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What are the characteristics of the Romantic era of poetry?

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Romantic poetry focuses on imagination, appreciation of nature, emotion, individuality and passion. Two of the most notable poets of the Romantic era are John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

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A focus on the imagination is central to Romantic poetry. For example, in Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale," the poet examines nature in a bird’s song. The song inspires the poet to think about otherworldly things. To do so, he must let go of the trappings of the everyday world. When he delves into his imagination, his heart aches and his senses become numb.

Nature appreciation is another popular subject of the Romantic poets. In "Ode to the West Wind," Shelley explores the changing seasons, which causes him to consider autumn’s being. He writes that the winds are “driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,” and the poet’s thoughts are like “winged seeds” of each passing season. Each stanza of the poem represents a stage of life, including death. As Keats dreams of flying away with the nightingale, Shelley desires to become a part of his poetic experience.

Romantic poets attempt to break free from the constraints of traditional poetry through experience, nature, imagination and the emotional connection between all three.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is Romantic poetry?

    A:

    Romantic poetry was written during the Romantic literary movement, which emphasized emotion, nature and individuality. This movement was most powerful at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century.

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    What are the characteristics of Victorian period poetry?

    A:

    Following in the footsteps of their Romantic forefathers, Victorian poets focused on themes of skepticism and distrust of organized religion. Their poetry is imbued with a fascination of the occult and mysterious. However, unlike the Romantics, the Victorian poets were more likely to deny the existence of God through scientific means. Their poetry was more light-hearted and humorous, often whimsical or nonsensical.

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    What are some elements of romantic poetry?

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    Individualism, reverence for nature, exoticism and an emphasis on intuition over reason are all elements of Romantic poetry. Some poets whose work embodies these traits are William Wordsworth, William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Shelley and George Gordon, Lord Byron.

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    What are some characteristics of Victorian poetry?

    A:

    Victorian poetry is characterized by both religious skepticism, inherited from the Romantic Period, but contrarily also devotional poetry that proclaims a more mystical faith. Religion becomes more of a personal experience expressed through poetry. Victorian poetry also employs more humor and whimsy than the prior Romantic Period. Despite the whimsy, in the Victorian Era, poetry and literature take a more harsh and utilitarian view of nature and philosophy.

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