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Lecture 5

5.1. The Romantic Age is a term used to describe life and literature in England in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Many of the most important English writers of the period turned away from the values and ideas characteristic of the Age of Reason toward what they perceived as a more daring, individual, and imaginative approach to both literature and life.

In general, the Romantic writers placed the individual, rather than society, at the center of their vision. They tended to be optimists who believed in the possibility of progress and improvement, for humanity as well as for individuals; thus, most espoused democratic values.

One of the most significant aspects of nineteenth-century English life was the slow but steady application of the principles of democracy. England emerged from the eighteenth century a parliamentary state in which the monarchy was largely a figurehead. The English Parliament was far from a truly representative body, however, until, after years of popular agitation, Parliament finally passed the First Reform Bill of 1832. This bill extended the franchise, or right to vote, to virtually all the middle class; it did not enfranchise the working class.

Gradually English society began to awaken to its obligations to the miserable and helpless. Through the efforts of reformers, the church and government assumed their responsibilities. Sunday schools were organized; hospitals were built; movements were begun to reform the prisons and regulate the conditions of child labor.

The effects of revolution abroad, the demand for a more democratic government, and a growing awareness of social injustice at home were all reflected in a new spirit that over a period of years affected practically every aspect of English life.

The Romantic Age in England was part of a movement that affected all the countries of the Western World. The forms of romanticism were so many and varied that it is difficult to speak of the movement as a whole

The literature of this brief period has about it a sense of the uniqueness of the individual, a deep personal earnestness, a sensuous delight in both the common and exotic things of this world, a blend of intensely lived joy and dejection, a yearning for ideal states of being, and a probing interest in mysterious and mystical experience

5.2. Robert Burns

Robert Burns (1759-1796), is the national poet of Scotland. He wrote brilliant narrative poems, such as "Tam o' Shanter", and clever satires, including "The Holy Fair", "Address to the Deil", and "Holy Willie's Prayer".

Burns was interested in authentic folk songs. He collected about 300 original and traditional Scottish songs for books compiled in his day, including "The Scots Musical Museum" (1787). Burns wrote many poems to be sung to Scottish folk tunes. He adapted some of his best-loved songs, including "Comin Thro' the Rye", from bawdy lyrics. Others, such as "A Red, Red Rose", he pieced together almost entirely from songs by other writers. But even those works that Burns adapted from other sources have qualities uniquely his own.

5.3. William Blake

William Blake (1757-1827), was a brilliant yet unconventional English poet, engraver, and painter. His symbolic pictures and visionary poems are not always easy to understand because Blake developed an elaborate personal mythology that underlies virtually all the symbolism and ideas in his works. Blake's writings and pictures reveal how a powerful artistic imagination can mold the world in its own image.

Blake is best known for "Songs of Innocence" (1789) and "Songs of Experience" (1794). In these works, he shows, in such contrasting poems as "The Lamb" and "The Tiger", symbols of what he calls "the two contrary states of the human soul". His "prophetic" works include "The French Revolution" (1791), "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" (about 1793), "America" (1793), "Milton" (about 1810), and "Jerusalem" (about 1820).

5.6. Sir Walter Scott

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), was a Scottish romantic writer. He created and popularized historical novels in a long series of works called the "Waverley" novels. In such novels as "Ivanhoe", "The Heart of Midlothian", and "The Talisman", Scott showed his unique genius for recreating social history. He arranged his plots and characters so the reader can enter into the lives of both great and ordinary people who were caught up in violent, dramatic changes in history.

The Waverley novels. After the publication of his first novel, "Waverley", in 1814, Scott devoted himself primarily to fiction. Scott's progress to historical novels was natural. His talents as a storyteller and as a creator of character, as well as his gift for realistic Scottish dialect, could never find full expression in poetry.

"Waverley" describes a Scottish rebellion against England in 1745. The novel was published anonymously, without the benefit of Scott's name. However, the book was a success. From 1814 to 1832, Scott published 27 other novels, four plays, and much nonfiction

5.7. Lord Byron

Lord Byron (1788-1824), was the most colourful of the English romantic poets. Many people find his adventurous life as interesting as his poetry. Byron often set his poems in Europe and the Near East, and they reflect his own experiences and beliefs. His poetry is sometimes violent, sometimes tender, and frequently exotic. But the underlying theme is always Byron's insistence that people be free to choose their own course in life.

Byron's poetry. "Hours of Idleness" is mainly a collection of the learned and romantic poses expected of young poets at that time. In "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers", however, Byron adopted the biting, satiric style used by the poet Alexander Pope in his "Dunciad";

Byron wrote the first two cantos of "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" as a fictional allegory using the stanza form and many features of the literary style of the Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser. This work and the sequence of "Turkish Tales" (1813-1816) that followed defined the character type known as "the Byronic hero". This character is the melancholy, defiant, proudly self-assured man associated with Byron and widely imitated in later literature. In canto III (1816) and canto IV (1818), Byron identifies himself with Harold and through him expresses the loss and defiance the poet felt while living abroad.

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29 Кб, 9 марта 2014 в 20:13 - Россия, Москва, МЭГУ, 2014 г., doc
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