, transience and death, love, beauty and truth.

Three sub-genres developed: Gothic novels, historical novels and the novel of the manners.
One of the most important novelist is Jane Austen.
Walter Scott introduced a new genre: the historical novel which combined fiction and historical fact.
Mary Shelley wrote the classic gothic novel Frankenstein.
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