Great Britain was a free country with a free constitution and a Parliament. People with money had power in Parliament, land, slave trade (disappear in 1807), a place in the church, army...

This is the beginning of the industrial revolution, people go from the country to the cities. James Watt developed the steam engine (decade of de 1779s). This is a time of working children (mines factories).

1819 Peterloo massacre, a group of workers went together to Manchester demanding more rights and the army kill then. Industrialists landed classes, merchant got rich.

Women had no rights and Mary Wollstonecraft wrote a vindication of the rights of women (1792)

International affairsð The British Empire was the biggest and the merchant became richer about it. James Cook discovered Australia and NewZeland.

There was a spirit of freedom - American freedom (4 July 1776). French revolution (1789) ð “The declaration of the rights of men 1791", equality of all men, sovereignty of people, inalienable rights to liberty, property and security.

Main characteristics

Neo-classicism Romanticism


Society................................................................Individual (extreme assertion of the self)

Charity................................................................Feeling and imagination

Rules...................................................................Revolt against classical form

conservative morality and human


There were two generations of romantics poets:

Pre-romantics: Thomas Gray, William Cowper, Robert Burn (poets)

Horace Walpoe, Mathew G. Lewis (gothic novels)

1.- First generation: Wordsworth, coleridge, Blake (Burns)

Basic themes: Terror, passion, the sublime

Edmun Burkeð wrote a famous treated “A philosophical enquiry into the origin of our ideas of the sublime end the beautiful” 1757. The Sublime is any poem writing which has dark, obscurity, power, solitude.

Walpoeð “The Castle of Oranto” 1764

Lewisð “ The Monk” 1796

2.- Second generationð Byron, Shelley and Keats

Romantic essayistsð Hazlitt, Thomas de Quincey, Charles Lamb

Main Characteristics (literature)

- Feelingsð The concept of poetry and the poet. Poetry as an imitation of human life. Poetry was the expression of emotion. Usually identifies the hero with the author.

The best example is the prelude (by Wordsworth)ð autobiographical poems in which the poet speak about himself

- Spontaneityð Wordsworth said that the composition of a poem originates from emotion. The immediate act of composition must be spontaneous.

- Natureð The natural scene has become a primary poetic subject. Romantic's poems habitually endow the landscape with human life, passion and expressiveness

- Commonplaceð To choose situations from common life and ordinary things, the language really used by men.

- Supernaturalð To achieve wonder by a violation of natural laws. Mystery, magic, superstition... are used to impress the reader, the sense of occult powers and unknown models of being

- Individualismð An immensely higher stimate on human personalities and powers.


He was born in Cockermouth in west Cumberland. Educated at Saint John´s College, University of Cambridge. During school vacation periods he visited places like France, and after receiving his degree he returned to France where he became an enthusiastic of the french revolution ideals.

He had a close friendship with Coleridge. They collaborated in a book of poems entitled “Lyrical ballads” 1798 (speaks about the new poetry of powerful feelings and also he need to write about simple people in simple language).

He got married with a lake countrywoman he had known since childhood and he became more conservative and became poet Laureate (official poet of the reign).

Most of Wordswoth´s greatest poetry had been written by 1807 when he published “poems in two volumes and after the excursion 1814".

As he advanced in age his poetic vision and inspiration was dulled, his later, more rethotical meralistic poems cannot be compared to the lyrics of his youth.

The prelude 1850 ð It expanded gradually; expontanious creation; he works by successful borradors.

Two sorts of poetry: 1.- memories of early experience; 2.- reflection upon them

It was meant to be an introduction for a poem. It is autobiographical poem in blank verse. It's about how he developed as a poet.

Other details: breaks with the past because he begins with his wandering in his rivers, memories and meditations mixed. The most important thing is nature, the personal development is connected with the nature and it has a transcendental meaning.

The poem begins: was it for that; it can refer to the introduction or the poem in itself. There is a perfect connection between nature and himself. He thought the river gave him knowledge about writing be a poet


He was born in Devonshire (South west of England). He went to Cambridge, but he wasn't a good student because of politics, alcohol and bad affair, and left university.

He was a supporter of the French revolution. He wanted to create a democratic community with the name of Pantisocracy. The thing didn't go well and Coleridge´s radicalism waned and he became a conservative.

He met wordsworth in 1795, he thought that Coleridge was the best English poet since Milton. Between 1797-98 they lived and worked together, then came the publication of “lyrical ballads”(1793).

He had been taken opium and he became an addict. In 1804 he went abroad to Malta and worked there for two years as the assistant of the governor of Malta, also Italy. Two years late he came back and problems grew: drug addicted, separated and went to live with Wordsworth family. Under these conditions Coleridge´s literary efforts were little short of heroic, he wrote for newspaper, he distributed a periodical, “the friend”

In 1816 he took up residence at Highgate under supervision of the physician James Gillman, it was the most sustained period of literary activity, he published “biographia literaria” (about literary criticism, especially of Shakespeare). “Zapulya” (a drama), a book consisting of the essays in the fiend, two collections of poems...

He died from a heart failure leaving many friends. He was a writer of great ambition but little work to offer. Now is considered a poet of great originality and an influential critic.

While he was writing Kubla Khan, he was living with Wordsworth 1792 but it was published in 1860. This poem was an experience of china. It is an experience of death and life, beginning and end, diabolic things. It is a visionary poem so we can't find rational explanations about it. The poem has two parts: 1º the poem itself 2º.- a reflection upon that vision, images of an eternal cycle, beginning and end, beauty and darkness, paradise and hell. 1st stanzas: description of a paradise. 2º stanzas it's violence and sex.

WILLIAN BLAKE (1757-1857)

His only formal education was in art. He worked as an engraver. At 24 he married with Catherine Boucher. He was a supporter of the French revolution. When he moved to a cottage at Felphan he had an altercation with a private in the Royal Dragons. He brought charges that Blake had uttered seditious statements about king and country. The event exacerbated Blake's sense that ominous forces were at work in the contemporary world and led him to complicate the symbolic obliquities by which he veiled.

He was a difficult man, angry, moody and liked shock people. He was against authority and he didn't change during his life, this is he didn't have much success in life.

- Blake's first book of poems was “Poetical Sketches” (1783): showed us dissatisfaction with the reigning poetic tradition and his restless quest for new forms and techniques.

- for lyric models he turned back to Elizabethan and early seventeenth-century poets; he also experimented with partial rhymes and novel rhythms and employed bold figures of speech taht at times approximate symbols.

His poetry is to see only abstraction from an integral and mutually enlightening combination of words and design (relief etching)ð“songs of innocence”(1794) and “songs of innocence and experience (1794), the tyger and London”

In his sixties Blake gave up poetry to devote himself to pictorical art

“The lamb”: Almost like a song for children, very simple, fluent, easy to read.

“Giants forms”: about human history and his experience of life, it is a complete mythology.


He was educated at Eton and Oxford, he was a rebel and non-conformist. He always fought against injustice. When he was 18, he and his closest friend Thomas Jefferson wrote “The necessity of Atheism”, and he was trough away from the university. He married when he was 18. He moved to Dublin and he took part in the movement for Catholic emancipation. He separated from his wife and he eloped with Mary Wollstonecraft, they went to France. He was considered in England an Atheist, revolutionary and inmoralist.

In 1818 he left England and never came back, then they went to Italy and travelled to several places around Italy. He is the poet of the hope. He connected poetry with social freedom and hope for mankind.

ðIn his poems we find:

The limits of certain knowledge; His refusal to let his intuitions and hopes harden into a philosophical or religious creed; The redemption of life by love and imagination is a moral obligation

He wrote:

- “Prometheus Unbound”: a lyrical drama and a political allegory.

- “The Cenci”: (1819) is a tragedy for the theatre

- “A defence of poetry”

- “Ode to the west wind”:(1819) - I: leaves - II: clouds - III waves / the wind as the force of regeneration. That sweeps away all that is old, rotten, corrupt.

JHON KEATS (1795-1821)

His father worked in a stable of horses (humble origins) At the age of 14 he became an orphan. He started to study as apothecary but influenced by Hunt he left everything for poetry. He started to write at 18 until 24. He became ill with ulcerated throat, he had an affair but he couldn't marry because he was poor.

He wrote:

- “Endymion” (1818): It is an allegory of a mortal's quest for an ideal feminine counterpart and a flowless happiness beyond earthly possibility.

- “Hyperion” (1818-19): Conceived on the model of Milton's Paradise Lost, epic poem.

- “The eve of St. Agnes” (1819) -“La Belle Dame sans merci” (ballad)

Ode to a Grecian urn: basic theme: immortality of beauty. He contemplated in the urn young people dancing (idyllic nature). It is a universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife

In 9 months of 1919 he wrote the odes, sonnets, in the winter of 1819 he became ill of tuberculosis and stopped writing. He died in Rome on February 23, 1821.

ðIn his poems we find:

- A gracious, serene, elegant movement

- A detailed description in which all the sense combine

- A delight in the sheer experience of things in a nightingale, an urn (common place)

ðIn his characteristics oppositions:

- Melancholy/delight; pleasure/pain; love/death; feeling/thoughts


He was brought with only his mother, a very possessive mother; very poor. He received a great amount of money from his great uncle and the tittle of Lord. He spent a lot of money during his life, he went to Cambridge university. He was extremely handsome, women ran after him, he had sexual relations with all kind of people. He loved doing nothing, he devoted going out, drinking...

His firs book of poems is “Hours of Idleness”, it was very criticised and in revenge he wrote “English Bards and Scotch Reviewers” (1809).

Byron travelled a lot; to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Albania, Greece, the Mediterranean and got material for his books. When he returned England he published “Childe Harold” (1812): it is about Byronic hero, adventures, travelling. It was very successful. He became very popular. He had a seat in the House of Lords.

When Lady Byron discovered his husband's incestuous relations with his half-siter, Augusta Leigh (The two had been raised apart so they were strangers when they met as adults). He went away of England in 1816 because these scandals. He went to Geneva in the spring of 1816, he rented a house near Shelley and they worked together.

He went to Venice (1817). It was a period of great sexual activity and intellectual activity, he wrote “Manfred” (a poetic drama) and “Don Juan”.

He got involved in the ideas of independence. Greece was occupied for the turques and he organised a little army (the Byron brigade) and went there to prepare these people for the war, but he died before going to the combat. He was considered a hero in Greece.

Byron is the prototype of the romantic poets, because of his life, struggle against the pression and his figure.

He wasn't innovative in literature, he followed neo-classic types. He is considered to be an arch-Romantic. He created the “ruling personage” who was the Byronic hero. This personage is moody, passionate and remorse-torn but unrepentant wanderer.

“Don Juan”: It is the longer satire on the society. It is the excuse for the attack of the society on satire and hypocrisy. At this time it was considered to be against the morals because he had a lot of affairs. D. Juan was very passive, he was forced to do this things by women.

It is a very ironic work in search of sorry, humour, contrast, opposition and contradiction.


JANE AUSTEN (1773-1817)

Her father was a ------- in Hampshire. She had six sister and brothers. She didn't married but she had pretendients. When she died her sister took her letters and all that could be interesting about her private life.

She was very ironic, she had a lot of followers. She wasn't interested in things that were happening in the world in that time (she wasn't interested in the French revolution), she was interested in a microcosm (the provincial middle class). She said in a letter: “3 or 4 families in a country village is the very thing to work on”.

She wrote ironic novels of manners where she examines the behaviour of men and women

Her novels were written between activities of family live. Some of her novels:

“Northanger Abbey (1818)”: Mock of gothic novels.

“Sense and Sensibility (1811)”: Mock of the novels of feelings.

“Mansfield Park (1814)”;“Persuasion”(1818); “Pride and Prejudice” (1813) ; “Enma (1816)”ð Deal with getting married, this was the great ambition of this time. There are groups of families, with daughters and sons, they fell in love with each others, but there was misunderstandings and wrong engages. At the end of the story they chose the best option, there are deceptions.

Austen is considered a pure novelist, she concentrates on human beings and their reactions inside the limits, we seem the relations between the characters and with the central topic and the structure of the novel is deeper than Scott's novels.

Jane Austen as a moralist: she is very critical with silly, affective and pretension people. She hates the snobs. The non-sense of young people is the result of bad education. She values self-command in young ladies, just consideration of others, knowledge of the heart.

He spirit of the time entered in her works to satirise the moral of the time.

WALTER SCOTT (1771-1832)

He was born in Edinburgh, he was an aristocrat. His father was a lawyer and he himself was trained in the law.

He is considered the father of historical novels, he established the form of the historical novels, where we find European history “Rob Roy” (1817) and “The Heart of Midlothian” (1818), based on the Scottish history; “Ivanhoe” (1819), English history; “Quenting Durward”: French.

He went to Medieval History in his novels which had a lose structure. The plot is not very well stablished in the sense that the parts weren't connected. His main achievement was the history in his novels

Enviado por:Luis Piedra
Idioma: inglés
País: España

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