Romantic thems and conventions
Instinct, feeling and intuition were essential qualities for the Romantic pote. Feeling and emotion were essential for a truw knowledge of things. For the Romantics the imagination connected the individual mind and the universe, the human and the divine. Imagination was the central point of the creating process. For William Blake all of nature eas "imagination". For Percy Shelley the imagination was a creative power.
The Romantic writers saw a natural scene as much more than simply physical, thy endowed it with life, passion and feelings. The poems by William Wordsworth often begin with the accurate description of a landscape. Simple scenes began to acquire a new value. Wordsworth and Coleridge tried to reveal the ordinary in its splendor. No poetry had ever contained so many descriptions of nature as we find in the works of the Romantics.
The interest in the commonplace had its counterpart in fascination with the supernatural and magic.
The universe was a living entity that could reveal itself to man on two levels:
- the visible (nature);
- the invisible (supernatural).
Dreams, nightmares, visions were all cultivated by the Romantics.
Romanticism was introspection. The Romantics discovered that reality and truth are subjective.
Individualism had an effect on literary forms and genres. In prose, novels were written both about heroes and ordinary people. The Romantics individualism was reflected in isolation from society. Isolation took various forms:
- isolation in nature;
There is an area of Romantic sensibility defined as "negative". It shows a marked interest, with the strange, the forbidden. The typical Romantic hero is a glorious failure. Many of these solitary heroes had committed some horrible and unconfessed crime.
The desire to create myths was characteristic of the age. Romantic artist themes were the search for infinity that was destined to fail, but this was the artist's glorious mission.
The first decades of 19th century saw the creation of an American literary tradition. The proclamation o the Monroe Doctrine officially stated that the United States would no longer tolerate European. Writers began to favour local subjects and settings. Ralph Waldo Emerson, though he showed the influence of European Romantic poets, particularly Wordsworth, urged the need for independence from foreign models.