Romanticism and the French Revolution
Romanticism originated in the 2nd half of the 18th century at the same time as the French Revolution. Romanticism continued to grow in reaction to the effects of the social transformation caused by the Revolution. There are many signs of these effects of the French Revolution in various pieces of Romantic literature. By examining the influence of the French Revolution, one can determine that Romanticism arose as a reaction to the French Revolution. Instead of searching for rules governing nature and human beings, the romantics searched for a direct communication with nature and treated humans as unique individuals not subject to scientific rules.
The influence of the French Revolution
The French Revolution played a huge role in influencing Romantic writers. As the Revolution began to play out, the absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in only three years. This resulted in a complete transformation of society. A majority of the population was greatly in favor of this as the working class had been suffering oppression for many years. According to Albert Hancock, in his book The French Revolution and the English Poets: a study in historical criticism, “The French Revolution came, bringing with it the promise of a brighter day, the promise of regenerated man and regenerated earth. It was hailed with joy and acclamation by the oppressed, by the ardent lovers of humanity, by the poets, whose task it is to voice the human spirit.”
A common theme among some of the most widely known romantic poets is their acceptance and approval of the French Revolution. William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, and Percy Shelley all shared the same view of the French Revolution as it being the beginning of a change in the current ways of society and helping to better the lives of the oppressed. As the French Revolution changed the lives of virtually everyone in the nation and even continent...