English Romantic Poets: Poetry the dominant literary form during this period
William Wordsworth/Coleridge – launched the Romantic Era (in older years sank into conservatism and complacency)
Romantic Era: Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of emotions. It takes its origins from emotions recollected in tranquility. Emphasis on emotions was central to this era.
Characteristics of Wordsworth’s Romantic Poetry
- Simple ideals
- Reverence for nature (frequently described as a nature poet) Romantic poets view of natural – not to be tamed and analyzed scientifically (wild, free force that could inspire poets to spiritual understanding. “Nature” poems natural scenes serve as a stimulus to the most characteristic human activity – thinking. (Meditative poems – scene usually serves to raise an emotional problem or personal crisis).
- Intensity of feeling (younger years)
- Romantic poems, permeate the landscape with human life, passion, expressiveness.
- Grew up in rustic society 4/7/1770
- Played outdoors in what he remembered as pure communion with nature.
- Troubled by Rationalism, Industrialism, and the French Revolution. (This clashed with a softer more emotional side).
- This caused a revolution in English literature – formulated his own understanding of the world and human mind.
- Stressed importance of childhood in adult psyche (from childhood some memory of the former purity and glory in which they live remains in adulthood – this is best perceived in the solemn and joyous relationship between child and nature.)
III. Wordsworth’s Style
- Plain spoken
- Easy to understand
- Images/metaphors mixed with natural scenery
- Religious symbolism
- Relics of Wordsworth’s rustic childhood
- Heart-felt emotions
- Iambic pentameter (sonnets), iambic tetrameter, and iambic trimester with varying rhyme schemes.
IV. Poetic Forms used by Wordsworth
- Lyric Poetry – expresses a great range of speaker’s personal thoughts or feelings (elegy-ode-sonnet are all lyric forms). Originally sung by the accompaniment of a lyre.
- Lyrical Ballads – story told in verse usually meant to be sung. First published in 1708 (1800-1802 different editions written). Unlike anything before it. Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of emotion. Changed the course of English poetry.
- wrote in simple language of the common people rather than lofty and elaborate diction.
- telling concrete stories of their lives
- emphasis on feeling, simplicity, and the pleasure of beauty over rhetoric ornament
- poetry should access emotions constrained in memory
- feeling and instinct above formality and mannerism
- incorporated human passions with the beautiful and permanent forms of nature.
- Sonnets (Petrachan) Francesco Petrarch (Italian) – 300 poems to a woman named Laura.
- 4 line lyric poem usually written in rhymed iambic pentameter (lines of 10 syllables with a stress on every other syllable). Shakespeare also used this technique.
- Petrarchan: originated in Italy in the 13thcentury.
– 2 parts: (octave) – 1st eight lines
(sestet) – last six lines
– rhymed abba
– 2 parts play off each other
- octave sometimes raises a question and sestet answers
- octave comments/sestet opposes or extends comment.
- Usually express a single theme or idea.
|Other feet||Other meters|
|1 = mono||U/ – iambic|
|2 = di||/U – trochaic|
|3 = tri||UU/ – anapestic|
|4 = tetra||/UU – dactylic|
|5 = pent|
|6 = hex|
|7 = hept|
|8 = oct|