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Romanticism Essay

1173 words - 5 pages

A collection of essays entitled Revolutionary Romanticism is planned for publication. Submit an essay that argues that particular texts illuminate aspects of this title in a though-provoking way.
In your argument refer closely to TWO of your prescribed texts and other texts of your own choosing
Romanticism developed during the late 17th century in Europe, at a time in history when people were beginning to question society and their place within the world. The French and American revolutions represented a universal atmosphere of social tumult in which previously accepted social and political structures were becoming increasingly challenged. The French Revolution was influenced by ...view middle of the document...

This greatly contrasted against the romantics’ desire to exploring deep emotion within the individual above society and community.
The paintings subject of classical Rome contrasts against Coleridge’s exploration of an ancient, exotic, Chinese dynasty in his Kubla Kahn. The romantics were interested in “Faraway lands” and the visual images of “caverns measureless to man” connect the power of the sublime and man’s inability to comprehend it whilst simultaneously emphasising the importance of the unknown. By emphasizing the way in which the caverns are incomprehensible to man, the importance of the existence of the unknown is highlighted, undermining man’s understanding and significance within the natural world. This idea contrasts the beliefs in the enlightenment era; that man and reason are the centre of the universe, as asserted by Christian and ideals developed by industrialization. The poet's search for the forever unattainable perfection and completion in art is epitomised the paradox of the “Sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!” Should the poet achieve perfection, he would become a figure no longer fit for the imperfect world of men - and so he would be feared and revered as represented in the repetition of "And all should cry beware beware!". This is contrasted against the painting of Agrippina in that the painting does not aim to achieve the perfection of the sublime, but rather uses a methodical painting subject and image to “instruct” moral code. Also contrasted to the poem, is the depiction of the inspired poet as a lonely figure against the social cohesion depicted the Agrippina painting.

The emphasis on spirituality within nature and individualism over the organised religion of Christianity was a reflection of Keat’s loss of religious faith. This reflected the revolutionary atmosphere in which people were beginning to question traditional religious doctrines against the Christianity of the enlightenment era. The structure of the “Ode” In Keat’s poem “Ode to a nightingale” presents intimate thoughts and feelings through musical resonances emphasising the imagination and focus on the individual’s ability to achieve a height of spirituality unfulfilled by religion. This structure captures the tension between escape, oblivion or death, reaffirming life as being filled with sensuous pleasure and beauty. The Nightingale’s song is symbolic of nature and imagination as being antidotes to inevitable stultifying nature of the suffering of existence. The power of the imagination to recognise human suffering is evident through the heavy poetic beat “The weariness, the fever, and the fret”, reiterating his pessimistic perspective of reality....

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