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2HISRORY AND ANTHOLOGY OF ENGLISH KITERATURE

By Shawn Russell,2014-06-25 02:02
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2HISRORY AND ANTHOLOGY OF ENGLISH KITERATURE

    History & Anthology of

    English Literature

    Book II

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    Teaching Notes

    Lecture One

    The Romantic Period

    (17981832)

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    From the publication of

    Lyrical Ballads by

    Wordsworth & Coleridge in

    1798 to the death of Sir

    Walter Scott in 1832, a new

    movement appeared on the

    literary arena. The essence of

    this new movement is the

    glorification of instinct &

    emotion, a deep veneration of

    nature, and a flaming zeal to

    remake the world.

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1.Historical background

    The political & social

    factors that gave rise to the

    Romantic Movement were

    the three revolutions. Under

    the influence of the American

    & French revolutions,

    national liberation

    movements & democratic

    movements swept across

    many European countries.

    England was no exception.

    Though the movement allied

    hand in glove with the

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reactionary forces on the

    Continent, political reforms &

    mass demonstrations

    violently shook the very

    foundation of aristocratic rule

    in England.

    No less important were the consequences of the

    industrial revolution. It

    brought great wealth to the

    rich & worsened the working

    & living conditions of the

    poor. With the invention of

    new machines, many skilled

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workers were replaced by

    women & children, and

    working hours for young

    children lasted fourteen to sixteen hours a day. Ignorant of the real causes that brought them such disaster, workers in various places attributed their miseries & growing poverty to the introduction of the new machines. Hence there broke out a machine-breaking

    movement, called the Luddite movement, named after Ned

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    Ludd, who in a fit of temper, destroyed some stocking frames in 1779. Workers organized themselves & gave voice to their distress by breaking machines. The riots lasted from 1811 to 1818. The government took repressive measures against it.

    2.Intellectual background

    The shift in literature

    from emphasis on reason to instinct & emotion was

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    intellectually prepared for by a number of thinkers in the later half of the 18th century.

    Rousseau(17121778),

    the French philosopher, is generally regarded as the father of Romanticism. He rejects the worship of reason. Reason, he maintains, has its use, but it is not the whole answer. In the really vital problems of life it is much safer to rely on feelings, to follow our instincts and

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    emotions. He contrasts the freedom & innocence of the primitive men with the

    tyranny & wickedness of civilized society, and even insists that the progress of learning is destructive to human happiness. He

    preaches that civilized man should ―return to nature‖, to a primitive state of life. He praises the natural man as ―the noble savage‖ & attacks the civilized man as ―the

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    depraved animal‖. The New Heloise (1761) & Emile (1762) sowed the seeds of

    Romanticism.

    Another thinker who

    contributed to this shift of

    emphasis from reason to

    instinct & emotion was

    Edmund Burke (17291797). As a political philosopher, he

    is known for his Reflection on the Revolution in France (1790), in which he

    repudiates the revolution,

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