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Romantic Poetry in England

Romantic poetry in England is divided into two generations: the first one has as protagonists William Blake (but not everyone considers him as a romantic poet, some people think of him more as a precursor of romantic poetry), William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (these last two are considered the founders of Romanticism); while the second one has as protagonists Lord Byron, John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley.
The central idea romantic poets have of themselves is that they’re “bards” (as is shown for example in the famous painting The bard by John Martin and contains all elements of romantic sensibility): he’s a unique being and because of it he’s an outcast, other people don’t understand them (idea rooted especially in the second-generation Romanticism). The first generation is more important in the history of english letterature; only Lord Byron is quite famous in the second one.

Romantic poets looks back to Middle Ages, because in that period their heritage and cultural identity were born (e.g. their language was born). Now even if we’re in the age of rationalism, poets look back and use the Middle Ages as a powerful source for their works. There’s a relation also between the Sublime and the Medieval, in fact the Sublime implies a like for darkness, macabre, and the Middle Ages are also called “Dark Ages”, because they weren’t illuminated by the light of knowledge and rationalism, there were lots of ignorant and uncultured.

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