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Lecture

Romanticism: Wordsworth


Department
English
Course Code
ENG202Y1
Professor
Helen Hatton

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ENG202y1
Week 22 – Romanticism: Wordsworth + Coleridge
3/14/11
-philosophical + aesthetic movement flourished in Germany + England between 1780 –
1840: mode of vision + imagination (alternative to modernism or classicism)
-refers to self-described poetic revolutionaries who, in reaction to early 18th c
neoclassicism + rationality, celebrates origins of human creativity in individual
imagination, inspired by memories of childhood + experiences of transcendence in
nature.
-suspicious of society + rejects pursuit of health + status, Romantics valued the
authenticity of socially marginal
-breakdown of medieval preconceptions -> individual = source of meaning, knowledge,
art, not God
-imagines how society would look outside of it -> eg. Paintings of London in ruins
Rousseau
-belief in state of nature
-politics should reflect the bringing-together of everyone’s individual will -> General
Will
-> Robespierre uses it to justify the Reign of Terror
-Declaration of Independence
-Immanuel Kant: What is Enlightenment?
-when human beingsgrow up” -> when they stop looking for authority, truth, etc. in
other ppl, and look to themselves instead
-“sapere aude -> “have courage to use your own understanding”
French Revolution
-it’s often said that early romantics (eg. Wordsworth + Coleridge) began idealistically,
then after being disillusioned with French Revolution, turned back to political
conservatism; while the second generation Romantics (Shelley, Keats) kept their
idealistic values bc never really experienced disillusionment
-however, there is always diversity in their attitudes; the French Revolution DOES NOT
DETERMINE their actual thoughts
how have the times changed?
-life is no longer shaped by the church (baptism, marriage, death)
-hierarchy, natural way of things -> overturned by medicine, sciences, new cosmology,
etc.
-time + space abstracted into matter that can be bought, sold, commodities
-> eg. Business -> pay $$ for 10 hours of work; loss of Sabbath Day, significance
of special days
www.notesolution.com
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