British Literature:The Romantic Period 1798 – 1832

A.Historical Context

  • Napoleon rises to power in France and opposes England militarily and economically
  • Gas lamps are developed
  • Tory philosophy that government shouldn’t interfere with private enterprise
  • Middle class gains representation in the British parliament
  • Railroads begin to run

B.Style/Genre

  • Poetry
  • Lyrical ballads

C.Themes/Content/Influences

  • Introduction of Gothic elements and terror/horror stories and novels
  • In nature one can find comfort and peace that the man-made urbanized towns and factory environments can’t offer
  • Evil attributed to society not to human nature
  • Human beings are basically good
  • Movement of protest: a desire for personal freedom
  • Children seen as hopeless victims of poverty and exploitation

D.Authors

  • Jane Austen
  • Mary Shelley
  • William Blake
  • S.T.Coleridge
  • Lord Byron
  • John Keats
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