During the Romantic period, poetry became one of the most vital forms of literary expression. The poetry of Romanticism signalled a profound change in sensibility. Politically speaking, it was influenced by the revolutions which took place in America and in France. The main characteristics of Romanticism are intensity and imagination. These themes recur in Romantic writings and include the tension between innocence and experience, country and city, youth and age, man and nature, language and expression. We generally divide the Romantic poets into two groups: the first generation and the the second generation.
The first generation: Blake, Coleridge and Wordsworth.
They wrote much of their work around the time of the French Revolution.
Characteristics of Romanticism.
e the characteristics of the Romantic poets to those of the Augustan poets who came before them:
Augustan: importance of reason and order; control of emotion and imagination, rational thinking; children must be disciplined to conform with the dictates of society; sophisticated and artificial language; classical themes and allusions. Romantic: importance of feelings and intuition; free play of imagination, poetic vision; children are sacred, being the closest creatures to God; language more typical of common usage; heightened observation of nature and everyday situations.
The second generation: Byron, Shelley and Keats.
They were all quite different from one another, both in terms of aesthetic style and in their preoccupations.
The poem, written by William Blake, belongs to the collection the "Songs of Innocence".
The poem consists of 2 stanzas which are related to each other, because the first is a question about the creation, while the second is the answer. The theme of the poem is the identity of the creator of the lamb and the poet speaks directly with the animal, and he presents various actions of the lamb. The first stanza opens with 2 questions: Blake asks the lamb if it knows who made it but it isn't the lamb which answers, the poet himself does it. The lamb is described as the animal of innocence, like the creature in which there are no troubles, no tensions. The lamb could stand both as a real animal as a symbol, in fact some natural details make you think of the real animal. So the lamb is the symbol of God's innocence and God's love for his creatures. In the second stanza the poet says that the creator is the lamb because he's sweet and innocent and he's a little child (Jesus). The poet uses a simple language, lexis and syntax.
The poem, written by William Blake, belongs to the collection the "Song of Experience".
The tyger, which expresses the idea of absolute evil better, is usually associated with "The lamb" which expressed the idea of absoluted good. In really, for Blake, absolute evil and absolute good don't exist alone, but together; they co-exist in man's soul and is the man who can decide to follow goodness or evil. The tiger is divided into six stanzas and the first and the last ones are equal, and the only difference is the word "could" which change in "dare". The rhytm is not sweet like in the lamb, but hammering and speedy. Blake gives both positive or negative connotation of the tyger: it is violent and bad, but also beautiful, full of energy, elegant. The tyger's terror may also contain innocence. Some critics have seen this "innocent terror" as a symbol of the French Revolution and all the revolutions in general, which contain a spontaneous childlike energy but which can be very destructive as well.
I WANDERED LONELY AS A CLOUD
The poem, written by William Wordsworth, was inspired by the sight of a field full of golden daffodils waving in the wind. The key of the poem is joy, as we can see from the many words which express pleasure and delight: in fact the daffodils are golden, waving in a sprightly dance and outdoing the waves in glee. The flowers are set in a natural environment made up of land, air and water. All nature appears wonderfully alive and happy in fact the cloud is floating on the high; the stars are shining and twinkling, the waves dancing and sparkling in glee. The daffodils, too, are not static like in a painting, but alive with motion. Yet Wordsworth is not interested in the flowers as such, but in the way they effect him; that is from the inner to deter worlds and viceverse. The sight of the flowers brings the poet delight but he doesn't realize that at the moment but only later, when memory brings back the scene. It is clear that the daffodils have a metaphorical meaning. They may represent the voice of nature, which is scarcely audible except in solitude.
SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE
THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER,
written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, tells the story of a mariner who commits the crime of killing an albatross and of his subsequent punishment. The story is told by the mariner himself who finds himself at a wedding feast and begins recounting his sad story to one of the guests. The mariner survival does not mark the end of his punishment, but is only its beginning. He must bear the burden of guilt for the rest of his days. One of the interesting aspects of the poem is that the mariner's motives for killing the albatross remain a mystery. In this poem there are supernatural elements like in the medieval ballad. The poem creates a universe where realistic and supernatural events coexist. The landscape is portrayed in a mysterious dream-like way and is populated not only by the albatross but also by horrible sea-monsters which surround the ship after the bird's death. The presence of spirits and angels also contribute to create a strange, almost magical atmosphere. The language used by Coleridge is characterized by a frequent use of sound effects, internal rhymes, similes, alliteration and personifications. The mariner means that the only way to love God is to love all the creatures and things created by God.
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
Sense and Sensibility has two heroines, sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, and, after their fathers dies, they are forced with their mother and younger sister to live on the charity of their insensitive half-brother John and his selfish (egoista) wife, who don't want to give them a penny. Elinor has become attracted to John Dashwood's brother, Edward Ferrars, a young man in whom she sees qualities that nobody else perceives. But Ferrars, attracted to her, remains distant in his relations with her.
In the country, Marianne meets the handsome but penniless John Willoughby, with whom she falls desperately in love. Soon she discovers that he has become engaged to a rich heiress (erede) , and falls into despair. Meanwhile (nel frattempo) Elinor discovers from a young woman, Lucy Steele, that Edward has been secretly engaged to her for the past four years. But unlike Marianne, Elinor conceals her grief (nasconde il suo dolore). However (cmq) , Elinor's fortunes soon turnes around when Lucy leaves Edward for his richer brother Robert. Freed from his engagement to Lucy, Edward proposes to Elinor who joyfully accepts. Marianne, meanwhile, after recovering (dopo la guarigione) from her disappointment with Willoughby, accepts the proposal of Colonel Brandon, an old friend of the family who has long been in love with her, and with whom Marianne begins to sense an affinity after learning (aver imparato) of his own past disappointments (delusione) in love.