Survey of English Literature: Elizabethan-Victorian Period

Romantic era is a time when movement of intellectual and artistic was happened in the 18th century within Europe. It relates to histrionics, sculpture, fine arts, minstrelsy, and other kinds of art which were developed. The movement as I mentioned above is a form of disagreement against industrialization.

Romanticism’s characteristic is natural. The language in that era using daily language because it has no gap between the subject and object in conversation (it also refers to the literature work). The creation of it should be from “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”[1]. It sets out the feeling, not the logic and different from the former era which is Neoclassicism. Daily life played a main role because it is essential, pure, and basic. Romantic is also identical with irrational, anti-industrialization, and non-sense. A lot of things refer to experience in the past because people in that time thought past equal to ideal.

The moment of French Revolution had connection with what was happened in Romantic era as external factor. Meanwhile, the changing of social, economics, science, and historical life affected it from the inside. Within the society, the cities were developing as those became the centre of economy and merchant, so many people moved from rural to downtown; then the bourgeois emerged.

This phenomenon was reputed as bad effect in Romantic era. The former era really glorified the rationalism, science, logic, and the nature absent. These are contrary of Romantic era which praised the self as individual creature and the presence of physically and emotionally activities existed. Furthermore, Industrialization had many other bad influences such as the social order of society was changing a lot that effected children as worker, the ignorance to women, and British imperialism. The feelings, emotions, and imaginations were restricted along the industrialization. That is why Romantic era appeared as the response of it.

Gothic is a term for the art style that emerged in northern Europe in the middle Ages and the early 19th century. It is a literary style that used northern European medieval settings to suggest horror and mystery.[2] Gothic also appeared in Romanticism because it represented another side of emotional as emotional is identical to Romantic. Firstly the happy feelings and sensation of nature were the underlie things of Romanticism but it turned up into another feelings such as sadness, sorrow, lust, anxiety, and other. Those were represented through Gothic. Gothic is also considered as combination of rational and irrational; there are horror, ghost, and supernatural thing within which related to natural[3]. These are the evidences that Gothic is the part of non-static Romanticism. The exploration to new area and things was developing in that era. Then it influenced the writer and their literary works. The curiosity, prejudice, and mystery as results of new explorations occurred exotic impression. This theme was brought up into literary works and labelled as exoticism which contained of experiences to the past (influence of colonial), future (outside the self), and present (travelling).

The issue underlying his Preface to the Second Edition of Lyrical Ballads is the relation between the poem and the reader also the poem and the poet. This is important as the basic of poetry. The poet must be a man speaking to men[4] in creating the work. Using daily language so the reader would understand easily and there is no gap between. Daily language also describes very natural feelings in writing. As the result, the poem would be spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings to put aside the logic and prioritized the feelings. The poem should be written from the poet’s physically and emotionally experiences so that the poem is really showing the authenticity; and the readers could really get into the poem as if they experience it by their selves.

Works Cited

Budhyono, R. (2011). Isu-Isu dalam Kesusastraan Jaman Viktoria.

Budhyono, R., & Zulkarnain, I. Perkembangan Kesusastraan Inggris: Jaman Anglo-Saxon hingga Jaman Victoria.

Wordsworth, W. (1800). Preface to Lyrical Ballads.


[1] Preface to the Second Edition of Lyrical Ballad by Wordsworth

[3] William Blake

[4] Wordsworth’s Preface to the Second Edition of Lyrical Ballad

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