Romantic literature in English

Romanticism was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century. Scholars regard the publishing of William Wordsworth's and Samuel Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads in 1798 as probably the beginning of the movement, and the crowning of Queen Victoria in 1837 as its end.[1] Romanticism arrived in other parts of the English-speaking world later; in America,it arrived around 1820.

The Romantic period was one of major social change in England, due to depopulation of the countryside and rapid development of overcrowded industrial cities that took place roughly between 1798 and 1832. The movement of so many people in England was the result of two forces: the Agricultural Revolution, which involved enclosures that drove workers and their families off the land, and the Industrial Revolution which provided them employment, "in the factories and mills, operated by machines driven by steam-power".[2] Indeed, Romanticism may be seen in part as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution,[3] though it was also a revolt against aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, as well as a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature.[4] The French Revolution was an especially important influence on the political thinking of many notable Romantic figures at this time as well.[5]

William Blake by Thomas Phillips
William Blake is considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic age.


18th-century precursors

The Romantic movement in English literature of the early 19th century has its roots in 18th-century poetry, the Gothic novel and the novel of sensibility.[6] This includes the graveyard poets, who were a number of pre-Romantic English poets writing in the 1740's and later, whose works are characterized by their gloomy meditations on mortality, "skulls and coffins, epitaphs and worms" in the context of the graveyard.[7] To this was added by later practitioners, a feeling for the 'sublime' and uncanny, and an interest in ancient English poetic forms and folk poetry.[8] These concepts are often considered precursors of the Gothic genre.[9] Some major Gothic poets include Thomas Gray (1716–71), whose Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (1751) is "the best known product of this kind of sensibility";[10] William Cowper (1731–1800); Christopher Smart (1722–71); Thomas Chatterton (1752–70); Robert Blair (1699–1746), author of The Grave (1743), "which celebrates the horror of death";[11] and Edward Young (1683–1765), whose The Complaint, or Night Thoughts on Life, Death and Immortality (1742–45) is another "noted example of the graveyard genre".[12] Other precursors of Romanticism are the poets James Thomson (1700–48) and James Macpherson (1736–96).[6]

The sentimental novel or "novel of sensibility" is a genre which developed during the second half of the 18th century. It celebrates the emotional and intellectual concepts of sentiment, sentimentalism, and sensibility. Sentimentalism, which is to be distinguished from sensibility, was a fashion in both poetry and prose fiction which began in reaction to the rationalism of the Augustan Age. Sentimental novels relied on emotional response both from their readers and characters. Scenes of distress and tenderness are common, and the plot is arranged to advance emotions rather than action. The result is a valorization of "fine feeling", displaying the characters as models for refined, sensitive emotional effect. The ability to display feelings was thought to show character and experience, and to shape social life and relations.[13] Among the most famous sentimental novels in English are Samuel Richardson's Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740), Oliver Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield (1766), Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy (1759–67), Sentimental Journey (1768), Henry Brooke's The Fool of Quality (1765–70), Henry Mackenzie's The Man of Feeling (1771) and Maria Edgeworth's Castle Rackrent (1800).[14]

Significant foreign influences were the Germans Goethe, Schiller and August Wilhelm Schlegel and French philosopher and writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–78).[15] Edmund Burke's A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757) is another important influence.[16] The changing landscape, brought about by the Industrial and agricultural revolutions with the expansion of the city and depopulation of the countryside, was another influence on the growth of the Romantic movement in Britain. The poor condition of workers, the new class conflicts and the pollution of the environment led to a reaction against urbanism and industrialization, and a new emphasis on the beauty and value of nature.

In the late 18th century, Horace Walpole's 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto created the Gothic fiction genre, that combines elements of horror and romance. The pioneering gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe introduced the brooding figure of the gothic villain which developed into the Byronic hero. Her most popular and influential work The Mysteries of Udolpho (1795) is frequently cited as the archetypal Gothic novel. Vathek (1786) by William Beckford, and The Monk (1796) by Matthew Lewis, were further notable early works in both the gothic and horror literary genres. The first short stories in the United Kingdom were gothic tales like Richard Cumberland's "remarkable narrative" The Poisoner of Montremos (1791).[17]

Romantic poetry

The physical landscape is prominent in the poetry of this period. The Romantics, and especially Wordsworth, are often described as 'nature poets'. However, these 'nature poems' reveal wider concerns in that they are often meditations on "an emotional problem or personal crisis".[18]

The poet, painter, and printmaker William Blake (1757–1827) was an early writer of his kind. Largely disconnected from the major streams of the literature of his time, Blake was generally unrecognized during his lifetime, but is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. Considered mad by contemporaries for his idiosyncratic views, Blake is held in high regard by later critics for his expressiveness and creativity, and for the philosophical and mystical undercurrents within his work. Among his most important works are Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794) "and profound and difficult 'prophecies' " such as Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793), The First Book of Urizen (1794), Milton (1804–?11), and "Jerusalem: the Emanation of the Giant Albion" (1804–?20).[19]

After Blake, among the earliest Romantics were the Lake Poets, a small group of friends, including William Wordsworth (1770–1850), Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834), Robert Southey (1774–1843) and journalist Thomas de Quincey (1785–1859). However, at the time Walter Scott (1771–1832) was the most famous poet. Scott achieved immediate success with his long narrative poem The Lay of the Last Minstrel in 1805, followed by the full epic poem Marmion in 1808. Both were set in the distant Scottish past.[20]

The early Romantic poets brought a new form of emotionalism and introspection, and their emergence is marked by the first romantic manifesto in English literature, the "Preface" to Lyrical Ballads (1798). In it Wordsworth discusses what he sees as the elements of a new type of poetry, one based on the "real language of men", and which avoids the poetic diction of much 18th-century poetry. Here, Wordsworth gives his famous definition of poetry, as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" which "takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility." The poems in Lyrical Ballads were mostly by Wordsworth, though Coleridge contributed one of the great poems of English literature,[21] the long "Rime of the Ancient Mariner", a tragic ballad about the survival of one sailor through a series of supernatural events on his voyage through the South Seas, and involves the symbolically significant slaying of an albatross. Coleridge is also especially remembered for "Kubla Khan", "Frost at Midnight", "Dejection: an Ode", "Christabel", as well as the major prose work Biographia Literaria. His critical work, especially on Shakespeare, was highly influential, and he helped introduce German idealist philosophy to English-speaking culture.[22] Coleridge and Wordsworth, along with Carlyle, were major influences through Emerson, on American transcendentalism.[23] Among Wordsworth's most important poems are "Michael", "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey", "Resolution and Independence", "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood" and the long, autobiographical, epic The Prelude. The Prelude was begun in 1799 but published posthumously in 1850. Wordsworth's poetry is noteworthy for how he "inverted the traditional hierarchy of poetic genres, subjects, and style by elevating humble and rustic life and the plain [...] into the main subject and medium of poetry in general", and how, in Coleridge's words, he awakens in the reader a "freshness of sensation" in his depiction of familiar, commonplace objects.[24]

Robert Southey (1774–1843) was another of the so-called "Lake Poets", and Poet Laureate for 30 years from 1813 to his death in 1843. Although his fame has been long eclipsed by that of his contemporaries and friends William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Thomas De Quincey (1785–1859) was an English essayist, best known for his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821),[25] an autobiographical account of his laudanum use and its effect on his life. William Hazlitt (1778–1830), friend of both Coleridge and Wordsworth, is another important essayist at this time, though today he is best known for his literary criticism, especially Characters of Shakespeare's Plays (1817–18).[26]

Second generation

The second generation of Romantic poets includes Lord Byron (1788–1824), Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822) and John Keats (1795–1821). Byron, however, was still influenced by 18th-century satirists and was, perhaps the least 'romantic' of the three, preferring "the brilliant wit of Pope to what he called the 'wrong poetical system' of his Romantic contemporaries".[27] Byron achieved enormous fame and influence throughout Europe with works exploiting the violence and drama of their exotic and historical settings. Goethe called Byron "undoubtedly the greatest genius of our century".[28] A trip to Europe resulted in the first two cantos of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (1812), a mock-heroic epic of a young man's adventures in Europe, but also a sharp satire against London society. The poem contains elements thought to be autobiographical, as Byron generated some of the storyline from experience gained during his travels between 1809 and 1811.[29] However, despite the success of Childe Harold and other works, Byron was forced to leave England for good in 1816 and seek asylum on the Continent, because, among other things, of his alleged incestuous affair with his half-sister Augusta Leigh.[30] Here he joined Percy Bysshe and Mary Shelley, with his secretary John William Polidori on the shores of Lake Geneva, during the 'year without a summer'.[30] Polidori's The Vampyre was published in 1819, creating the literary vampire genre. This short story was inspired by the life of Lord Byron and his poem The Giaour (1813).[31] Between 1819 and 1824 Byron published his unfinished epic satire Don Juan, which, though initially condemned by the critics, "was much admired by Goethe who translated part of it".[32]

Shelley is perhaps best known for poems such as Ozymandias, Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark, Music, When Soft Voices Die, The Cloud, The Masque of Anarchy and Adonaïs, an elegy written on the death of Keats. Shelley's early profession of atheism, in the tract "The Necessity of Atheism", led to his expulsion from Oxford,[33] and branded him as a radical agitator and thinker, setting an early pattern of marginalization and ostracism from the intellectual and political circles of his time. Similarly, Shelley's 1851 essay "A Defense of Poetry" displayed a radical view of poetry, in which poets act as "the unacknowledged legislators of the world," because, of all of artists, they best perceive the undergirding structure of society.[34] His close circle of admirers, however, included the most progressive thinkers of the day, including his future father-in-law, philosopher William Godwin. Works like Queen Mab (1813) reveal Shelley "as the direct heir to the French and British revolutionary intellectuals of the 1790s."[35] Shelley became an idol of the next three or four generations of poets, including important Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite poets such as Robert Browning, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, as well as later W. B. Yeats.[36] Shelley's influential poem The Masque of Anarchy (1819) calls for nonviolence in protest and political action. It is perhaps the first modern statement of the principle of nonviolent protest.[37] Mahatma Gandhi's passive resistance was influenced and inspired by Shelley's verse, and Gandhi would often quote the poem to vast audiences.[38]

Though John Keats shared Byron and Shelley's radical politics, "his best poetry is not political",[39] but is especially noted for its sensuous music and imagery, along with a concern with material beauty and the transience of life.[40] Among his most famous works are: "The Eve of St Agnes", "Ode to Psyche", "La Belle Dame sans Merci", "Ode to a Nightingale", "Ode on a Grecian Urn", "Ode on Melancholy", "To Autumn" and the incomplete Hyperion, a 'philosophical' poem in blank verse, which was "conceived on the model of Milton's Paradise Lost ".[41] Keats' letters "are among the finest in English" and important "for their discussion of his aesthetic ideas", including 'negative capability'".[42] Keats has always been regarded as a major Romantic, "and his stature as a poet has grown steadily through all changes of fashion".[43]

Other poets

Another important poet in this period was John Clare (1793–1864), Clare was the son of a farm labourer, who came to be known for his celebratory representations of the English countryside and his lamentation for the changes taking place in rural England.[44] His poetry underwent a major re-evaluation in the late 20th century and he is often now considered to be among the most important 19th-century poets.[45] His biographer Jonathan Bate states that Clare was "the greatest labouring-class poet that England has ever produced. No one has ever written more powerfully of nature, of a rural childhood, and of the alienated and unstable self".[46]

George Crabbe (1754–1832) was an English poet who, during the Romantic period, wrote "closely observed, realistic portraits of rural life [...] in the heroic couplets of the Augustan age".[47] Lord Byron who was an admirer of Crabbe's poetry, described him as "nature's sternest painter, yet the best".[48] Modern critic Frank Whitehead has said that "Crabbe, in his verse tales in particular, is an important–indeed, a major–poet whose work has been and still is seriously undervalued."[49] Crabbe's works include The Village (1783), Poems (1807), The Borough (1810), and his poetry collections Tales (1812) and Tales of the Hall (1819).

Female poets

Female writers were increasingly active in all genres throughout the 18th century, and by the 1790s women's poetry was flourishing. Notable poets later in the period include Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Joanna Baillie, Susanna Blamire, Hannah More. Other women poets include Mary Alcock (c. 1742 – 1798) and Mary Robinson (1758-1800), both of whom "highlighted the enormous discrepancy between life for the rich and the poor",[50] and Felicia Hemans, (1793-1835) author of nineteen individual books during her lifetime, and who continued to be republished widely after her death in 1835.[51]

More interest has been shown in recent years in Dorothy Wordsworth (1771-1855), William's sister, who "was modest about her writing abilities, [but] she produced poems of her own; and her journals and travel narratives certainly provided inspiration for her brother."[52]

In the past decades there has been substantial scholarly and critical work done on women poets of this period, both to make them available in print or online, and second, to assess them and position them within the literary tradition.[53]

Romantic novel

Mary Shelley (1797–1851) is remembered as the author of Frankenstein (1818). The plot of this is said to have come from a waking dream she had, in the company of Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Polidori, following a conversation about galvanism and the feasibility of returning a corpse or assembled body parts to life, and on the experiments of the 18th-century natural philosopher and poet Erasmus Darwin, who was said to have animated dead matter.[54] Sitting around a log fire at Byron's villa, the company also amused themselves by reading German ghost stories, prompting Byron to suggest they each write their own supernatural tale.

Jane Austen's works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism.[55] Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security.[56] Austen brings to light the hardships women faced, who usually did not inherit money, could not work and where their only chance in life depended on the man they married. She reveals not only the difficulties women faced in her day, but also what was expected of men and of the careers they had to follow. This she does with wit and humour and with endings where all characters, good or bad, receive exactly what they deserve. Her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew's A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become accepted as a major writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture. Austen's works include Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), Northanger Abbey (1817) and Persuasion (1817).


Byron, Keats and Shelley all wrote for the stage, but with little success in England, with Shelley's The Cenci perhaps the best work produced, though that was not played in a public theatre in England until a century after his death. Byron's plays, along with dramatizations of his poems and Scott's novels, were much more popular on the Continent, and especially in France, and through these versions several were turned into operas, many still performed today. If contemporary poets had little success on the stage, the period was a legendary one for performances of Shakespeare, and went some way to restoring his original texts and removing the Augustan "improvements" to them. The greatest actor of the period, Edmund Kean, restored the tragic ending to King Lear;[57] Coleridge said that, “Seeing him act was like reading Shakespeare by flashes of lightning.”[58]


Wales had its own Romantic movement, especially in Welsh literature (which was rarely translated or known outside Wales).[59] The countryside and history of Wales exerted an influence on the Romantic imagination of Britons, especially in travel writings, and the poetry of Wordsworth.[60]

The "poetry and bardic vision" of Edward Williams (1747-1826), better known by his bardic name Iolo Morganwg, bear the hallmarks of Romanticism. "His Romantic image of Wales and its past had a far-reaching effect on the way in which the Welsh envisaged their own national identity during the nineteenth century".[61]

(See: Damian Walford Davies and Lynda Pratt, eds., Wales and the Romantic Imagination (University of Wales Press, 2007), James Prothero. Wordsworth and Welsh Romanticism. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013. and Shawna Lichtenwalner, Claiming Cambria: Invoking the Welsh in the Romantic Era (University of Delaware Press, 2008).


James Macpherson was the first Scottish poet to gain an international reputation. Claiming to have found poetry written by the ancient bard Ossian, he published "translations" that acquired international popularity, being proclaimed as a Celtic equivalent of the Classical epics. Fingal, written in 1762, was speedily translated into many European languages, and its appreciation of natural beauty and treatment of the ancient legend have been credited, more than any single work, with bringing about the Romantic movement in European, and especially in German literature, through its influence on Johann Gottfried von Herder and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.[62] It was also popularised in France by figures that included Napoleon.[63] Eventually it became clear that the poems were not direct translations from the Gaelic, but flowery adaptations made to suit the aesthetic expectations of his audience.[64] Both Robert Burns (1759–96) and Walter Scott (1771–1832) were highly influenced by the Ossian cycle. Robert Burns (1759–1796) was a pioneer of the Romantic movement, and after his death he became a cultural icon in Scotland. As well as writing poems, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them. His Poems, chiefly in the Scottish Dialect was published in 1786. Among poems and songs of Burns that remain well known across the world are, "Auld Lang Syne"; "A Red, Red Rose"; "A Man's A Man for A' That"; "To a Louse"; "To a Mouse"; "The Battle of Sherramuir"; "Tam o' Shanter" and "Ae Fond Kiss".

The most important British novelist at the beginning of the early 19th century was Sir Walter Scott, who was not only a highly successful novelist, but "the greatest single influence on fiction in the 19th century [...] [and] a European figure".[65] Scott's novel writing career was launched in 1814 with Waverley, often called the first historical novel, and was followed by Ivanhoe. The Waverley Novels, including The Antiquary, Old Mortality, The Heart of Midlothian, and whose subject is Scottish history, are now generally regarded as Scott's masterpieces.[66] He was one of the most popular novelists of the era, and his historical romances inspired a generation of painters, composers, and writers throughout Europe, including Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn and J. M. W. Turner. His novels also inspired many operas, of which the most famous are Lucia di Lammermoor (1835) by Donizetti, and Bizet's La jolie fille de Perth, The Fair Maid of Perth (1867).[67] However, today his contemporary, Jane Austen, is widely read and the source for films and television series, while Scott is neglected. He also inspired French authors such as Flaubert with Madame Bovary and Hugo in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.


The European Romantic movement reached America in the early 19th century. American Romanticism was just as multifaceted and individualistic as it was in Europe. Like the Europeans, the American Romantics demonstrated a high level of moral enthusiasm, commitment to individualism and the unfolding of the self, an emphasis on intuitive perception, and the assumption that the natural world was inherently good, while human society was filled with corruption.[68] Romanticism became popular in American politics, philosophy and art. The movement appealed to the revolutionary spirit of America as well as to those longing to break free of the strict religious traditions of early settlement. The Romantics rejected rationalism and religious intellect. It appealed to those in opposition of Calvinism, which includes the belief that the destiny of each individual is preordained.

Romantic Gothic literature made an early appearance with Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820) and Rip Van Winkle (1819), There are picturesque "local color" elements in Washington Irving's essays and especially his travel books. From 1823 the prolific and popular novelist James Fenimore Cooper (1789–1851) began publishing his historical romances of frontier and Indian life, to create a unique form of American literature. Cooper is best remembered for his numerous sea-stories and the historical novels known as the Leatherstocking Tales, with their emphasis on heroic simplicity and their fervent landscape descriptions of an already-exotic mythicized frontier peopled by "noble savages", exemplified by Uncas, from The Last of the Mohicans (1826) show the influence of Rousseau's (1712–78) philosophy. Edgar Allan Poe's tales of the macabre that first appeared in the early 1830s, and his balladic poetry were more influential in France than at home.[69][70]

By the mid-19th century, the pre-eminence of literature from the British Isles began to be challenged by writers from the former American colonies. This included one of the creators of the new genre of the short story, and inventor of the detective story Edgar Allan Poe (1809–49). A major influence on American writers at this time was Romanticism. The Romantic movement gave rise to New England Transcendentalism, which portrayed a less restrictive relationship between God and Universe. The publication of Ralph Waldo Emerson's 1836 essay Nature is usually considered the watershed moment at which transcendentalism became a major cultural movement. The new philosophy presented the individual with a more personal relationship with God. Transcendentalism and Romanticism appealed to Americans in a similar fashion, for both privileged feeling over reason, individual freedom of expression over the restraints of tradition and custom. It often involved a rapturous response to nature. It encouraged the rejection of harsh, rigid Calvinism, and promised a new blossoming of American culture.[68][71]

The romantic American novel developed fully with Nathaniel Hawthorne's (1804–1864) The Scarlet Letter (1850), a stark drama of a woman cast out of her community for committing adultery. Hawthorne's fiction had a profound impact on his friend Herman Melville (1819–1891). In Moby-Dick (1851), an adventurous whaling voyage becomes the vehicle for examining such themes as obsession, the nature of evil, and human struggle against the elements. By the 1880s, however, psychological and social realism were competing with Romanticism in the novel.

See also


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  2. ^ The Bloomsbury Guide to English Literature, p. 21.
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  4. ^ Christopher Casey, (30 October 2008). ""Grecian Grandeurs and the Rude Wasting of Old Time": Britain, the Elgin Marbles, and Post-Revolutionary Hellenism". Foundations. Volume III, Number 1. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
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  7. ^ Line 23 of "The Grave" by Robert Blair.
  8. ^ William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman, A Handbook to Literature. (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1986), pp. 452–3,502.
  9. ^ A Handbook to Literature, p. 238.
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  12. ^ The Oxford Companion to English Literature, p. 1106.
  13. ^ Richard Maxwell and Katie Trumpener, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Fiction in the Romantic Period (2008).
  14. ^ J. A. Cuddon, A Dictionary of Literary Terms (1999), p. 809.
  15. ^ J. A. Cuddon, pp. 588–9.
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  28. ^ Rupert Christiansen. Romantic Affinities: Portraits From an Age, 1780–1830. (London: Bodley Head, 1988), p. 215
  29. ^ › Poems & Poets viewed 12 May 2013.
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  36. ^ [2] viewed 12 May 2013.
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  56. ^ A. Walton Litz, Jane Austen: A Study of Her Development. New York: Oxford University Press, 1965. p. 142; Oliver MacDonagh, Jane Austen: Real and Imagined Worlds. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991. pp. 66–75; Collins, pp. 160–161.
  57. ^ Or at least he tried to; Kean played the tragic Lear for a few performances. They were not well received, and with regret, he reverted to Nahum Tate's version with a comic ending, which had been standard since 1689. See Stanley Wells, "Introduction" from King Lear Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 69.
  58. ^ Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, Table Talk, 27 April 1823 in Coleridge, Samuel Taylor; Morley, Henry (1884). Table Talk of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Christobel, &c. New York: Routledge. p. 38.
  59. ^ Gwyn A. Williams, Romanticism in Wales (Cambridge University Press, 1988).
  60. ^ Damian Walford Davies, Lynda Pratt, eds., Wales and the Romantic Imagination (2007)
  61. ^ Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies, "Iolo Morganwg and the Romantic Tradition in Wales 1740–1918": [3].
  62. ^ J. Buchan, Crowded with Genius (London: Harper Collins, 2003), ISBN 0-06-055888-1, p. 163.
  63. ^ H. Gaskill, The Reception of Ossian in Europe (Continuum, 2004), ISBN 0-8264-6135-2, p. 140.
  64. ^ D. Thomson, The Gaelic Sources of Macpherson's "Ossian" (Aberdeen: Oliver & Boyd, 1952).
  65. ^ J. A. Cuddon, A Dictionary of Literary Terms (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1984), p. 435.
  66. ^ The Oxford Companion to English Literature, p. 890.
  67. ^ [4] viewed 12 May 2013;] viewed 12 May 2013; The Oxford Companion to English Literature, p. 890.
  68. ^ a b George L. McMichael and Frederick C. Crews, eds. Anthology of American Literature: Colonial through romantic (6th ed. 1997) p 613
  69. ^ Harner, Gary Wayne (1990). "Edgar Allan Poe in France: Baudelaire's Labor of Love". In Fisher, Benjamin Franklin IV. Poe and His Times: The Artist and His Milieu. Baltimore: The Edgar Allan Poe Society. ISBN 978-0-9616449-2-5.
  70. ^ Ann Woodlief, "American Romanticism (or the American Renaissance): Introduction"[5]
  71. ^ "Romanticism, American," in The Oxford Dictionary of American Art and Artists ed by Ann Lee Morgan (Oxford University Press, 2007) online

External links

  • British Women Romantic Poets, 1789 - 1832 [6]
  • Romanticism via Discovering Literature: Romantics and Victorians at the British Library
  • The Romantics, In Our Time, BBC Radio 4 discussion with Jonathan Bate, Rosemary Ashton and Nicholas Roe (Oct. 12, 2000)
  • The Later Romantics, In Our Time, BBC Radio 4 discussion with Jonathan Bate, Robert Woof & Jennifer Wallace (Apr, 15, 2004)
Acts of Union 1800

The Acts of Union 1800 (sometimes referred to as a single Act of Union 1801) were parallel acts of the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland which united the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland (previously in personal union) to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The acts came into force on 1 January 1801, and the merged Parliament of the United Kingdom had its first meeting on 22 January 1801.

Both acts remain in force, with amendments, in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and have been repealed in the Republic of Ireland.

Broad Bottom ministry

The Broad Bottom ministry consisted of two coalition administrations from 1744–46 and 1746–54 in the Parliament of Great Britain. It was led by the Pelham brothers, Henry Pelham as Prime Minister and the Duke of Newcastle as Secretary of State. Early in 1746 the king wished a change of Prime Minister, and Pelham lost power, but only briefly. Returning to office he put in place a strengthened broad coalition. The second Broad Bottom government lasted between Pelham's resumption of power and his death in 1754. Beyond the more senior ministers listed below, other significant figures in the ministry from 1746 were Henry Fox as Secretary at War and William Pitt as Paymaster of the Forces.

Carteret ministry

The Carteret ministry was the ministry that was in office between 1742 and 1744 following the defeat of Sir Robert Walpole's ministry by a margin of 1 vote. At the head of the ministry was Spencer Crompton, The first Earl of Wilmington until his death in 1743. He was succeded at the role of prime minister by Henry Pelham.

The ministry derived its name from John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville. He was the secretary of state and somebody on whom the respective prime ministers were dependent on for support.

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage is a lengthy narrative poem in four parts written by Lord Byron. It was published between 1812 and 1818 and is dedicated to "Ianthe". The poem describes the travels and reflections of a world-weary young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, looks for distraction in foreign lands. In a wider sense, it is an expression of the melancholy and disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. The title comes from the term childe, a medieval title for a young man who was a candidate for knighthood.

English Romantic sonnets

The sonnet was a popular form of poetry during the Romantic period: William Wordsworth wrote 523 sonnets, John Keats 67, Samuel Taylor Coleridge 48, and Percy Bysshe Shelley 18.The sonnet is a poem of fourteen lines that follows a strict rhyme scheme and specific structure, the invention of which is credited to the thirteenth century Italian poet Giacomo Da Lentini, and was subsequently made famous by Petrarch. Thomas Wyatt, in the early 16th century, introduced the sonnet into England. However, it was the Earl of Surrey who developed the rhyme scheme – abab cdcd efef gg – which now characterizes the English or Shakespearean sonnet.

Romantic literature in English includes both Shakespearean and Petrarchan sonnets.

Financial Revolution

The Financial Revolution was a set of economic and financial reforms in Britain after the Glorious Revolution in 1688 when William III invaded England. The reforms were based in part on Dutch economic and financial innovations that were brought to England by William III. New institutions were created: a public debt (first government bonds were issued in 1693) and the Bank of England (1694). Soon thereafter, English joint-stock companies began going public. A central aspect of the financial revolution was the emergence of a stock market.The elements of the financial revolution rested basically on the financial techniques developed in the Netherlands: the bill of exchange, both foreign and inland, which as a negotiable instrument became part of the medium of exchange; transferable shares in the permanent capital stock of corporations that were traded in an active secondary market; and perpetual, government-issued annuities (known as Consols). Another piece of Financial Revolution which fundamentally altered the relations between Crown and Parliament was the creation of the Civil List in 1698. This was how Parliament granted the Crown revenues to meet the costs of running the Government and royal establishment. From this point, the Crown was reliant on Parliament's control of revenue for its day-to-day running.

There is a strong connection between the Glorious Revolution, the financial revolution, and Britain’s rise to world mastery in the eighteenth century. With the creation of a constitutional monarchy, Parliament had to approve any further government borrowing and any new taxes (to cover the costs of borrowing). Because bondholders' interests were hence directly represented in the decision-making process, they could be confident that the risk of default was low. Having such a "credible commitment" to the public debt, Britain could borrow more cheaply (at lower rates of interest) than could absolutist states (such as France) in which bondholders' voices were not represented in government. Scholars debate whether its constitutional structure alone sufficed to make Britain a credible borrower. (This argument, made in a very widely cited article by economic historian Douglass North and political scientist Barry Weingast has been challenged by David Stasavage whose analysis emphasizes the importance of party politics.

First Stanhope–Sunderland ministry

Robert Walpole and Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend were removed from their positions in the government (the latter having already previously been demoted to Lord Lieutenant of Ireland), and were replaced by James Stanhope, 1st Viscount Stanhope of Mahon and Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland, who cooperatively led the first Stanhope–Sunderland ministry. The two Whigs remained in power from 1717 to 1721, although in 1718, Lord Stanhope exchanged positions with Lord Sunderland to form the second Stanhope–Sunderland ministry. Upon Lord Stanhope's death, Robert Walpole, widely considered the first true Prime Minister of Great Britain, returned to head the government.

First Townshend ministry

Lord Townshend was appointed Secretary of State for the Northern Department by King George I in September 1714, forming the first Townshend ministry (Terry 1908). He was the de facto leader of this Whig administration as Northern Secretary until 1717, when he was demoted to Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in favour of the first Stanhope–Sunderland ministry after being outmanoeuvered by his rival Whigs.

Flag of Great Britain

The flag of Great Britain, commonly known as King's Colours, the Union Jack, or the British flag, was used at sea from 1606 and more generally from 1707 to 1801.The design was ordered by King James VI and I to be used on ships on the high seas, and it subsequently came into use as a national flag following the Treaty of Union and Acts of Union 1707, gaining the status of "the Ensign armorial of Great Britain", the newly created state. It was later adopted by land forces, although the blue of the field used on land-based versions more closely resembled that of the blue of the flag of Scotland.

The flag consists of the red cross of Saint George, patron saint of England, superimposed on the Saltire of Saint Andrew, patron saint of Scotland. Its correct proportions are 3:5.

The flag's official use came to an end in 1801 with the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. At that time Saint Patrick's Flag was added to the flag of Great Britain to create the present-day Union Flag.

Graveyard poets

The "Graveyard Poets", also termed "Churchyard Poets", were a number of pre-Romantic English poets of the 18th century characterised by their gloomy meditations on mortality, "skulls and coffins, epitaphs and worms" elicited by the presence of the graveyard. Moving beyond the elegy lamenting a single death, their purpose was rarely sensationalist. As the century progressed, "graveyard" poetry increasingly expressed a feeling for the "sublime" and uncanny, and an antiquarian interest in ancient English poetic forms and folk poetry. The "graveyard poets" are often recognized as precursors of the Gothic literary genre, as well as the Romantic movement.

House of Commons of Great Britain

The House of Commons of Great Britain was the lower house of the Parliament of Great Britain between 1707 and 1801. In 1707, as a result of the Acts of Union of that year, it replaced the House of Commons of England and the third estate of the Parliament of Scotland, as one of the most significant changes brought about by the Union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain.

In the course of the 18th century, the office of Prime Minister developed. The notion that a government remains in power only as long as it retains the support of Parliament also evolved, leading to the first ever motion of no confidence, when Lord North's government failed to end the American Revolution. The modern notion that only the support of the House of Commons is necessary for a government to survive, however, was of later development. Similarly, the custom that the Prime Minister is always a Member of the Lower House, rather than the Upper one, did not evolve until the twentieth century.

The business of the house was controlled by an elected Speaker. The Speaker's official role was to moderate debate, make rulings on procedure, announce the results of votes, and the like. The Speaker decided who may speak and had the powers to discipline members who break the procedures of the house. The Speaker often also represented the body in person, as the voice of the body in ceremonial and some other situations. The title was first recorded in 1377 to describe the role of Thomas de Hungerford in the Parliament of England. By convention, Speakers are normally addressed in Parliament as Mister Speaker, if a man, or Madam Speaker, if a woman.

In 1801, the House was enlarged to become the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, as a result of the Act of Union of 1800 which combined Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Jacobite risings

The Jacobite risings, also known as the Jacobite rebellions or the War of the British Succession, were a series of uprisings, rebellions, and wars in Great Britain and Ireland occurring between 1688 and 1746. The uprisings had the aim of returning James II of England and VII of Scotland, the last Catholic British monarch, and later his descendants of the House of Stuart, to the throne of Great Britain after they had been deposed by Parliament during the Glorious Revolution. The series of conflicts takes its name Jacobitism, from Jacobus, the Latin form of James.

Jacobite rising may refer to any of the following:

Jacobite rising of 1689

Williamite War in Ireland, James's attempts to regain the throne in Ireland

Jacobite assassination plot 1696

Planned French invasion of Britain (1708), included Jacobite support.

Jacobite rising of 1715

Jacobite rising of 1719

Planned French invasion of Britain (1744), included Jacobite support.

Jacobite rising of 1745

Planned French invasion of Britain (1759), included Jacobite support.

List of parliaments of Great Britain

This is a listing of sessions of the Parliament of Great Britain, tabulated with the elections to the House of Commons of Great Britain for each session, and the list of members of the House.

The sessions are numbered from the formation of the Kingdom of Great Britain. For later Westminster parliaments, see List of parliaments of the United Kingdom, and for earlier ones, see List of parliaments of England and List of parliaments of Scotland.

Parliament of Great Britain

The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. The Acts created a new unified Kingdom of Great Britain and dissolved the separate English and Scottish parliaments in favour of a single parliament, located in the former home of the English parliament in the Palace of Westminster, near the City of London. This lasted nearly a century, until the Acts of Union 1800 merged the separate British and Irish Parliaments into a single Parliament of the United Kingdom with effect from 1 January 1801.

Peerage of Great Britain

The Peerage of Great Britain comprises all extant peerages created in the Kingdom of Great Britain after the Acts of Union 1707 but before the Acts of Union 1800. It replaced the Peerage of England and the Peerage of Scotland until it was itself replaced by the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 1801.

The ranks of the Peerage of Great Britain are Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount and Baron. Until the passage of the House of Lords Act 1999, all Peers of Great Britain could sit in the House of Lords.

In the following table of peers of Great Britain, higher or equal titles in the other peerages are listed. Those peers who are known by a higher title in one of the other peerages are listed in italics.

Some holders of the Peerage of Great Britain was created for peers in the Peerage of Scotland and Peerage of Ireland as they did not have an automatic seat in the House of Lords until the Peerage Act 1963 which gave Scottish Peers an automatic right to sit in the Lords.

Second Stanhope–Sunderland ministry

The Second Stanhope–Sunderland ministry (1718–1721) was a continuation of the British Whig government headed by The Earl of Sunderland and The Earl Stanhope. These had taken power in 1717 to form the First Stanhope–Sunderland ministry, and in 1718 they interchanged positions, with Sunderland becoming First Lord of the Treasury. The ministry terminated upon Stanhope's death in February 1721.

Walpole ministry

The British Whig government of 1730–42 was led by Sir Robert Walpole.

Walpole–Townshend ministry

The Walpole–Townshend ministry lasted between 1721 and 1730.


Whiggism (in North America sometimes spelled Whigism) is a political philosophy that grew out of the Parliamentarian faction in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (1639–1651). The Whigs' key policy positions were the supremacy of Parliament, as opposed to that of the king, tolerance of Protestant dissenters and opposition to a "Papist" (Roman Catholic) on the throne, especially James II or one of his descendants.After the huge success (from the Whig point of view) of the Glorious Revolution of 1688–1689, Whiggism dominated English and British politics until about 1760, although in practice the Whig political group splintered into different factions. After 1760, the Whigs lost power – apart from sharing it in some short-lived coalition governments – but Whiggism fashioned itself into a generalised belief system that emphasised innovation and liberty and was strongly held by about half of the leading families in England and Scotland, as well as most merchants, dissenters, and the middle classes. The opposing Tory position was held by the other great families, the Church of England, most of the landed gentry and officers of the army and the navy. Whigs also opposed Jacobitism, a movement of traditionalists tolerant of Roman Catholicism, with substantial Tory overlaps. While in power, Whigs frequently referred to all opponents as "Jacobites" or dupes of Jacobites.

Whiggism originally referred to the Whigs of the British Isles, but the name of "Old Whigs" was largely adopted by the American Patriots in the Thirteen Colonies. Following independence, American Whiggism became known as republicanism. The term "Old Whigs" was also used in Great Britain for those Whigs who opposed Robert Walpole as part of the Country Party.

Another meaning of whiggism given by the Oxford English Dictionary is "moderate or antiquated Liberalism".

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