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Romanticism (1 Viewer)

eyes of the world

Senior Member
What's your view on Romanticism? I particularly adore the English Romantic poets (in order of favorite to least, Wordsworth, Keats, Blake, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley) I identify with many aspects of their lives, love of nature, love of idleness, (utopian leftist leanings) Lyrical Ballads blew me away.... Which Romantic writer delights your senses the most?

IT is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
The holy time is quiet as a Nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquillity;
The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the Sea:
Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder--everlastingly.
Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,
If thou appear untouched by solemn thought,
Thy nature is not therefore less divine:
Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year;
And worship'st at the Temple's inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not.

William Wordsworth

Does anyone enjoy the romantics as much as I? I have panthiest leanings though so that could explain some...


Senior Member
I like Blake's "The Tyger" and Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Blake is my favorite.


Senior Member
blake's life entertained me greatly.. he had a thing for being naked, was arrested several times for it I think. And I know he once jumped off his wardrobe onto his wife to spice up thier bedroom time...

I'm not a huge romantics fan but when I'm in the mood I think I like them all pretty equally. Although I do really like Blake's "Clod and the pebble" or something to that effect...


Senior Member
"The Tyger"
- William Blake

Tyger, tyger burning bright
in the forests of the night.
What immortal hand or eye
could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

I totally remember the Calvin & Hobbes strip where Calvin starts reciting this poem to Hobbes.

eyes of the world

Senior Member
Kali - haha, always a smile to hear of poets getting in trouble with the law... be it jim morrison (indecent exposure) or William Blake.

Hodge- have you read Kubla Khan? (of course you have : P) I love the rime, but my favorite by Coleridge is Kubla Khan.

thanks for posting that too Hodge, I'd been wanting to read it but didn't feel like googling it up
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eyes of the world

Senior Member
HAPPY is England! I could be content
To see no other verdure than its own;
To feel no other breezes than are blown
Through its tall woods with high romances blent:
Yet do I sometimes feel a languishment
For skies Italian, and an inward groan
To sit upon an Alp as on a throne,
And half forget what world or worldling meant.
Happy is England, sweet her artless daughters;
Enough their simple loveliness for me,
Enough their whitest arms in silence clinging:
Yet do I often warmly burn to see
Beauties of deeper glance, and hear their singing,
And float with them about the summer waters

John Keats
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eyes of the world

Senior Member
My heart leaps up when I behold

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began,
So is it now I am a man,
So be it when I shall grow old
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man:
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

William Wordsworth, 1802.

eyes of the world

Senior Member
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

William Wordsworth

this one makes me smile each new day I read it.


Senior Member
It does at times become difficult for me to fully distinguish between Romanticism and a certain strain of post-Walpole Gothicism. This perplexity is greatly confounded by the writers themselves; Percy Shelley wrote primarily as a Romanticist, though he lived for all the world like a character in Gothic fiction, and his death seems certainly as grotesque as anything encountered in that genre. There is also the matter of Madame Shelley to be considered, I dare say.

Would it be correct to say that the two genre freely merged from time to time, as for instance in the works of Byron and his entourage? Is this blending perhaps what produced the later form of conglomerated Gothic/medievalist/aesthetic stylism that had something of a following in the late 19th Century?


Senior Member
The gothic novel is a subgenre of Romanticism. Frankenstein is all about romantic stuff -- human nature, emotion, the cold, harsh reality of the world... Romantic all the way, baby.


Senior Member
So I thought, and from there on sprouted the aesthetic movement and the Pre-Raphaelite style.

In that vein, and considering the original question, I'd have to say that my favourite romantic stylist was Lafcadio Hearn, though in actuality most of gothic literature repels me, save for the works of Le Fanu or Walpole (whose Castle of Otranto contains many wonderfully macabre vignettes, if also a great deal of obnoxious characterisation). For me, the greatest legacy of the romantics - beyond the poetry of Keats and the dream-related writings of De Quincey - is the ghost story.

On the other end of the spectrum would be the poetic works of Swinburne, whom I find to be hideously boring.

eyes of the world

Senior Member
I wouldn't know much about Gothic literature... if one would kindly educate me or post a link to educate me..

How about the Transcendentalists, they bear a striking resemblance to the Romantics as well

and now another poem.... this one out of Songs of Experience

The Little Vagabond by William Blake

Dear Mother, dear Mother, the Church is cold,
But the Ale-house is healthy and pleasant and warm;
Besides I can tell where I am used well,
Such usage in Heaven will never do well.

But if at the Church they would give us some Ale,
And a pleasant fire our souls to regale,
We'd sing and we'd pray all the live-long day,
Nor ever once wish from Church to stray

Then the Parson might preach, and drink, and sing,
And we'd be as happy as birds in the spring;
And modest Dame Lurch, who is always at Church
Would not have bandy children, nor fasting, nor birch.

And God, like a father rejoicing to see
His children as pleasant and happy as he,
Would have no more quarrel with the Devil or the
But kiss him and give him both drink and apparel.


Senior Member
I particularly like Keats. If he had lived past his twenties, he would have gained far more acclaim than Shakespeare. His sonnets are often more meaningful and well-wrought than his Italian counterparts.


Senior Member
Transcendentalism was essentially the American romantic movement, even though it went on about the time the Victorian era began in England. Only a couple real differences. Transcendentalism was an actual belief system and it incorporated a lot of Eastern themes in it.

Gothic literature is dark literature. Dark, brooding, mysterious, almost always supernatural, and emotional. Frankenstein epitomizes gothic literature (and I believe it was one of the first).


Senior Member
Transcendentalistic writers are similar to romantics in theory, but not in result. The inspiring works of Thoreau, Wordsworth, and Emerson are strikingly different from the ballads of Keats, Shelley, Spenser, and Yeats, which are much more forlorn and mystical. Personally, I prefer the works that sprang from Romanticism, as they were less concerned with ethical and moral issues and more interested in the state of human existance, and, of course, love.


Senior Member
Of course Thoreau and Emerson were different from those poets. Yeats was a Victorian, and Wordsworth was a British Romantic, not a transcendentalist. Spenser was a 16th century (renaissance?) dude.

Read Blake. There's your ethics and morality right there. Or Frankenstein.


Senior Member
Emerson and Thoreau were poets as well as prolific authors.

I confused Wordsworth with Whitman.

You cornered me on the rest. :)

Ilan Bouchard

Hodge said:
The gothic novel is a subgenre of Romanticism. Frankenstein is all about romantic stuff -- human nature, emotion, the cold, harsh reality of the world... Romantic all the way, baby.
Huh. I had never thought of Frankenstein as romantic, though, in retrospect, I can understand that it might be.

The only thing that disappointed me about it the story was that all the characters used the same kind of voice, until:

the reader discovers that it's one guy narrating the entire tale in extraordinary detail.


Senior Member
I know they were poets, but Emerson and Thoreau were best known for their essays and personalities. Thoreau was the nature loving metrosexual, and Emerson was the disillusioned old man who had a lot of great ideas but didn't always abide by them himself.

Whitman was totally American. Arguably the first American poet, as those who came before him were still very European in style.


Senior Member
Gothic literature is dark literature. Dark, brooding, mysterious, almost always supernatural, and emotional. Frankenstein epitomizes gothic literature (and I believe it was one of the first).

Speaking both pedantically and tiresomely, I'd have to say that it was actually one of the later gothic novels, especially if one notes that there were really two flowerings of the genre - the first spanning the late 18th Century and early 19th and the second the mid-to-late 19th. Frankenstein was written in 1818, if memory serves, which was a full half-century after the genre was invented by Horace Walpole in The Castle of Otranto (1764). Mary Shelley's work was unique in that it deviated from the standard Gothic motifs, i.e. plucky (if useless) heroines being troubled by a dark legacy as found within a labyrinthine castle or estate, while an anti-hero wanders around dolefully bemoaning his lot and plotting. Polidori, Byron, Percy Shelley, Beckford, Lewis, Radcliffe, etc., had already experimented with and enhanced the genre. After this, however, the appeal of gothic literature diminished slightly until it was revived in the more romantic styles of Le Fanu, the Brontes, and Gaskell; this final flowering arguably ended with the profoundly different styles of James and Wilde.

That said, Frankenstein is by and away the most popular gothic novel, although either Otranto, which originated not only the style but most of the standard motifs, or The Monk would be likelier candidates for the "epitomy of gothic literature".
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