Early Romantic Poetry (1760-1789)
1. Augustan vs. Early Romantic poetry
1. Impersonal material
2. Loud noble eloquence
EARLY ROMANTIC POETRY
1. Subjective material
2. Lyrical experience of life
2. Main characteristics
* Poetry was essentially reflective.
* The experiences it dealt with were not presented for the sake of their immediate impact, but for the sake of generalized reflections.
* Early Romantic poets reacted to the social changes taking place in the country with a
re-evaluation of rural origins and a sense of melancholy and sadness.
3. Pastoral poetry
* Main representative:
William Cowper (1731-1800) with his main work The Task (1785).
“God made the country, man made the town”
* Celebrated and praised country life for its simplicity and domesticity, free from the corruption of urban life.
* Described landscape details and reflected upon them.
* Nature seen as a source of innocence and delight.
4. Nature poetry
1. James Thomson (1700-1748).
2. His treatment of nature broke with the neoclassic view.
Nature was seen in its physical, rather than abstract, details, no longer as static but in motion
The observation of nature included wild sceneries and led to reflections on the character of primitive man who was contrasted with civilized man.
5. Ossianic poetry
* James Macpherson (1736-1796) collected and published some of Ossian’s works in Fragments of Ancient Poetry (1760). The authenticity of the work was controversial.
* A cycle of poems by a legendary Irish warrior, called Ossian, who lived in the 3rd century.
* Wild, gloomy landscapes.
* Sense of melancholy and suffering produced by war or contrasted love.
6. Graveyard poetry
The most important work of this school was Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.
The vogue began with Edward Young (1683-1765) and his Night Thoughts on Life, Death,...