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The Romantic Age

The most important event that affected the political scene and the intellectuals was the FRENCH REVOLUTION that broke out in 1789 and ended thanks to the Napoleon’s ascent.
The reactions in Britain to this fact were various. Napoleon had defeated the European countries and forced them to ally with him. But Britain relying its stronger navy and decided to fight France.
Horatio Nelson win French at Trafalgar in 1805. In 1814 Napoleon was definitely defeat at Waterloo.
The period that covered the Napoleonic wars was called “the regency”, since the Prince Regent later to become GEORGE IV, acted as monarch during the illness of GEORGE III.
GEORGE IV-> was called the “first gentleman” for his extravagant behaviour. His taste for exotic was reflected in public buildings.


England was changing from a primarily agricultural society into a modern industrial nation. After the Napoleonic wars there was a period of unemployment. Therefore the first three decades of 1800 were a period of social and political conflicts (repression).
POORE PEOPLE-> bad conditions of life.
RICH PEOPLE -> land owners, merchants, manufacturers.


Romanticism can be seen as a creative period, in the society there was a new view of the world, due to economical, political and social changes.
The pre-romantic poets had already shown an interest in emotions and imagination.
There was a serious interest about childhood!!
-> J.J.Russeau-> child was purer then adult because he was unspoilt by civilization.->NOBLE SAVAGE.
The romantics stressed the special qualities of each individual minds; they exalted atypical, outcast, rebel.
New interests in space and time: EXOTIC and MEDIEVAL AGES.


English romanticism saw a poetry as best suites to expressing emotional experience and individual feelings.
IMAGINATION-> divine faculty that allowed the poet to re-create and modify the world of experience.
Romantic poets searches for a new, individual style.

Two generation of English poets:


*Wordsworth(he write about the beauty of nature & ordinary things)
*Coleridge (he write about supernatural and mystery)

Supported the French Revolution for the ideals of freedom and equality. After the Napoleonic wars and the resulting of industrial revolution there was a disillusionment and the poets became conservative.


*Byron, Keats, Shelley

All died very young and away from home (Mediterranean countries. In their poetry there is a clash between ideal and real:poetry was no longer regarded as an imitation of life but coincided with the desire to challenge the cosmos, nature, political & Social order.

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