ROMANTIC SCHOOL OF POETRY: DR. HARESHWAR ROY





The period of 1780-1837 is known as the Age of Romanticism or Romantic Revival. It is often called the golden period of English poetry. Wordsworth can be safely called forerunner of this epoch-making period.

Romantic Revival means the re-birth of Romanticism in English poetry. During the 18th century the classical school of poetry had been predominant. Thompson, Blake and Gray re-acted against the classical school. All these poets tried to rise above the fixed literary conventions and artificial laws. They upheld that the poet should write as he pleases. He should allow his fancy to roam. The French Revolution influenced poets like Wordsworth and Coleridge. They gave a deathblow to classicism by publishing Lyrical Ballads in 1798. This book was the official manifesto of the new poetry - The Romantic School of Poetry. Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Byron, and Coleridge are the important poets of this school. Romantic poets asserted their individuality in their poetry. Wonder was revived. Nature and Super-naturalism were brought into poetry. Lyricism came to the forefront. The humbler aspects of life were treated sympathetically. New and untried meters were used. They wrote the poetry of emotion or of imagination.

Romantic Poetry reveals the following characteristics:



[1] Love of Nature: All the Romantic poets were lover of Nature. They minutely observed it. They discovered a new beauty and wonder in the world of Nature. They tried to spiritualise it.

[2] Mystery: In Romantic poetry the subtle sense of mystery is found. Coleridge described the feeling of wonder and mystery of supernatural. Wordsworth revealed the inherent mystery in the common objects of Nature and human life. Shelley spiritualised nature.



[3] Interest in the Past and Childhood: The Romantics had interest in the past and childhood. They went back especially to the Middle Ages. Byron presented the romance and enchantment of the East. Wordsworth showed interest in Childhood.

[4] Interest in Humanity: The Romantics took great interest in humanity. They dealt with the lives of common men and women. They showed sympathy for the poor and the downtrodden. The ideals of the French Revolution attracted them. Thus all the Romantic poets were humanists.

[5] Love Of Imagination: Imagination is the cardinal characteristic of Romanticism. In fact, all the Romantic poets were fond of imagination. Romanticism is the expression of sharpened sensibilities and heightened imaginative feeling. To the Romantic poets poetry was the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. Fondness for new meters and simplicity of style are also important features of this poetry.

The following are the important Romantic poets:

[1Wordsworth: Lyrical Ballads, The Prelude and The Tintern Abbey are his important works. He was a worshiper of Nature. He moralised and spiritualised it. He was fond of humanism, childhood, lyricism and simple style.



[2] Coleridge: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Christable and Kubla Khan are his best works. In his works we find supernatural, wonder and horror. He loved the simplicity of poetic diction.

[3 Shelley: He is known for his Queen Mab, Prometheus Unbound, and his Odes. He is an incomparable lyricist, an ardent lover of liberty. He is a passionate believer in Nature and a devoted admirer of Greek Myth, Art and Culture. He dreams of a new world, which would be dominated by love and liberty.

 [4] Keats: Keats is popular for his Hyperion, Endymion, Isabella, Lamia, The Eve of St. Agnes and his Odes. His Romanticism lies in his cult of beauty and spontaneity. According to him Beauty is Truth and Truth Beauty. He was fond of imagination, Hellenism and Medieval-ism.


 [5] Byron: He is remembered for his Don Juan. He is called Romantic because of his lyricism. He is an ardent worshiper of liberty.

 Thus Romantic School of Poetry is the most important school in the history of English poetry. It changed the current of poetry. The contribution of this school is memorable.


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