AD's English Literature : THE FACE OF THE AGE OF ROMANTICISM

THE FACE OF THE AGE OF ROMANTICISM



The first half of the nineteenth century records the conquest of Romanticism in literature and of democracy in government. The French Revolution, the Reform Bill, the American commonwealth-all these were the inevitable results of ideas which literature had spread rapidly through the civilized world. Freedom is fundamentally an inspiring, compelling, beautiful and fascinating ideal. It was kept steadily before men’s minds by a multitude of books and pamphlets. Thomas Paine’s ‘Rights of Man'  and Burns’s ‘poems’ were read eagerly by the common people, all proclaiming the dignity of common life and uttering the same passionate cry against every from of class or caste oppression. The development of fresh ideas brought new inspiration for poetry. In prose we may observe especially the fruitful yield of the novel, the rejuvenation of the essay, and the unprecedented activity of critical and miscellaneous writers.

1.  Treatment of Nature- We find the poetical attitude to nature altering profoundly. In the work of Cowper, Crabbed, and Gray the treatment of nature is very simple. To Wordsworth nature is not only a procession of seasons and seasonal fruition: it is eye of all things, natural and beholds the spirit that inhabits all things. Nature is thus amplified and glorified; it is to be sought, not only in flowers and the fields, but also in “the light of setting suns, And the round ocean and the living air, And the blue sky, and in the mind of man.”

2. Romantic Enthusiasm- William Wordsworth fired with political enthusiasm, wroth: “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven.” We see literary independence in the writers of this age. In Wordsworth this literary independence led him inward to the heart of common things. Following his own instinct, he too “Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in everything.”

3. The French Revolution- The uprising of the French Revolution proclaimed the natural rights of man and the abolition of class distinctions. Its effect on the whole civilized is beyond computation. Patriotic clubs and societies multiplied in England, all asserting the doctrine of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, the watchwords of the French Revolution.

4. The Influence of German & American Literature- The study of German literature and leering, in the place of French literature, came rapidly in to favors. Due to the influence of war with France, English people become least interested in French literature. The first poetical work of Scott is based on the German. The effects of this influence can be farther observed in the works of Shelley, Coleridge, Byron and others. In the course of time German increased its hold upon English. The influence of American literature also enriched the English products. In Fennimore Cooper the novel had a good start. Washington Irving was the first of the line of notable American literature.

5. Periodicals and Magazines- Literary Criticism in this age became firmly established by the appearance of such magazines as ‘The Edinburgh Review’ (1802), The Quarterly Review’(1808), ‘Black wood’s Magazine’ (1817), ‘ The Westminster Review’ (1824), ‘The Spectator’ (1828), The Athenaeum’(1828), and ‘ Fraser’s Magazine’(1830). These Magazines reacted strongly upon Scott.\, Wordsworth, Byron, Keats, and Tennyson but published the works of unknown writers, like Hazlitt, Lamb, and Leigh Hunt etc. These Magazine editors discovered the chief mission of the modern magazine, which is to give every writer of ability the opportunity to make his work known to the world.

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An English Teacher;    M. A.(English) , D. Ed., B. Ed., UGC- NET Qualified

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