Romantics Revisited

Well, here we are- 2nd year, first semester as we dive head first into 19th Century Literature.  I am looking forward to exploring the works of Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Dickens, and George Eliot among others.

We start first though with the Romantics.   Romanticism was a literary, artistic, musical and intellectual movement that began in Europe around the end of the 18th Century and was at its peak around 1770- 1820.  The Romantic writers of this era placed a huge emphasis on the individual and the importance of human emotions, imagination and intuition.  This is in complete contrast to the Age of Enlightenment, who valued rational discussion and were more interested in `reason’ than in personal emotions.   Romantics believe that imagination is one of the most important things a human can possess.  Imagination is a powerful tool.   William Wordsworth, a Romantic poet, believed that poetry should begin as` the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings’.  Romantic artists believed in a natural law that, if left alone, the imagination would allow an unconscious artistic expression to come through.  The Romantics also had a deep connection to nature and the Earth.  They considered all things natural far greater to whatever man could make.

Our challenge for this week’s blog to write a poem or a short prose piece that has been inspired by one of the literary texts that we have looked at in the last three weeks. I have chosen the opening line from William Wordsworth’s LINES WRITTEN A FEW MILES ABOVE TINTERN ABBEY.

One year has passed; one summer and one winter gone.

Yet, my heart still knows your name.

I sleep well at night now, my conscience is clear.

There are no demons to be kept at bay, I know right from wrong.

Well, that is not exactly true.  I know nothing.

Except that you’re gone.

On repeat in my mind are the songs that we lived in.

The warm nights spent swimming as the sun went down.

The electric stars spelt your name in the sky, you wrote it too in the sand.

In the old abandoned church, we tossed a prayer book into the fire.

But the fire still grows cold.  I turn out the light.

Now as these cold autumn nights grow longer, a stillness settles within.

And while I do not understand it, I will always know this to be true:

There is more to learn from the look in your eyes than any book could ever tell.

The Ruins of Eldena Abbey- Casper David Friedrich (1825)
Google Images

3 Replies to “Romantics Revisited”

  1. Hi Brendon!

    Your analysis was enjoyable to read as I really liked your exploration of the historical background behind the early Romantics along with your own poem which was inspired by William Wordsworth. Your poem consists of short, sharp and fragmented sentences throughout most of the poem but in the end, it flows better displaying the agony of the narrator when they reflect on certain events, however, their new realisation gives them a sense of comfort. Just my own interpretation! I also really liked the image you provided it really showcases the imagination and individuality that writers, poets and artists tried to portray in their best works.

    The only advice I can give to you is that I would have liked to know more about the characters in the poem and the events that took place – it just would have made it a little more interesting 🙂 Keep up the good work.



  2. The poem is haunting and captures well an experience that is very much in harmony with the Romantic movement: soulful, mysterious, evocative. I love that Caspar Friedrich image you have found which somehow amplifies the impact of your own poem!


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