Monday, 19 November 2012

THE THREE TRENDS IN ENGLISH ROMANTIC POETRY - NOTES

John Constable

In the second half of the 18th century the new  trends in poetry  had bonds to the Augustan tradition but proposed new ideas and feelings which paved the way to the Romantic generations of poets.
1.       PASTORAL POETRY
Cottage-Girl-with-Dog-and-Pitcher-largeMain representative: William Cowper (1731-1800)
Main work: The Task (1785)
·         Reacted to the social changes taking place in the country with a re-evaluation of rural origins and a sense of melancholy and sadness
·         Praised country life for its simplicity, free from the corruption of urban life
·         God made the country, Man made the town” (famous aphorism by Cowper)
Cowper anticipated Wordsworth’s conception of Nature as friend and moral guide
2.        OSSIANIC POETRY
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-  Main representative: James Macpherson (1736-1796) 

- Main achievement: Fragments of ancient poetry (1760)

- Collected and published some of Ossian’s works; the authenticity of the work was controversial
·   -   He claimed it was a cycle of poems by a legendary Irish warrior called Ossian who lived in the 3rd century in Scotland
·        -  The collection got a wide European success
·    -  Nocturnal setting; wild gloomy nature; melancholy and  suffering resulting from war and unrequited love
     
3.   THE GRAVEYARD SCHOOL
  

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 :
- Melancholic tone
-  Cemeteries, ruins, stormy landscapes as the setting of their reflections on                                                             life, death and the destiny of Man
Main representatives:

Thomas Gray (1716 – 1771)   ELEGY WRITTEN ON A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD   (1751)
Edward Young (1683 – 1765)         NIGHT THOUGHTS ON LIFE, DEATH AND IMMORTALITY 

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