• respect for classicism
• distrust of radical innovation
• craft of writing, art for humanity's sake - neoclassical humanism
• Included : The Restoration, Augustan Age, & Age of Sensibility
• The Rape of Lock (Pre-Romantic)
- satire to change how the artists behave
- Broken into cantos, classicized form
- satire of Greek/Roman epics
- rhyming completely (Heroic)
- Invocation to Muse
• The lover : A Ballad (Pre-Romantic)
- nauseating description of cultured devices of women & men
• Sensibility & Sublime (Pre-Romantic)
- Eulogy written in a country churchyard (1751)
- people's kindness and heroes remembered
-Death as a subject
-people's lives remembered
- ABAB rhyme scheme
Age of Sensibility
• the last part of the Neoclassical Period
• new attitudes away from correctness, and judgement and toward instinct and feeling
• exaltation of original genius
• poetry of the sublime
• an awakening interest in ballads and folk literature
• a greater sympathy for the Middle Ages
• the development of a "literature of sensibility" (novels and plays expressing the belief that love and sympathy were innately human)
The Romantic Period
• belief in "poet-prophet"
• trust in "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings"
• dissatisfied with well-achieved mediocrity of neoclassical style
• distrust in forced and aritificial composition of poetry
• human experiences through natural phenomenon filter
• an attempt to reach the zenith of human achievement
• marked by outbreak of French Revolution
• sees self as seer, profit (Romantics)
• Poets should be in touch with destitute emotions & deep emotions (psychosexualized)
• people need to sublimate desires, pushed away from consciousness, but poets should access
• poetry as vehicle - convey deep psychosexualized experiences/emotions
• seeing beauty in grotesque, convalesce
• flowery writing - ornate, fancy, descriptive
•but less ornate than Neoclassical, not as classical , more prosaic (ordinary),
• Don't need Church, God, can encounter divine in Nature, spiritual sense of nature
• seen as both Pre-romantic & Romantic poet (1770-1850)
• picturesque farmer, or rundown cottage
-tried to speak to common folk, almost demeaning in a way
• "I wandered Lonely as a Cloud"
- flowery,, very long poem, even rhyme scheme seems contrived
William Blake Mythology
• poet, mythologial, artist
• 4 states - Universal man is divided into 4 mighty "Zoas"
1) The Unfallen state (Eden)
2) The Fallen state (Beulah, pastoral garden)
3) The Realm (Generation)
4) Ulro (Hell, filled with isolated selves and tyranny)
• isolated selves - i.e. when in nature or in city, being a part of womb continuously, one with singularity, comfort in womb
• Zoa's aspects of humanity : Specters (masculine) and Emanations (feminine)
Songs of Innocence & Experience
• Motifs :
Introduction to Songs of Experience
• Bard - poet/profit, hearing word of God, who's calling lapsed soul? poet? unfallen, fallen - Adam & Eve
• 2nd part - calling for light and innocent world again
• Imagery : someone (Bard) omnipresent, all knowing, creationism - light
celestial - starts, chaos, juxtaposition
Ocean vs. Sky
• Tone : dreary, hopeless, but calling for hope, passion
(rational order of sea vs chaos)
• Meaning : we've fallen from grace since beginning, calling for a return to order & light
Songs of Innocence
• Blake - revisiting impulses, tempestuous (stormy)
• Read psychologically, psycho-sexually, theologically
Introduction to Songs of Innocence
• Imagery : cloud with child, stained water, clear, wept with joy
• Tone : lighthearted, innocent, joyful
• Meaning : childhood there to find something deeper
- invocation subtle, not obvious classical bard
- children : same as adult? can have rage, desire, Neo-sexuality, moral innocence
• lyrical, childlike
• Imagery : nature's green, all characters equated,
child's laughter = birds songs, womb of kids/birds sleeping
Sun - up & down = time
• Tone :joyful, childish, reminisce
• Meaning : never ending ,continuous place, repetition , cyclical generation, life
perhaps slightly foreboding at end - with dimming/dulling of moments on green, "sun descending"
(part of songs of innocence)
• Imagery : lamb, stream, meadow, soft clothing, child
• Tone : preachy, religious, God
• Meaning : God's sense of purity in creating lamb
- repetition & rhetorical question - confidence
revelation of mysteries, leads to central point
- the lamb = Christ = child, hint of sacrifice, of youth/innocence - give up for growth
(part of songs of innocence)
Earth to Answer
(part of songs of experience)
• Imagery : chains, boundness, drafty, cold, imprisoned
• Tone: anguish, dark, despair, Christian, rhetorical questions
• Meaning :
-Natural chaos of Nature, everyday life, love,
-blaming Adam for selfish father of men,
-break from shambles to be open, & connected with singularity,
-experience does that - can create bondage over us
The Sick Rose
(part of songs of experience)
- feminine principle being taken by masculinity without consent
- Rose infested by a worm, and destroyed
- Roses = female genitalia, feminine principles, loves life some way
- Tone - sickened, angered, hopeless
(part of songs of experience)
• Imagery : eyes, god's work: humanity toying of steel, Smith - fire, hammer, God - vulcan, hephaestus
• Tone : revere, awe, inspired
• Meaning/Motive : who dared create this creature?
God made both lamb & Tyger - Good and Evil? how good God really is? balance seen
The Little Black Boy & The Chimney Sweeper
• feeling God's love
• hardships of life but belief in God critical
The Divine Image
• like "genesis" and divine image, essential virtues for Humanity , given by God, essential for humans to experience God
• contrary one in Songs of Experience : evils of human, virtues used earlier represented as exploited things, cruelty, conflict, fake humility, perhaps necessary to have too?
Infant Joy & Sorrow
• contrasting poems, one of an innocent infant, untouched and happy, the other of how an infant means hardship for parents, not a joy to be born
(part of songs of experience)
• negatives of society, church , prostitute transmits venerial disease so even marriage can be death,
• published during French revolution, unrest in London too though
- married at 14, lost child?
- abusive/infedelity in husband, leaves him
-modeled after Shakespeare's rhyme scheme (in "Elegaic" Sonnets)
"Written at the Close of Spring,"
"Written at the Close of Spring,"
- nature metaphor
- not very cyclical
- not just happiness but life is also dark, cynical
- invocation to sleep, reference to Greek God, residual of Neoclassical period
- anxiety referred to
- sleep so helpful, but doesn't help the poet, not giving relief
- melancholy, beauty to night
- end - calm, resignation, no hope for future happiness yet calm and complete surrender
- heaven may listen - prayer for better after life
• Preface to Lyrical Ballads (A Poetic Manifesto) ,
"The Ruined Cottage,"
The Prelude, Book 1 ll. 135-145.
Preface to Lyrical Ballads
• a poetic manifesto
• The Prelude : most renowned, most necessary to understand, autobiographical, explains life phases
• reaction to Neoclassical style
• establishing new form
• 262-273 : lowly & rustic life why chosen?
- "ordinary things presented in unusual way"
- less under restraint, somewhat Patronizing of working people, emphatic language
- transforming us into simpler experiences, soil, sun, work
-straddles rustic & intellectual world
• spontaneous flow of feeling, excess - powerful, yet need sensibility & deep reflection
• Goal of poet : feel deeply, ability to summon (read) emotions & use for purposes & yet savor "taste it"/"feel it" - to pace into poetry
- tapping into unrestrained emotions/sexuality , but also harnessing it
- Importance of feeling, excited, agitated, and using for poetic advantage
Blake (Songs of Innocence and Experience) - Why did he explore innocence and experience, and juxtapose?
• Regarding world in downcast manner: Is the relationship to his childhood? or childhood & essential to experience?
dissatisified w/ adulthood or greater nostalgia? but recognition of something wonderful in adulthood?
- things overlooked, new subjects for poetry, relatable
- cynical look at life, raw, balance, innocence as something sacrificed
- theological, fall from Edenic state
- Songs of Innocence - innocents of childhood
- Songs of Experience - evils of adulthood, downcast
Preface to Lyrical Ballads continued
What is a poet?
- better person, more reflective & ability to understand things better
feel/explore human conditions
- Poetry should access the Truth
pleasure through reading/writing poetry
can be tragic moment - but recognizing feelings; poet derives pleasure/excitement
-language = command
- Wordsworth sees himself as a spokesman but not belonging to class, educated, but feels he should concern himself with them
gives example of poetry - defending poetry, why?
"Emotion Recollected in Tranquility"
-poet = unmoored, open, emotive, empathic,
- feet on ground of Earth, planted through reason & tranquility, can reflect on vareity of feelings
- authentic - can culminate these emotions, real reality of them in mind, - pleasurable for poet to access
The Ruined Cottage
- despair, decline of Margaret's life & effects her - care for home, kids seen through rundown home, grounds
• Mind mirrored by Environment
• Role of Old Man and his pauses :
- Wordsworthian - more like prose than poetry, (something? ) of words, dangerous flowers mentioned, -poet/wanderer - motif seeks out experience
- Nature, human suffering, clear, inevitable,
- point is to help people accept hardships more
- sorrowful of never having your (her margeret's) story told, would be even more tragic, ode to woman's life, respect, validation of hardhsip
- importance of grief
• "purposes of wisdom ask no more", reflect but move on, degree of grief foolish, moving on
• Cottage/environment reflective of Margaret's body or mind?
- less body, definitely mind
• Entire poem :
-metaphor for poetic composition:
- start with tranquil, invite scene with emotion & awakeness to within, touching upon it, grief everywhere, don't need to search it out, return to simplicity, peace with sorrow/grief
• secret of humanity survives, Margaret survives?
a part of that place - dead or alive, still lingers, lightly transcendant
Prelude Book 1
• autobiographical epic poem, very personal
• excited for life, addressing Coleridge (friend & colleague),
• used to recollections of emotions, not recording current experience, some gratitude to natural scenes
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Biographia Literaria ch 14,
"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,"
- used opium, reflected in poetry
• considered theological
• recalls time with Wordsworth
• excites readers - writing about nature & imaginative colors
• Two types of writing :
1) Supernatural - Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads
2) Subjects from ordinary life - Wordsworth
• controversy surrounding Wordsworth, who he admires but sometimes differs
• describes what a poem should be, poet etc
Poem according to Coleridge
• some elements of prose composition but different combination, artificially arranged thoughts, facts
compositions = poem w/ charm of meter, rhyme, etc
- ultimate end - truth? blurry
- pleasure - proposes it immediately as its object, not truth, not science
- meter/rhyme - must have reason for doing so
- man may call his work what he wishes, with his own intention behind it
- harmonizing w/ & supporting influences of meterical arrangement
Biographia Litteraria (Class Notes)
• defense of new style - mentions Wordsworth's poems
• burden of responsibility on a poet
- "synthetic & magical", "plastic" , "artificial" - artifice (manmade) vs Nature - visualizing nature through synthetic things (poem, painting)
- not linear, meditative
Painters of the Romantic Period
• Joseph Turner : nature depicted, wilderness contrasted with divine (clouds)
• Casper David Friedrich : German painter, Gothic style, craggy, dark, wild
• French : more revolutionary quality in paintings
lost in wilderness of thoughts => see wilderness scene, barren, nostalgia, ruins of medieval culture
"The Eolian Harp"
• prose-like, coherent meter
- pleasure from text
• metaphors : mind, spirit, & musical instruments
Aeolus - God of Winds
Tress themselves - Eolian Harps
• Love : appreciative tone of wife & God
• "We are all organic harps" , all animated nature, and inspiration comes from the breath of God
• result of "breeze" = Poetry
• mysticism -> divine
• volcanic experience - release - tapping into energy sublimated
sublimated sexual energy => released -> resolution
• honey/nectar - of poet = inspiration
• imagination in dome
• "in the now" - "ing" verbs
reaching summit, experience on top, experience on Opium, his interpretation of reading a work on sacred palace
- unfinished , interrupted by person (metaphor for people who disrupt creativity perhaps)
- cares of "ice" , dome of "pleasure"
- calling poem not actual dream, not able to grasp
- within poem itself - peaceful kingdom & turmoil
- achievement versus ability to achieve
- somewhat incomplete - more interesting because of it
Kublah Kahn further discussion
• Imagination : Conscious ? able to be controlled? intentional with opiate use?
• reality vs unreality
• sanity vs insanity
• imagination sweeps over you & "id"
• regret that one can't see the world in this way more often
Second Generation of Romantic Poets
Lord Byron (George Gordon), Percy Byshe Shelle, Mary Shelley, John Keats
• of things in nature & art affecting mind without sense of overwhelming grandeur or irrestible power, calculated to inpsire Awe, deep reverence or lofty emotion, by reason of its beauty, vastness, grandeur
• of persons, their attributes, feelings ,actions, standing high above others by reason of nobility or grandeur of nature or character, of high intellectual, moral or spiritual level, achieving perfection, supreme - come in contact w/ "the perfect" , the "Beautiful"
terror - can be sublime, "awe"
sublime in landscapes, characters
being faced with divine, and having experience
Coleridge's definition of the sublime
• encounter the Beautiful
• no object sublime in itself, until made symbol of some idea
• interaction, stirs you
• undersatnding measureless/depths
i.e. "awes of ice" in kublah khan, ungraspable
• rational mind halts & spirit opens up to the sublime
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
• by Coleridge but followed Wordsworth's style
• summation : mariner (old man) talking to wedding guest about his experience,
story : on ship in icy region, only sign of life = Albatross, albatross is good omen at first making the winds blow but then he suddenly kills, and becomes bad omen, sailors blamed mariner revenge, wears bird around his neck - guilt , curse ensues -> see ship and think its hope but really only a ghost of a ship, and on it are Death and the Night-mare Life-in-Death, who takes the form of a pale woman with golden locks and red lips, and "thicks man's blood with cold, they play a game and cause all the shipmates all die except the one mariner,
see dead spirits, ghost ship, mariner wants to die
angel spirits finally leave dead men's bodies, fuel ship onwards, finally curse lifted
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner & the Sublime
• reference for all living things
• hypnotizes guest & freezing rational mind, wedding guest potentially experiences - response is sad and silence for Mariner's experience
• old man communicates with forces of sublime and transformed by encounter/interaction and he is terrified, must process & change by sublime
Sublime = manifestiation/reaction to anything, object, image that evokes tremendous emotional response, particularly reverence, terror, & makes one experience feel smaller
• why does mariner choose particular guest?
-perhaps people that Need to hear it
• Albatross :
-changing, good omen => bad omen
- guilt, mistake, original sin
- holy spirit, Christ-like
- needless killing or..
-God - benevolent & malevolent, sublime
- albatross itself sublime
(Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792-1822, Romantics)
• sermon of sorts by romantic poet
- sublime - "ceaselessness" , vastness
• sublime and imnd of poet - sublime mechanism to reach id/subconsious
-or inability to group sublime, something not able to be understood
- poetry to (??) - line 44 - "with poesy', only people with power can access?, difficult to grasp "phantom"
- still tranquil part of mind where poetry spawns from
why does mountain have voice when other things (i.e. winds) do not?
- dark, complex mind of humans
- comparing to natural things, all metaphors to the mind & its different parts
like the poetry part (764)
- active natural world = active mind?
- flood described & river - imagination again? like Kublah Khan?
- Mont Blanc itself - stable, sees everything (good perspective) = rational mind? = solitude/silence? vacancy?
• Bryon used for self revelation & self concealment
• Milton's Satan traits : tortured by pains of Hell & emotional, psychological pain, yet unashamed
• a persecuted, flawed & ultimately lovely genius
• antihero, reader sympathizes with, romanticized but wicked
• conventionally : young & attractive male (Don Juan, Hamlet)
• destructive passions, alienation
• selfish, brooding indulgence in own sorrows
(Lord Byron's masterpiece, Epic satire, "immoral content" but still very popular)
• Feminist reading of the text
- Julia - coy, seductive, letter- selfless
passionate (195), forced to play in patriarchal role (194)
but then Julia goes into convent in end?
• poetic approach - (201-222)
• Why does Byron address audience?
- Class Opinion : arrogant, vain, snide comments about others, acts as Byronic Hero himself
• Summary :
- Don Juan - womanizer, but portrayed in this as someone easily seduced by woman (satirical that way),
-Don Juan raised by very strong/educated mother, but hindered in this way too,
- falls in love with Julia (married woman), scene where husband storms in and doesnt find him
-Juan sent away by mother but still in love with Julia, sleeps with some other woman though (later throughout story)
- 3rd canto - digression from story, and Byron badmouthing other poets, the other cantos of his wild adventures and womanizing
(Percy Bysshe Shelley, drama about Prometheus' torments at the hand of Zeus after giving fire to humans, Zeus overthrown => Prometheus released)
• Prometheus - one mind, Jesus (byronic hero)
• Jupiter (Zeus) - tyranny
• Furies - spirits of crucifixion
Prometheus - connects himself to sacrificial lamb
Demogorgon defeats Jupiter, overthrows
Prometheus - forgotten part singularity (Blake idea (??)), unrestrained, Hated, curse (784-785)
-gave humans fire (Satan brings light), knowledge, words, science
• not totally consumed, repents, doesn't resent humanity
Act 3 - Demogorgon - eternity, time, inevitability, "hours" process, change
Act 4 - 2nd Ending, tools needed for new age (Blake like), don't forget oneness, singularity
Zeus- can we sympathize? he is a father, and brings Order & stability
• extinguishes "self"
• contemplation of mortality (through art)
(1795-1821) - Romantics
"Ode to Psyche,"
"Ode to a Nightingale,"
"Ode to a Grecian Urn,"
"Ode to the West Wind"
(Percy Bysshe Shelley)
• personifies wind, omnipotent, carries time & death along
• wants wind to fly through
"make me thy lire"
- like other poem - "Eolian harp"
"Ode to Psyche"
(John Keats, Romantic Ode)
• patterns/themes: wind, nature, poetic inspiration, sleep, mortality
• female psyche offered a temple/rest in his mind
"Ode to a Nightingale"
(John Keats, Romantic Ode)
• intimacy with death (pillow talk)
• bird represents death & missing loved ones
• coping with grief through poetry, poetry as a craft (enlightenment)
• bird is immortal
"Ode to a Grecian Urn"
(John Keats, Romantic Ode)
• ekphrasis = capturing art through another work of art
• "Beauty is truth, truth is beauty" (capital T & B -> Truth & Beauty)
• perpetual beauty captured on urn yet cannot change (tree can never bloom)
• Reverence at eternal beauty
• Sadness/Melancholy ? (never kiss, never bloom..etc),
• envious of urn & its eternal beauty, hopes his work will have the same lasting effect
• capturing art through another work of art, art mirroring art (writer grapples with but brings something more, 2ndary work may leave much different mark)
i.e. "Ode to a Grecian Urn" (Keats), "Mussée des Beaux Arts" (Auden)
(1797-1851, Romantics, Frankenstein)
• Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and Mary Shelley went to Swiss alps & everyone wrote a reaction to the trip => Frankenstein was Mary's reaction
• just because you can do something, should you?
• who is the monster? Victor Frankenstein or the Creature?
• Nature vs. Nurture (in regards to the creature)
• Frankenstein must tell his story (similar to the Ancient mariner)
• folly: I am a man and I will do as I will/want
• Robert Walton needs to hear Victor's tale, to caution him (again like Ancient Mariner), Victor warns Robert to live within limits
• Victor tried to prove himself as a god, by creating a new human, not just re-animating a dead one
Frankenstein : What do we think of the creature's presence in text, its very existence, how does that impact the theological view?
• creature's existence seems to complicate Christian principles/values, conflicts with
• Romantic Point of View : creature not loved, & not created by God => not loved, can love but not be loved, and driven into isolation
• Religious standpoint : play god, things created by men don't belong here
• Prometheus (unbound) & Victor - both wanted to create something beautiful, similar intentions, & to give something to humanity
• Victor - tries to thwart death (death of mother important)
• God & Man / Creator & Creature - shows creatures feelings, something born out of creator's negligence
Frankenstein in class discussion
• man can't create beauty like God, but can create benevolent creature (at first), inspired to learn (some positives)
• Significant that Victor succeeds in creating something
• What is animating the creature?
- surface animations only? is there depth there?
- does it have a soul? or are we souless? is it necessary to have a soul?
• Victor abandons creature
• Creature : calculating energy to seek out "destruction" Or move so for Victor to experience what he went through?
Frankenstein : Victor
• guilt - talks about it, but doesn't really reflect, not empathetic
i.e. sees creature as having a menacing grin, but creature was only smiling
• who is more monstrous? Victor or creature? (Creature slays people but has a twisted upbringing)
• Creature = shadow self of Victor
• Victor = opposite of God, no empathy, not orthodox, questions were souls come from, back to Nature - boundaries with Nature/sublime, not God's
Love - if it had been there, for creature, or for Elizabeth, perhaps it was justice, Victor was self centered, Victor doesn't love enough
• father complex - can't have babies, women have ultimate creative power
what it means to be an artists, or a scientist, father figure, and boundaries on all of those
Frankenstein : Which is worse, trying to play God or Negligence?
• Nature vs . Nurture, go hand in hand
• scientists have god complex
• Victor : immature thinking, didn't anticipate necessary care, what scares him - how successful he really was
• knowledge - how do we know something? other? question grounds of knowing, seeing creature beyond - outside
Frankenstein : Creature
• name of creature, not given? suggests love & ownership, relationship s just like how Adam names beasts
creature does say basically " should have been Satan, should have been thy Adam"
• morality/personality/spirits - understdoo through outside characteristics
(Creature slays people but has a twisted upbringing, Victor abandons creature, misunderstood by world and Victor)
Frankenstein : Backdrop of UK's Industrial Revolution
• Frankenstein (the novel) reflecting how the worker lost control with objects (victor)
• labor workers lose humanity/identity in factor - similar to monster
• ugliness of progress, shift from towns and man-made things
• Ethics in science/medicine - Shelley implying Caution
• Nature's powers take over, ultimately
Frankenstein : where do your sympathies lie?
• with creature
• Shelley most likely sympathized with creature (when looking at hints in the book)
• self actualization (realizing and living out one's potential):
for Frankenstein - by taking over & killing, fate? Nature vs. Nurture
for Victor - did it but does something terrible