The Romantic Period in English literature began in the late 1700s. Romanticism focuses on the emotional side of human nature, individualism, and the beauty of the natural world.
Romantic literature explores the intense beauty of nature and Romantic poets invest natural events with a divine presence. In nature, the Romantics find inspiration for their poetry, wisdom and happiness. They were living and writing at the time of the Industrial Revolution so the Romantics wanted to remind everyone the importance of nature.
Romantic movement was against industrialization and mechanization. The Romantic period included the work of two generations of writers. The chief writers of the first generation were Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Blake.
Shelley belonged to the second generation. He was influenced by the work of the writers of the first generation. The Romantics did not actually identify themselves as such. It was later Victorian critics who first used the term to describe the previous generations of writers. Among all literary genres during the Romantic period, poetry was considered the most important. In this essay, we will examine the concept of sublime, beauty and nature by giving examples from the poems of the Romantics.
First of all, the sublime is a concept in Romantic poetry that applies to the description of nature. The British Philosopher Edmund Burke describes the sublime as “feelings of awe mixed with terror.” As we can understand, the sublime captured the inspiration and terror of true power. Percy Bysshe Shelley was a Romantic poet whose understanding of the sublime was quite dark because he exposed man’s lack of power when he faced with the might of nature. Like the other Romantics, he loved to experience and write about nature. Much of Shelley’s poetry takes the wonders of nature as its subject. He wrote “Mont Blanc” and he gives the reader a great description of a ‘sublime’ experience.
Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps. When he wrote the poem, he was travelling through the region. The sublime is described in a way that highlights man’s place in the world as recognising his own frailty. Since nature was a key theme of the Romantics, it should be possible that the poem as fixated on a young man’s thoughts of nature. The sublime is about the interaction between the mind and the external environment. He says “dizzy ravine” in his poem Mont Blanc.
When we look at the poem, we could see the interaction easily. Secondly, During the 18th century, aestheticians found in nature an ideal object of aesthetic experience. Romantic thinkers saw nature as the perfect setting for their ideas and beliefs. William Wordsworth used the word Nature to symbolize the inexplicable over soul which human heart yearn to know. He is a “worshipper of Nature” meaning nature’s high priest.
According to Wordsworth nature gives joy to the human heart. He says ” Nature did never betray the heart that loved her.” When we look at his poem “Daffodils”, we sense that the speaker is all alone.
When he sees a big group of daffodils waving in the breeze, he feels the joy in his heart. In my opinion, the daffodils are personified as a crowd of people and this personification will continue throughout the poem. Also, the speaker says that a poet could not help but be happy in such a joyful company of flowers.
The plot depicts the poet’s wandering and his discovery of a field of daffodils by a lake and nature is portrayed as a subject of joy and harmony. Thirdly, aesthetic refers to a theory concerning beauty and art. Art is an expression of our thoughts, emotions, and desires. It is about sharing the way we experience the world.
Beauty is a measure of affect and a measure of emotion. The difference between art and beauty is that art is about who has produced it, beauty depends on who is looking. Samuel Taylor Coleridge is the constant companion of William Wordsworth. When we look at his poem “Lines to a Beautiful Spring in a Village”, we see that there are several metaphors in the poem. He says “With one fresh garland of Pierian flowers”. There is a mythological reference to the Pierian spring which was considered sacred to the Muses.
In the poem we see that the speaker feels restful as he walks with ‘slow foot’ by the streams and also he calls the happy days of childhood. In addition, William Blake was an English poet, painter and printmaker. His poem “The Lamb” focuses on the deep and complex theme of the nature of creation. In conclusion, the main characteristics of Romantic literature include the emotions of the poets, the celebration of nature and the individual experience of sublime.
The sublime was so important to the Romantics because they loved nature and they believed that sublime transcended the rational. Shelley depicted the interaction between the mind and the external environment. Wordsworth tried to show the natural dignity and goodness and Coleridge described his thoughts and desires in his poem referring to the concept of art and beauty.