British Romantic Poetry: Poets

william blake
1757-1827

william blake
– oldest poet, but outlived Keats, Shelley, and Byron.
– relatively unknown due to his radical ideas and elevated writing styles
– based on poetry on his study of the bible
– an artist
– saw visions and spirits
– wrote Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience
– believed that man had a good side and a bad side
– does not use metaphors but symbols
– thought to be the transition from Neoclassical to Romantic
– wrote of the downtrodden and forgotten

william wordsworth
1770-1850

william wordsworth
– most influential of the Romantics
– grew up in the Lake region of England (where have we head this: Pride and Prejudice)
– rejected materialism (similar to 1960s)
– saw nature as a “religion” – greater understanding
– travelled all around Europe offering a first hand view of the revolutions occurring
– lived with Coleridge as roommates
– named poet laureate in 1843
– used common language
– gave charm and newness to the everyday
– offered insight into the beauty of things
– people are “born free and everywhere in chains”

samuel taylor coleridge
1772-1834

(samuel taylor) coleridge
– wrote literary criticism, social thought, philosophy, and theology
– voracious reader especially fantasy
– planned on moving to America to form a Utopia
– opium addict – often mentioned in his poetry
– vague line between reality and dreams
– used blank verse to express his ideas
– good friends with Wordsworth
– power of imagination- shapes reality
– magical blend of thought and emotion

george gordon (Lord Byron)
1788-1824

(george gordon) Lord Byron
– most admired and best known-very handsome and charming
– Byronic Hero- melancholy man of great and noble principles, with great courage of his convictions, and haunted by some secret past sin
– traveled all over the Mediterranean with many love affairs
– illicit love, idyllic love, sexual repression, sexual decadence, thwarted love, marriage
– lived in excess
– joined the Greek War of Independence
– nature vs. civilization
– reason more than in emotion
– wit and satire than sentiment

percy bysshe shelley
1792-1822

percy (bysshe shelley)
– “the perfect” Romantic- quest for truth, love of learning, interest in many things, variety of poetry
– restless and brooding
– rebellion against authority
– his characteristics were nature, the power of imagination, the pursuit of ideal love, and the untamed spirit ever in search of freedom
– expelled from Oxford for writing an Atheist pamphlet
– left 1st wife to marry Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin
– traveled around with Lord Byron
– drowned in a yachting accident

john keats
1795-1821

john keats
– the youngest Romantic
– wrote poetry at a very early age
– studied Greek mythology
– apprenticed to a surgeon
– had a humorous side despite his ill health
– died of tuberculosis

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