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Romanticism: Wordsworth

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University of Toronto St. George
Helen Hatton

ENG202y1 Week 22 Romanticism: Wordsworth + Coleridge 31411 -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 18 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 everyones individual will -> General Will -> Robespierre uses it to justify the Reign of Terror -Declaration of Independence -Immanuel Kant: What is Enlightenment? -when human beings grow 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 -its 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
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