Romanticismo inglese e autori: Wordsworth, Coleridge e Byron

Romanticismo inglese: le principali caratteristiche della poesia romantica, breve accenni alla vita e alla poetica degli autori romantici, William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge e Lord Byron (4 pagine formato doc)

Appunto di kikkathebest92


Romantic Poetry.

The English Romanticism saw the prevalence of poetry which best suited the need to give expression to emotional experience and individual feeling. At the end of 18th century there had been an increase of the power of imagination that it take a primary role in the poetic composition of Romanticism. The imagination allow to the romantic poets to see beyond surface reality and apprehend a truth beyond the power of reason and it allowed the poet to recreate and modify the external world experience. The poet became a “visionary prophet”.
The poet appreciate the natural world and describe a lot of natural elements
The poet must:
-    mediate nature and man,
-    to point out the evils of society
-    give voice to the ideals of beauty, truth and freedom
Some features of Romantic Poems are:
-    The first person
-    The presentation of nature as a living force
-    The use of language of sense impressions because  the senses were instrument to set the visionary power in action
-    The freedom from models and rules as regards poetic technique
-    The search for a new individual style through the choice of a language and subject suitable to poetry
-    The return to past forms such as the ballad, sonnet and lyric poems.
-    The use of symbols and images


The great English Romantic poets we can divided in two groups: the first generation (the lake poets)  as Wordsworth  and Coleridge, and the second generation as Byron and Shelley and Keats

Romanticismo inglese: autori


William Wordsworth. William Wordsworth was born in Cumberland in the English Lake District near the Scottish border where he spent his childhood and most of his adult life. He was educate at St John’s College and he went on a walking tour of France and the Alps. His contact with revolutionary France  filled him with enthusiasm for the democratic ideals. When he returned to France he fell in love with Annette Vallon who bore him a daughter Caroline. The destructive developments of the revolution , and the war between France and England brought him to the edge of nervous  breakdown. The disillusionment of these years were healed by contact with nature. After he moved to Somerset to e near Coleridge and with him, they produced a collection of poems called Lyrical Ballads. In the second edition it contained Wordsworth’s famous preface  which was to become the manifesto of English romanticism. In the following years he wrote some oh his best poems such as his masterpiece The Prelude that was a autobiographical poem in 14 books. The last years of his life were marked by the growing conservatism of his political views and the decline of his creative powers. He dead in 1850.
The Manifesto of English Romanticism. While planning the Lyrical Ballads with Coleridge, Wordsworth would write about the beauty of nature and ordinary things with the aim to interest the reader. Coleridge, instead, deal the supernatural and mystery. Wordsworth did not want to write following the standards of 18th-century poetry. His strongest objection to it was its artificial, elevated language which called ‘ poetic diction’. In his Preface stated what the subject matter and the language of poetry should be. Poetry should deal with everyday situations or incidents and with ordinary people. The language should be simple, the objects mentioned homely and called by their ordinary names.
The importance of senses and of memory. Nature means the world of sense perceptions. Wordsworth exploited above all sensibility of the eye and ear through he could perceive both the beauteous forms of nature and the sounds or the silence. Wordsworth was influenced by Hartley. He said the our moral character develops during childhood as a result of the pleasure and pain caused by our physical experience. Sensation lead (porta) to simple thoughts which later combine into complex and organise ideas. In fact, Wordsworth was most interested in the growth of his relationship with nature. Memory is a major force in the process of growth of the poet's mind and moral character and this allows Wordsworth to give poetry its life and power
Recollection in tranquillity. All  poetry takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity so that what we read in the poem results from active, vital relationship of present to past experience. Through the re-creative power of memory the emoticon is reproduced and purified in poetic form so that a second emoticon, kindred for the first one is generated.
The poet’s task and his style. The poet has greater sensibility and the ability to penetrate the heart of things. The imagination enables him to communicate with his knowledge, so he becomes a teacher who shows men how to understand  their feelings and improve their moral being. His task consists in drawing attention to the ordinary things of life to the humblest people.
Man and natural world. Wordsworth is interested in the relationship between the nature world and human consciousness. His poetry offers detailed account of complex interaction between man and nature, of the influences, insights, emotions and sensations from this contact. In the description of natural object  the main focus is the poet’s response to the objet and one of the most important concepts is the idea that man and nature are inseparable because man not exists outside the natural world but as an active participant in it. So nature includes both inanimate and human nature. Nature comforts man in sorrow, it teaches man to love and to act in a moral way, it is the seat of the spirit of the universe.


Samuel Coleridge. Coleridge was born in Devonshire in 1772. At the age of 10 he was sent to christ’s hospital school in London and after he went to Cambridge where he never graduated. He was influenced by French revolutionary ideals which made him an enthusiastic republican. After the disillusionment of French Revolution he planned to establish a utopian community called Pantisocracy but this project came to nothing in the end. He suffered from chronic rheumatism and doctor prescribed opium to ease bodily pain and this developed a growing addiction to the drug. In 1797 he met Wordsworth that he had an important collaboration with him. Most of his best poetry is :
- The Rime of Ancient Mariner  that was his masterpiece, that became the Manifesto of the English Romanticism movement
- Christabel that was unfinished poem set in Middle Ages about a young girl under a witch’s spell .
- Kubla Khan that was again unfinished. Supposedly composed under the influence of opium. Coleridge described this dream-like poem as psychological curiosity.
After his spent a period in Malta and when he returned to England and began a career lecturing on literary concerns and in journalism. He became also a Shakespearian criticism. Finally he produced Biographia Literaria, a classic test of literary criticism and autobiography. Here explained the dual task which he and Wordsworth had set themselves in the Lyrical Ballads. In contrast to Wordsworth he write about extraordinary events in a credible way. He died in 1834.
Imagination and Fancy. Coleridge stressed the role of imagination and assert the idea of this faculty as the sovereign creative power. There are primary and secondary imagination. He described primary imagination as a fusion of perception and the human individual power to produce images. It was also to give chaos a certain order, to give the material of perception a certain shape. Secondary imagination was the poetic faculty, which not only gave shape and order to a given world but built a new worlds.  Imagination was more important than fancy which was based on the power of association of material already provided and subject to rational law judgement. A practical example is The Rime of Ancient Mariner.
The ideal in the real. Coleridge did not view nature as a morale guide or a source of consolation . His contemplation of nature was always accompanied by awareness of the presence of the ideal in the real. His Christian faith did not allow him to identify nature with the divine, in that form of pantheism which Wordsworth adopted. He saw nature and material world as the projection of the real world ideas on the flux of time. So Coleridge believed that natural images carried abstract meaning and he used them in his most visionary poems
The supernatural atmosphere and the characters. the atmosphere of the whole poem is charged with irresistible mystery because of the combination of the supernatural and the real dream-like elements and astonishing visual realism
The Rime and traditional ballads. This poem contains many of features associated with the ballads as combination of dialogue and narration, four line stanza, the archaic language, rich in alliterations, repetitions and onomatopoeias, the theme of travel and wandering and supernatural elements.


George Byron. Byron descended form two aristocratic families. His poetry and life embodied the Romantic Spirit. He began to write at Trinity College and published Hours of Idleness, a small volume of lyric poems. After published English Bards and Scotch Reviewers  where he shower his taste for satire. In 1809 he went in Spain, Portugal, Malta, Albania, Greece and Middle East where he gathered the experiences originating the first two cantos of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage which was published in 1812. After he became a literary and social celebrity and published a series of verse narratives which suited the public, given their exotic settings  and the description of foreign customs.