British Romanticism Essay Questions

Romanticism Essay Examples

To say the word Romanticism is to say modern art- that is intimacy

Blake and Wordsworth were both Romantic poets yet their views of London are opposed to each other. What are these conflicting visions of the same city and how do they differ from one another? “To say the word Romanticism is to say modern art- that is intimacy, spirituality, colour, aspiration towards the infinite, expressed by… View Article

Variants in the Romantic Movement

Romanticism began shortly after the French Revolution bringing together both libertarian and egalitarian ideas.  The birth of the romantic movement was in Germany but quickly emerged and incorporated itself into the public conscience of France, England, and eventually the United States in 1820.  Romanticism was a revolt against rationalism and classicism.  The basic tenants of… View Article

Romantic Poets And Vincent Van Gogh

Nature is a formidable presence in the work of Romantic poets, who considered it a force for renewal, inspiration, destruction, and transcendence.  William Wordsworth considered nature a vehicle for inspiration.  “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” demonstrates his ability to derive deep thought from nature, and in “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey,”… View Article


The age of man is rife with varying motivations and personal reasoning. Over millions of years, life shifted from mere survival, with our minds drawn to food and shelter, into times of political intrigue and welfare reform. Buried in the layers, the Age of Enlightenment and the (difficult to define) Age of Romanticism are found…. View Article

Enlightement And Romantic Thinkers

Despite sharing some similarities, the Enlightenment and Romantic movements differed sharply in terms of their character and values. While the former movement embraced a balanced, sober mindset oriented toward harmony and productivity, the latter reacted by espousing the dramatic, exotic, unconventional, and uncultivated. The Enlightenment, which dominated the eighteenth century, embraced a logical, rational world… View Article

Ten Paintings of Romanticism

Romanticism has flourished in the years 1800’s to 1900’s. Romanticism in the arts particularly in the visual arts is characterized by a revolt against rationalism and classicism movement. The usual approach of the artist in their artwork is about imagination and subjectivity. Intense emotion and elusiveness is attributed to romanticism. Also, paintings in the romantic… View Article

Analyzing Theodore Roethke

Drawing together separate but sympathetic poetic traditions from the Elizabethan Romantics as well as American transcendentalists, Theodore Roethke is concerned by many critics to be an exemplary poet in the Romantic tradition, one who retained a self-identity while treading perilously close to the role of a poetic imitator. In some ways it is Roethke’s uncanny… View Article

An Interpretation of John Keats’ To Autumn

Introduction Poems by John Keats are a source of inspiration. He plays with his readers and takes them to places and times with his words. What inspiration does Keats bring? He inspire his readers to go beyond his words and discover a new world he creates. He makes his words so colorful and alive it… View Article


Professor Ann Woodlief describes American Romanticism by saying, it “developed its own character, especially as these writers tried self-consciously to be new and original. ” In this statement, Woodlief argues that the American romantic authors strove to distinguish some differences between American and British Romanticism. The two forms of writing were already very similar, so… View Article

Romanticism, Its Influence on French Revolution

Romanticism evolved in response to the French Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment that followed. Rather than focus on reason and rationality to explain man, romanticism focused more on emotions and feelings to explain nature and portray them. Inspired by the ideas of Jean Jacques Rousseau romanticism emerged as a reaction to 18th-century values, asserting… View Article

Poetry Appreciation

In this essay I am going to compare and contrast ‘When we two parted’ a poem of George Gordon, Lord Byron’s written in 1815 and Letitia Elizabeth Landon’s ‘Love’s last lesson’ written in c1838, both poets are British and of the romantic period. ‘When we two parted’ is an elegy of the loss of love,… View Article

Romantic Poetry Characteristics

Romantic poetry gives more importance to passionate display of emotions. The study of the romantic poetry characteristics, throws light on the different features being incorporated. Have a look… Romanticism in poetry arose in response to the enlightenment ideals that prevailed in the 18th century. This form of poetry emphasizes on emotions rather than reason. William… View Article

Short history of literature

The purpose of this course is to encourage you to gain an insight into, and broad awareness of, the development of English literature from its perceived origins in the ninth century until the end of the nineteenth century. Attention will be paid not only to influential writers and movements, but to themes such as the… View Article

Rip Van Winkle

Freedom brings happiness. This is a major message shown in the story Rip Van Winkle. Rip Van Winkle is about a man who slept through the American Revolution for twenty years. During those twenty years he slept, his village and the whole country underwent a major change that affected the future of America. Written during… View Article

Causes and Effects of the Romantic Period

Romanticism has very little to do with things popularly thought of as “romantic,” although love may occasionally be the subject of romantic art. Rather, it is an international artistic and philosophical movement that redefined the fundamental ways in Western cultures thought about themselves and about their world (Melani). In the early seventeenth and eighteenth centuries… View Article

This section contains descriptions of the two essay assignments for the course.

Essay One

For your first assignment, please write an essay (approx. 5-7 pages) focusing on one poem (or two sonnets) by Lloyd, Smith, Seward, Wordsworth, or Coleridge. You certainly may - though you are not required to do so - refer to additional poems or to Wordsworth's Preface to Lyrical Ballads if it will help you illustrate a point. Keep in mind, though, that your essay should be conceived as an exercise in close literary analysis, and should present a coherent and contestable argument about the poem under examination. What appear to be the larger themes or preoccupations that emerge from a close reading of the poem? What were the poet's probable aims in writing the poem, and how are these aims expressed? What is the relation between the "meaning" of the poem (its thematic or symbolic content) and its formal features (such as genre, rhyme, meter, imagery, etc.)?

Wherever possible, focus on key passages that offer a particularly fruitful way to frame or address a question about the poem under discussion. Be as specific as possible, and develop your argument out of your reading of the text. Make sure that your quotations do some "work" for your argument: do not, in other words, use quotations merely to illustrate an otherwise self-evident point; by the same token, do not presume the self-evidence of your quotations, but describe what significance the quoted passage has within the whole or in the context of your argument.

This essay is due in Week 6.

Essay Two

For your second essay assignment, write an 8-10 page essay on one of the following topics. While your first essay explored a single poem in some depth, your second essay should have a comparative emphasis - that is, you should focus on and develop an argument out of a reading of two or (at most) three texts. Think of this as a variation on the "compare and contrast" essay, where you draw relationships and distinctions between a few texts, and consider what may be learned by reading these texts as formulations of or responses to a single issue or problem. Considered loosely as a group, what may these works teach us about your chosen topic and about the period of British Romanticism more generally? For each topic, I have listed some authors that you might consider; feel free to choose others if you wish.

  1. Many of the texts we've read this semester have described the exercise of reason in relation to some other human faculty or condition (emotion/passion, imagination, madness, etc.). Write an essay reflecting on the opposition between reason and its others in at least two of the following authors: Wordsworth, Wollstonecraft, Robinson, and Percy Shelley. What is the status of reason relative to other human faculties? Are these faculties necessary to each other, mutually reinforcing, or absolutely opposed?
    • A related topic, but one that you are welcome to approach independently if you wish, concerns the relationship of Romantic writers to science and/or scientific knowledge. From Wordsworth's critique of murderous dissection to Frankenstein's monster, the literature of Romanticism is clearly skeptical of much scientific activity. Yet many writers of the period describe poetry and science as profoundly compatible enterprises. Discuss Romantic attitudes towards scientific pursuit and understanding in the work of at least two of the following authors: Wordsworth, Hazlitt, Keats, and Mary Shelley.
  2. The period of Romanticism is characterized not least by the frequency and force of claims made in this period on behalf of the poet and the faculty of imagination. Analyze these claims, and the relationships between them, in works by two or more of the following authors: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, and Hazlitt. What sort of power is imagination, and what are its effects? What are the grounds upon which the poet is claimed to be a privileged figure in the modern world? And what are the difficulties facing the poet (and the imaginative faculty more generally) in that world?
  3. While many of the texts we've read seem, at one level, to celebrate the joyous potential of individuality, discussion of these same texts has often led us to consider the limitations of autonomous selfhood. Write an essay on the problematic nature of individuality in two or three texts, including The Prelude, Frankenstein, and Keats's "Ode to a Nightingale."
  4. As a fourth alternative, you may write an essay on a topic of your choice, provided that you meet with me in advance to discuss your ideas for the topic.

This essay is due in Week 14.

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