Interest of Romantic Poets in Nature | Return to Nature in English literature


Interest of Romantic Poets in Nature | Return to Nature in English literature


The transitional periods of literature are like a high plateau to which we ascend as by a long and gradual slope through the literature of the previous period and from which we descend abruptly again to the literature of the period that follows. The Age of Johnson is one of such period from which emerges the great Romantic Period in the history of English Literature. Thus, the Age of Johnson witnessed the new order of Romanticism, leaving behind the old classicism. This shift from the old to new was the result of many forces different movements.

Most acclaimed Romantic Poets in English literature

The renewed zeal in Romantic poetry was not a sudden outburst of the 19th century literature - after the social , intellectual , satirical and critical poetry of the Age of Pope , the romantic notes had a faint beginning in the later half of the 18th century . Thus, this great period of English poetry started formally with "LYRICAL BALLADS" , a joint work by two young poets, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge , in 1798, and witnessed a brief flowering period between 1776 to 1837 in the hands of Wordsworth , Coleridge, William Blake , Lord Byron , Percy B Shelley and John Keats. Women poets like Felicia Hemans, Charlotte Smith , Mary Tighe and Letitia Landon also had authorship of poetry on female experiences.

Interest of Romantic Poets in Nature | Return to Nature in English literature

Romanticism can be distinguished by certain prominent characteristics reflected in the literary creations of this period . It is manifested in the English poetry of the first half of the 19th century in some distinct features and forms. These distinctive characteristics of Romanticism includes emotional and imaginative spontaneity, importance of self - expression and individual feeling , religious response to Nature, imagination as a positive and creative faculty , romanticising the 'ordinary' as fit subjects of poetry and a sense of wonder for the supernatural elements of life.

Among the various characteristics o Romantic poetry 'Nature' remained the  most important one as love for nature was the essence of literature of that period . Thus, the poet of this great age were the mighty makers of the great tradition of nature poetry in English , but they were not merely the ignorant , thoughtless lovers of nature . Their approach to the world of nature seemed quite meaningful and philosophically inspired.

In the conception of romantic poets , nature is not something lifeless or inanimate, but a living , mighty and majestic force that doesn't live like 'ordinary men'. ' THE PRELUDE ' , Wordsworth's poetic autobiography , contains his vision of this mighty and living aspect of nature,
                                     'But huge and mighty forms,
                                                          that doesn't live
                                        Like living men'.
This mystical vision is the mysticism of romantic poetry. Poets like Wordsworth and Shelley philosophize and sublimate nature and invest her with a life and a motion.

Love of Nature in Romantic poetry, in fact , has a spontaneous flow to the love of Man . The philosophy of romantic poetry assimilates nature and man and constructs a spiritual relation between them.

Romantic poetry is essentially imaginative . This is much perceived in the unique way in which the simple objects are presented and treated with an extraordinary zeal and far- reaching visions . Even common birds are turned into the very ideals of life and the meanest flowers seems to supply thoughts which 'lie too deep for tears'.

Mysticism in the imagination also marked the presence of supernatural elements of life in romantic poetry. Poets like Coleridge and Keats depicted the mysterious unknown world, that lives on the other side of life, in their creations. This is well manifested in Coleridge's "CHRISTABEL" , "THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER" and "KUBLA KHAN".

Significance of Romantic Age in English literature

In the realm of this great period of poetry the romantic poets stands out more than a poet - they are preachers and prophets , philosophers and reformers. It is under their creative genius that poetry got a renewed form with speculative and humanistic elements.

The romantic age is the age of poetry. The new approach to poetry in this age was never conceived  before , and bears out distinctly the romantic carving for wonders , beauty and love to get emancipated from the material reality of the world.

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