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Romantic Writers Are Social Critics Essay

970 words - 4 pages

Shaneika Francis
Romantic writers are Social Critics
British Literature II

The romantic period, like all literary periods, is a reaction to what came before it. Unlike most literary periods, it was an almost complete rejection of the immediate preceding period. They rejected nearly every idea from the enlightenment/neoclassical writers and artists. Hence, the writers of this period were often social critics. Three authors whom fall into this category are William Wordsworth, William Blake, and Matthew Arnold. This period is believed to be the most drastic reaction in literary history.
Wordsworth's preface of 1800 has been recognized as the first text of English Romantic ...view middle of the document...

He is pleased by the tranquility that surrounds him but it also brings him sadness, "In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts / Bring sad thoughts to mind" (Wordsworth, 250). The very act of observing nature brings a sense of melancholy to the speaker. The purity of his natural environments serves only to show how man is abandoning a natural existence at an increasingly exponential rate.
According to many of Blake’s poems, he considers the world to be, “death-laden, filled with intimidating foes, deadly Tyger, and hypocritical smiles. For instance, in his work, “London”, Blake is describing a very corrupted society controlled by the power of materialism and the distinction between upper and working-class areas of society. In the first quatrain, the word “chartered” (Blake, 94), seems to connote the prominence of money to live every day in this ephemeral world, whereas everything is focused around money, richness and its value to reach anything. Despite the role that money has in the world and happiness because of its value, many people are dominated by sorrow and sadness. The verses “In every cry of every man” (Blake, 94) and “in every infant’s cry of fear” (Blake, 94) are examples of this fact. People are not happy. They are living in fear all the time, inside the dark of a society influenced by materialism. Human beings are losing the real sense of life. This poem is written from a very negative perspective where people who exist in a dark and oppressive world, suffering the consequences of corruption of those in positions of power. The problem is that they do not realize this is happening to them. For this reason, he is rejecting the idea of an ideological or perfect place to live and he wants people to be aware of the misery surrounding them. There are no wonderful streets, no pleasant people; just a world with a very...

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