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The Romantic Age



The sublime is a feeling associated with the strong emotion we feel in front of intense natural phenomena (storms, hurricanes, waterfalls). It generates fear but also attraction and the term has Latin origins and refers to any literary or artistic form that expressed noble feelings. In distinction, the beautiful refers to the qualities of the object, while the sublime is the sensation felt by the perceiver.
effects of discipline can be admiration respect and also terror and fear.
This feeling is central in the works of romantic poets and gothic novelists, and it is linked to a passion for extreme sensations. painters like Turner and Constable wanted to express the Supreme in visual art: they were landscape painters and although in different ways they emphasised the strength of natural elements and studied the effects of different weather conditions on the landscape.
Literary background : in France the romanticist was introduced by Rousseau in the 18th century , who devoted “ romantic” as a feeling.
In Germany at the end of the 18th century it acquired a totally positive meaning and voted a spiritual and aesthetic value , then it defined a literal and artistic movement which spread all over Europe and had as common feature the rebellion against classicism. In Germany was anticipated by the “Sturm and Drang” movement, introduced by the notion of “Sensucht”, a feeling of desire for what is unattanable.
Romanticism in England expressed itself especially in poetry. Novels where mainly of two kinds: realistic and fantastic.
The main features are: the presentation of nature as a living force and as expression of God in the universe; the use of the language of sense impression because the senses were instruments to set the visionary power in action; the return to past forms such as the ballad, the sunset, and the lyric poems.
The first generation of Romantic Poets:
1. William Blake: a “pre-romantic”, he created his own symbolic system, based on his theory of complementary opposites. He was ahead of his time, sensitive to the social changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution.
2. Wordsworth: his poetry started from the direct observation of nature, of simple life. He wanted to show the high moral values present in the life of simple people. Use of common language.
3. Coleridge: his poetry started inside the mind, great power of imagination. He created fantastic dream-like worlds and described them as if they were real, mixing the supernatural with the real.
Common features: they wrote some “theory” about the poetry, they all at first supported the French Revolution. However, Wordsworth and Coleridge were later disappointed by it.
The second generation of Romantic Poets:
1. Shalley: a political radical, unconventional, rebel, who saw the poet as a prophet who could change society.
Individualism and escapism were stronger in this generation.