“She saw no comfortin refusing to questionthat about which shewished most to be sure.” ~Marianne Moore, after reading Emily Dickinson
Classicism and Neo-ClassicismClassicismAs a critical term, a body of doctrine thought to be derived from or to reflect thequalities of ancient Greek and Roman culture, particularly in literature,philosophy, art, or criticism. It is commonly opposed to Romanticism andRealism, although these terms overlap in their “characteristics” and are notmutually Exclusive. It is dangerous to classify writers or types as perfectexponents of classicism. Ben Jonson, for example, was a self-proclaimedadvocate of classicism as a critic and dramatist, yet his Classical Tragedy,contain non-classical elements, such as Comic Relief. Likewise some of the“romanticists” of the eighteenth century cultivated Classical qualities, just assuch a “neo-classicist” as Alexander Pope exhibited some “romantic” traits.Neo-ClassicismThe period in English literature between the return of the Stuarts to the Englishthrone in 1660 and the full assertion of Romanticism which came with thepublication of Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth and Coleridge in 1798. It falls intothree relatively distinct segments; the Restoration Age (1660-1700), and theAge of Johnson (1750-1798).
Romanticism in England: 1789 – 1830 Lyric BalladsSamuel Taylor Coleridge William Wordsworth
Romanticism in England: 1789 – 1830 LONDON: J. and A. ARCH, 1798 Lyric Ballads William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Lyrical Ballads.The poets William Wordsworth) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge first met in Bristol inAugust 1795. The most fruitful period of their association came two years later, when theylived within walking distance of each other in western Somerset, Coleridge with his wifeand infant son at the small village of Nether Stowey, Wordsworth with his beloved sisterDorothy at nearby Alfoxden. Although in later life Wordsworths politics became increasinglyconservative, at this stage of his career he shared Coleridges republican zeal. Both poets wereconvinced of the need to replace the artificial diction of late eighteenth-century verse with afresher language more attuned to everyday speech.In financial strife, Cottle changed his mind about publishing after all the pages had beenprinter and transferred the edition of about 500 to the Arch brothers of London, who replacedthe original title-page with one bearing their imprint. Despite some negative reviews, the booksold well enough for revised two-volume editions to prove viable in 1800, 1802 and 1805.These added a lengthy introduction and many new poems by Wordsworth but only onefurther poem (‘Love’) by Coleridge. Deemed too obscure to be an inviting opener, ‘TheAncient Mariner’, which had pride of place in 1798, was moved further back in subsequent editions.
Romanticism in England: 1789 – 1830 Lyric Ballads Imagination! Lifting up itself Before the eye and progress of my Song Like an unfather’d vapour; . . . . . . In such strength Of usurpation, in such visitings Of awful promise, when the light of sense Goes out in flashes that have shewn us The invisible world, doth Greatness make abode, . . The mind beneath such banners militant Thinks not of spoils or trophies, nor of aught That may attest its prowess, blest in thoughts That are their own perfection and reward, Strong in itself, and in the access of joy Which hides it like the overflowing Nile. (The Prelude, VI, 591-614) ~ William Wordsworth
Romanticism in England: 1789 – 1830 Rime of the Ancient Mariner Lyric Ballads Samuel Taylor Coleridge was an English poet, Romantic, literary critic and philosopher who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was one of the founders of the Romantic Movement in England and one of the Lake Poets. He is probably best known for his poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, as well as his major prose work Biographia Literaria. His critical work, especially on Shakespeare, is highly influential, and he helped introduce German idealist philosophy to English-speaking culture. He coined many familiar words and phrases, including the celebrated suspension of disbelief. He was a major influence, via Emerson, on American transcendentalism. Samuel Taylor Coleridge(21 October 1772 – 25 July 1834)
Romanticism in England: 1789 – 1830 Tintern Abbey Lyric BalladsWilliam Wordsworth was a major English Romantic poet who, withSamuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in Englishliterature with the 1798 joint publication Lyrical Ballads. Wordsworths magnum opus is generally considered to be The Prelude, a semi-autobiographical poem of his early years which the poet revised and expanded a number of times. The work was posthumously titled and published, prior to which it was generally known as the poem "to Coleridge". Wordsworth was Englands Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850. William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850)
Emily Dickinson: Romantic Influences Then & Now"I have said that poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its originfrom emotion recollected in tranquility: the emotion is contemplated till, by a species ofreaction, the tranquility gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that which wasbefore the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced, and does itself actually exist inthe mind."The Poet "considers man and nature as essentially adapted to each other, and the mind ofman as naturally the mirror of the fairest and most interesting properties of nature."~William Wordsworth
Emily Dickinson: Then & Now A little Road –– not made of Man –– Enabled of the Eye – Accessible to Thill of Bee – Or Cart of Butterfly – If Town it have – beyond itself – ‘Tis that – I cannot say – I only know – no Curricle that rumble there Bear Me – Poem 647 c. 1862 Johnson, 321 (Air)
Emily Dickinson: Then & Now Air has no Residence, no Neighbor, No Ear, no Door, No Apprehension of Another Oh, Happy Air! Ethereal Guest at e’en an Outcast’s Pillow Essential Host, in Life’s faint, wailing Inn, Later than Light thy Consciousness across me Till it depart, persuading Mine – Poem 1060 c. 1865 Johnson, 483 (Air)
Jean Jacques Rousseau: Founder of Romanticism & Anti-EnlightenmentJean-Jacques Rousseau was born on June 28, 1712 inGeneva, Switzerland. His mother died shortly after hisbirth. When Rousseau was 10 his father fled from Genevato avoid imprisonment for a minor offense, leaving youngJean-Jacques to be raised by an aunt and uncle. Rousseauleft Geneva at 16, wandering from place to place, finallymoving to Paris in 1742. He earned his living during thisperiod, working as everything from footman to assistantto an ambassador.Rousseaus profound insight can be found in almostevery trace of modern philosophy today. Somewhatcomplicated and ambiguous, Rousseaus generalphilosophy tried to grasp an emotional and passionate Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778)side of man which he felt was left out of most previousphilosophical thinking.
Romanticism in America: 1830 - 1865 Emily Dickinson & RomanticismEmily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet.Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life. After she studied at the Amherst Academyfor seven years in her youth, she spent a short time at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to her familys house in Amherst. Thought of as an eccentric by the locals,she became known for her penchant for white clothing and her reluctance to greet guests or,later in life, even leave her room. Most of her friendships were therefore carried out bycorrespondence.Although Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearlyeighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime. The work thatwas published during her lifetime was usually altered significantly by the publishersto fit the conventional poetic rules of the time. Dickinsons poems are unique for theera in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slantrhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Many of her poemsdeal with themes of death and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends.
Metaphysical PoetryThe metaphysical poets were a loose group of British lyric poets of the 17th century, who shared an interest in metaphysical concerns and a common way of investigating them.The label "metaphysical" was given much later by Samuel Johnson in his Life of Cowley.These poets themselves did not form a school or start a movement; most of them did not evenknow or read each other. Their style was characterized by wit, subtle argumentations, ”metaphysical conceits", and/or an unusual simile or metaphor such as in AndrewMarvell’s comparison of the soul with a drop of dew. Several metaphysical poets,especially John Donne, were influenced by Neo-Platonism. One of the primary Platonic concepts found in metaphysical poetry is the idea that the perfection of beauty in the belovedacted as a remembrance of perfect beauty in the eternal realm. In a famous definition GeorgLukács, the Hungarian Marxist critic, described the schools common trait of "looking beyond the palpable" and "attempting to erase ones own image from the mirror in front so that it should reflect the not-now and not-here"as foreshadowing existentialism (as quoted inThe Aesthetics of Georg Lukács by B. Királyfalvi (1975). Though secular subjectsdrew them (in particular matter drawn from the new science, from the expandinggeographical horizons of the period, and from dialectic) there was also a strong causalelement to their work, defining their relationship with God.
Emily Dickinson: Then & Now Ashes denote that Fire was –– Revere the Grayest Pile For the Departed Creature’s sake That hovered there awhile –– Fire exists the first in light And then consolidates Only the Chemist can disclose Into what Carbonates. Poem 1068 c. 1865 Johnson, 484 (Fire)
Emily Dickinson: Then & Now You cannot put a Fire out –– A Thing that can ignite Can go, itself, without a Fan –– Upon the slowest Night –– You cannot fold a Flood –– And put it in a Drawer –– Because the Winds would find it out –– And tell your Cedar Floor –– Poem 530 c. 1862 Johnson, 259 (Fire)
Emily Dickinson: Then & Now The smouldering embers blush –– Oh Hearts within the Coal Hast thou survived so many years? The smouldering embers smile –– Soft stirs the news of Light The stolid seconds glow One requisite has Fire that lasts Prometheus never knew –– Poem 1132 c. 1868 (unfinished) Johnson,508 (Fire)
Transcendentalism Brook FarmA reliance on the intuition and the conscience, a form of idealism; aPhilosophical Romanticism reaching America a generation or twoafter it developed in Europe. Transcendentalism, though based on doctrinesof ancient and modern European philosophers (particularly Kant) andsponsored in America chiefly by Emerson after he had absorbed it fromCarlyle, Coleridge, Goethe, and others, took on especial significancein the United States, where it so largely dominated the New Englandauthors as to become a literary movement as well as a philosophic conception.Brook Farm, a celebrated nineteenth-century New England utopian community,was founded by Unitarian minister George Ripley and other progressive,Transcendentalist Unitarians, to be, in Ripleys words, a new Jerusalem,the "city of God, anew." From its founding in 1841 until it went bankrupt in 1847,Brook Farm influenced many of the social reform movements of its day: abolitionism,associationalism, the workingmens movement, and the womens rightsmovement. It represented both a test of Transcendentalist dreams and a challengeto Transcendentalist individualism.
Emily Dickinson: Then & Now Three times – we parted – Breath – and I – Three times – He would not go – But strove to stay. Three Times – the Billows tossed me up – Then caught me – like a Ball – Then made Blue faces in my face – And pushed away my sail That crawled Leagues off – I liked to see – For thinking – while I die – How pleasant to behold a Thing Where Human faces – be – The Waves grew sleepy – Breath –– did not – The Winds – like Children – lulled – Then Sunrise kissed my Chrysalis – And I stood up – and lived – Poem 598 c. 1862 Johnson, 294 (Water)
Emily Dickinson: Then & Now Though the great Waters sleep, That they are still the Deep, We cannot doubt – No vacillating God Ignited this Abode To put it out –– Poem 1599 c. 1862 Johnson, 661 (Water)
NaturalismA term sometimes applied to writing that demonstrates a deep interest in Nature, such as Wordsworth and other Romantic writers had; and sometimes used to describe any form of extreme Realism, although this usage is a very loose one. It should properly be reserved to designate a movement in the Novel. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuriesin France, America, and England.In its simplest sense Naturalism is the application of the principles of scientific DeterminismIn Fiction. It draws its name from its basic assumption that everything that is real exists inNature; Nature being conceived as the world of objects, actions, and forces which yieldthe secrets of their causation and their being to objective scientific inquiry. The fundamentalview of man which the naturalist takes is of an animal in the natural world, responding to environmental forces and internal stresses and drives, over none of which he has controland none of which he fully understands. It tends to differ from Realism, not in its attempt tobe accurate in the portal of its materials but in the selection and organization of thosematerials, selecting not the common place but the representative and so arranging the materialin that the structure of the Novel reveals the pattern of ideas –– in this case, scientific theory–– which forms the author’s view of the nature of experience.
Emily Dickinson: Then & NowMy Garden – like the Beach –Denotes there be – a Sea –That’s Summer –Such as These – the PearlsShe fetches – such as Me Poem 484 c. 1862 Johnson, 233 (Garden)
RealismIn the broadest sense, Realism is imply fidelity to actuality in its representation inliterature; a term loosely synonymous with Verisimilitude; and in the sense it has been asignificant element in almost every school of writing in human history. In order to give itmore precise definition, however, one needs to limit it to the movement which arose inthe nineteenth century, at least partially in reaction to Romanticism, which was centeredin the Novel, and which was dominant in France, England, and America from roughlymid-century to the closing decade, when it was replaced by Naturalism In this lattersince, realism defines a literary method, a philosophical and political attitude, and aparticular kind of subject matter.Realism has been defined as “the truthful treatment of material” by one of its morevigorous advocates, William Dean Howells, but the statement means little until therealist’s concept of truth and his selection of materials are designated. Generally, therealist is a believer in Pragmatism and the truth he seeks to find and express is arelativistic truth, associated with discernible consequences and verifiable by experience.Generally, too, the realist is a believer in democracy, and the materials he elects to describeare the common, the average, the everyday. Furthermore, realism can be thought of as theultimate of middle-class art, and it finds it subjects in bourgeois life and manners. Wherethe romanticist transcends the immediate to find the ideal, and the naturalist plumbs theactual to find the scientific laws which control its actions, the realist centers his attention toa remarkable degree on the immediate, the here and now, the specific action, and theverifiable consequence.
Emily Dickinson: Romantic Influences Then & Now“I have said that this is a poem of exquisite ironies. It is, indeed, through in a verydifferent mode, related to Dickinson’s “little girl” strategy. The woman who feels herselfto be Vesuvius at home has need of a mask, at least, of innocuousness and ofcontainment.” On my volcano grows the Grass A meditative spot – An acre for a Bird to Choose Would be the General thought – How red the Fire rocks below – How insecure the sod Did I disclose Would populate with awe my solitude. ~Adrienne Rich Excerpt from: “Vesuvius at Home - The Power of Emily Dickinson” Poem 1677 c. unknown McQuade, 45 (Volcanoes)
Emily Dickinson: Then & Now The reticent volcano keeps His never slumbering plan – Confided are his projects pink To no precarious man. If nature will not tell the tale Jehovah told to her Can human nature not survive Without a listener? Admonished by her buckled lips Let every babbler be The only secret people keep Is Immortality. Poem 1748 c. unknown Johnson, 708 (Volcanoes)
ModernismModernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. Morespecifically, the term describes both a set of cultural tendencies and an array of associatedcultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes toWestern society in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The term encompassesthe activities and output of those who felt the "traditional" forms of art, architecture,literature, religious faith, social organization and daily life were becoming outdated in thenew economic, social and political conditions of an emerging fully industrialized world.Modernism rejected the lingering certainty of Enlightenment thinking, and also thatof the existence of a compassionate, all-powerful Creator. This is not to say that allmodernists or modernist movements rejected either religion or all aspects ofEnlightenment thought, rather that modernism can be viewed as a questioning of theaxioms of the previous age.
Emily Dickinson: Romantic Influences Then & Now“Dickinson’s poems, her dangers, are also often authenticated by her losses. So many ofthem ––battles with those emissaries of silence which are the ocean, the wind, the light ofday (with its terrible raised expectations – unfulfilled promises –– or vision) and thespeechlessness of pain, of fear –– end on great failures of human speech, victories of “theTooth/That nibbles at the Soul.” It has the last word everywhere, as one can see in theseseven instances: Interrupt –– to die –– ~Jorie Graham Until the Moss had reached our Lips –– Excerpt from: “Some Notes on Silence” And covered up –– our Names –– Withdraws –– and leaves the dazzled Soul In her unfurnished Rooms Then – close the Valves of her attention –– Like Stone –– When orchestra is dumb … And Ear –– and Heaven –– numb –– The Heavens with a smile Sweep by our disappointed Heads Without a syllable –– The Tapestries of Paradise So Notelessly –– are made!
Emily Dickinson: Romantic Influences Then & Now“Punctuation re-invents an original privacy in the social space between words.A dream manages it like this: a woman is about to write something but first sheneeds surgery on her throat. She must drive to a hospital near and ocean. Atthe edge of the ocean she stops: a van has been carried up by the waves andpeople are dragging out a hurt man–– dark, broken into discrete black parts,each shape. Like a punctuation mark: an arm, severed legs, not just two, apenis, a curled piece of chest hair. The helpers put him into a cardboard boxwhere he stays a short time. Soon he is taken out of the Box whole, not brokenanymore. The woman can then write her poem.” ~ Brenda Hillman Excerpt from: A Cadenced Privacy (some thoughts on punctuation in contemporary poems)
ImaginationThe imagination was elevated to a position as the supreme faculty ofthe mind. This contrasted distinctly with the traditional argumentsfor the supremacy of reason. The Romantics tended to define and topresent the imagination as our ultimate "shaping” or creative power,the approximate human equivalent of the creative powers of natureor even deity. It is dynamic, an active, rather than passive power,with many functions. Imagination is the primary faculty for creatingall art. On a broader scale, it is also the faculty that helps humans toconstitute reality, for (as Wordsworth suggested), we not onlyperceive the world around us, but also in part create it. Uniting bothreason and feeling (Coleridge described it with the paradoxicalphrase, "intellectual intuition"), imagination is extolled as theultimate synthesizing faculty, enabling humans to reconciledifferences and opposites in the world of appearance. Thereconciliation of opposites is a central ideal for the Romantics.Finally, imagination is inextricably bound up with the other twomajor concepts, for it is presumed to be the faculty which enables usto "read" nature as a system of symbols.
"Nature" meant many things to the Romantics.As suggested above, it was often presented as Itself a work of art, constructed by a divine Natureimagination In emblematic language. For example,throughout"Song of Myself," Whitman makes a practice ofpresenting commonplace items innature--"ants,” "heapd stones," and "poke-weed"--as containingdivine elements, and he refers to the "grass" as a At the same time, Romantics gavenatural "hieroglyphic," "the handkerchief of theLord." While particular perspectives with regard to Greater attention both to describing natural phenomena accurately and tonature varied considerably--nature as a healing capturing "sensuous nuance"--and thispower,nature as a source of subject and image, nature as a is as true of Romantic landscaperefuge from the artificial constructs of civilization, painting as of Romantic natureincluding artificial language--the prevailing view poetry. Accuracy of observation,s accorded nature the status of an organically unified however, was not sought for itswhole. It was viewed as "organic," rather than, own sake. Romantic nature poetryas in the scientific or rationalist view, as a system is essentially a poetry of meditation.of”mechanical" laws, for Romanticism displaced the rationalist view of the universe as a machine (e.g., the deistic image of a clock) with the analogue of an "organic" image, a living tree or mankind itself.
Symbolism and Myth were given great prominence in theRomantic conception of art. In the Romantic view, symbols werethe human aesthetic correlatives of natures emblematic languageThey were valued too because they could simultaneously suggestmany things, and were thus thought superior to the one-to-onecommunications of allegory.Symbolism & Myth Partly, it may have been the desire to express the "inexpressible"-- the infinite--through the available resources of language that led to symbol at one level and myth (as symbolic narrative) at another.
Other aspects of Romanticism were intertwined with the above three concepts.Emphasis on the activity of the imagination was accompanied by greateremphasis on the importance of intuition, instincts, and feelings, and Romanticsgenerally called for greater attention to the emotions as a necessary supplement topurely logical reason. When this emphasis was applied to the creation of poetry, avery important shift of focus occurred. Wordsworths definition of all good poetryas "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" marks a turning point inliterary history. By locating the ultimate source of poetry in the individual artist,the tradition, stretching back to the ancients, of valuing art primarily for its abilityto imitate human life (that is, for its mimetic qualities) was reversed. In Romantictheory, art was valuable not so much as a mirror of the external world, but as asource of illumination of the world within. Among other things, this led to aprominence for first-person lyric poetry never accorded it in any previous period.The "poetic speaker" became less a persona and more the direct person of thepoet. Wordsworths Prelude and Whitmans "Song of Myself" are bothparadigms of successful experiments to take the growth of the poets mind (thedevelopment of self) as subject for an "epic" enterprise made up of lyriccomponents. Other Concepts: Emotion, Lyric Poetry, and the Self
It is one of the curiosities of literary history that the strongholds of theRomantic Movement were England and Germany, not the countries ofthe romance languages themselves. Thus it is from the historians ofEnglish and German literature that we inherit the convenient set ofterminal dates for the Romantic period, beginning in 1798, the year ofthe first edition of Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth and Coleridge andof the composition of Hymns to the Night by Novalis, and ending in1832, the year which marked the deaths of both Sir Walter Scott andGoethe. However, as an international movement affecting all the arts,Romanticism begins at least in the 1770s and continues into thesecond half of the nineteenth century, later for American literaturethan for European, and later in some of the arts, like music andpainting, than in literature. This extended chronological spectrum(1770-1870) also permits recognition as Romantic the poetry of RobertBurns and William Blake in England, the early writings of Goethe andSchiller in Germany, and the great period of influence for Rousseauswritings throughout Europe.
“Emily Dickinson made as if to lock the doorwith an imaginary key, turned and said:‘Matty: here’s freedom.’”~Adrienne RichExcerpt from: “Vesuvius at Home - The Power of Emily Dickinson”(Mcquade, 33)
BIBLIOGRAPHYBloom, Harold, Ed. Romanticism and Consciousness, Essays in Criticism. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 1970Graham, Jorie.. “Some Notes on Silence) (pp. 173 - 171). McQuade, Molly, Ed. By Herself, Women Reclaim Poetry. Saint Paul: Graywolf Press. 2000Hillman, Brenda. “A Cadenced Privacy (some thoughts on pumctuation in contemporary poems)” (pp. 182 - 186). McQuade, Molly, Ed. By Herself, Women Reclaim Poetry. Saint Paul: Graywolf Press. 2000Holman, C. Hugh. A Handbook to Literature. Based on the Original by William Flint Thralland and Addison Hibbard Third Edition. Indianapolis: The Oddysey Press, A Division of The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc. 1975Leavell, Linda. “Marianne Moores Emily Dickinson.” The Emily Dickinson Journal - Volume 12,Number 2, Fall 2003, pp. 1-20; E-ISSN: 1096-858X Print ISSN: 1059-6879; DOI: 10.1353/edj.2003.0009
INTERNET RESOURCESSamuel Taylor Coleridge Wikipedia.org http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Taylor_Coleridge 2009Metaphysical Poets Wikipedia.org. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphysical_poets> 2009Modernism: Wikipedia.org < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modernism>. 2009Jean Jacques RousseauVoS: Voice of the Shuttle <http://vos.ucsb.edu/> Wikipedia.org http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Jacque_Rousseau. 2009William Wordsworth Wikipedia.org http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wordsworth. 2009
Emily Dickinson & Romanticism Carole S. Mora ENG 475 An Introduction to Emily Dickinson Professor Wendy Martin November 16, 2009 Claremont Graduate University