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Romantic Writers Are Social Critics

In: English and Literature

Submitted By shaneikafrancis
Words 949
Pages 4
Shaneika Francis
Romantic writers are Social Critics
British Literature II
02/09/2012

The romantic period, like all literary periods, is a reaction to what came before it. Unlike most literary periods, it was an almost complete rejection of the immediate preceding period. They rejected nearly every idea from the enlightenment/neoclassical writers and artists. Hence, the writers of this period were often social critics. Three authors whom fall into this category are William Wordsworth, William Blake, and Matthew Arnold. This period is believed to be the most drastic reaction in literary history.
Wordsworth's preface of 1800 has been recognized as the first text of English Romantic criticism. In his "Preface to Lyrical Ballads" of 1800, William Wordsworth had similarly proposed a transformation of poetry that would correspond to the "revolutions not of literature alone, but likewise of society itself" (245). Such thinking presupposed that separation between the classifications of politics and literature by the end of the eighteenth century had already formed. He said that in his poetry he wanted to represent "incidents and situations from common life." He said he wanted to use a "selection of language really used by men." Wordsworth may seem to focus on nature, but he is actually using nature to comment on society. By pointing out certain aspects of nature he is able to study the issues that are created as society drifts farther and farther away from a more natural way of life. His work goes beyond simply pointing out the beauty and tranquility of nature to his readers and incites them to consider many issues of social responsibility not only that which society has toward nature, but our social responsibility to each other as human beings. This is explained in of his earlier works, "Lines Written in Early Spring."(250). The poem begins with the reader being...

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