In the second half of the 18th century, there was an interest in humble subjects and an interest in nature.
The term "nature" began to acquire its modern connotation of external nature as opposed to its Augustan or neoclassical meaning. Poets began to describe natural country scenes in simple language.
Thomas Gray was the first to show a real nterest in the life of humble people.
Robert Burns was a poet who sang of elementary things such as love, music, country life.
The Gothic novel
The first sings of the new Romanticism can be found in the Gothic novel. Its archetypal work is The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole. The novel is set in a old castle in medieval Italy, and it contains what will become the stock - and - trade of Gothic fiction:
- a complicated plot;
- a mixture of realistic details and legends;
- old ruins and night scenes;
- mistery and horror.
Some Gothic novels conlcuded whit a rational explanation of their mysteries.
Gothic novels are set in picturesque sceneries, generally Italian, wich contribute to the suspance. They are characterized by a sinister, gloomy atmosphere and supernatural events, and their main characters are usually an evil or a mysterious man who persecutes a young, beautiful and innocent girl: they are the protagonist of very complicated plots.