- Published: November 21, 2022
- Updated: November 21, 2022
- University / College: University of East Anglia (UEA)
- Level: Undergraduate
- Language: English
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Romanticism and Romantic Period
The beginning of romantic period was marked by the publication of “ Lyrical Ballads” accredited to William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor in 1798. Romanticism is characterized by six major traits – imagination, nature, symbolism, individualism, exoticism and romantic arts. Numerous masterpieces were written during 1770-1870 that can be generalized on these traits, winning that century the name of “ romantic” period. Hence the authors of these articles are still celebrated as romantic writers.
Of the famous romantic writers, James F. Cooper is a renowned name for having written “ Tales for Fifteen”, an epic collection of two short stories. In his first short story titled “ Imagination”, the elements of romanticism are evident in the storyline. The story starts with relevance to symbolism when the two seemingly inseparable friends painfully part ways, promising to stay in touch. The nature and exoticism references are amply scattered in the story with descriptive details of the new and the old surroundings – the difference and preference for the central characters – Anna and Julia. The story concludes with the elements of individualism and imagination, when Julia breaks away from her indissoluble friendship with Anna as a lone survivor of her treachery, and recognizes her adjustment with her husband Charles and with her resolution of being in love “ with a man of straw” (Cooper). Cooper’s “ Tales for Fifteen” has ample evidences of romanticism embedded in the writing style.
Another romantic writer of the period, William C. Bryant is accredited with over a hundred poems. Being a poet, William C. Bryant’s pieces are laden with symbolism and nature references for beautifying regular occurrences. For example; “ There is no glory in star or blossom till looked upon by a loving eye; there is no fragrance in April breeze till breathed with joy as they wander by” (Bryant). This verse compares love with nature’s beauty, reducing the worth of the world in a mere individual. It reflects a symbolic and extreme love. This verse also reflects exoticism for the deep rooted feelings hidden between the words. William C. Bryant’s poems are undeniably loaded with romanticism, as evident in this excerpt.
Lastly, Nathaniel Hawthorne was also a romantic novelist of the era, accredited with numerous literatures. In his compilation, “ Passages from the American Notebooks of Nathaniel Hawthorne”, numerous incidences reflect romantic characteristics. As in the excerpt, “ Caresses, expressions of one sort or another, are necessary to the life of the affections as leaves are to the life of a tree. If they are wholly restrained, love will die at the roots” (Hawthorne 228). This quotation reflects symbolism, nature, imagination and exoticism. Symbolism from the perfect affectionate feelings portrayed, nature from love’s comparison with a tree, imagination from the author’s personal critique of love and exoticism for the deep and powerful emotions emanating from the words. It will not be wrong to state that Hawthorne was indeed a romantic author.
Romanticism originated in England and Germany, following the era of Neoclassicism. Romantic Movement also witnessed “ the Age of Revolutions”, consisting of the American and French Revolutions of the late eighteenth century. Romanticism possessed a revolutionary energy at the core, manipulating perceptions of the world into perfection and ultimate beauty. This era saw the recording of genuine works of art by romantic authors like James F. Cooper, William C. Bryant, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Walter Scott, Robert Burns, William Blake and numerous other intelligible writers. Not only this, contemporary romantic literature still exists, the romantic percepts having survived well through the twentieth century. Hence romanticism is a genre of writing cherished deeply during its era of birth and still respected for its strength and depth.
Cooper, James F. Tales for Fifteen. 1823. Scholars’ Facsimiles and Reprints. 1959. Print.
Bryant, William C. The Poetical works of William Cullen Bryant. 1894. Dr. Appleton and Company. 1903. Print.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Passages From American Notebooks. 1871. Kessinger Publishing. 2005. Print.
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