THE ROMANTIC PERIOD
POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC CHANGES
Romantic Period began with the 1789 French Revolution and ended with the 1832
In this time, England changed from an agricultural to an industrial nation.
In the September Massacre, French aristocrats were punished by the new invention, the
Napoleon Bonaparte takes charge of France in 1804, and after a 22 year war with
England he was defeated by the English navy.
The Industrial Revolution marked the emergence of factories and machines, and the
increase in the production of goods.
In laissez-faire economics, the government’s “hands off ” approach led to the rich
getting richer and the poor getting poorer.
THE TERM “ROMANTIC”
Romantic signiﬁes looking backward and forward, and also beginnings and endings.
The Romantics wanted to recompense for the destruction of youth optimism caused by
England’s resistance to change.
MEANINGS OF “ROMANTIC”
1. A fascination with youth and innocence, in which one grows up and learns to
trust emotions and sense of will and identity
2. A stage in the development of societies, in which people need to question
tradition and authority in order to imagine better
3. A need for people’s stronger awareness of change and trying ﬁnd ways to adapt
to that change
INTERRELATIONSHIP OF NATURE, THE MIND,
AND THE IMAGINATION
3 DIFFERENT VIEWS OF NATURE
The Ecological view - nature is the agent of death
The Enlightenment view - nature is beautiful
The Romantic view - nature and the human mind act upon each other
Romanticism: a time of change, capturing youth and innocence, and questioning
The Romantics: also known as the nature poets, they were inspired by nature,
thrived on the idea of the imagination, and prized idealism: a quest for change;
comparable to the American Transcendentalists.
Lyrical Ballads by Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth started the whole
Romantic Period. It inspired change and was written in a different style than
William Wordsworth was the ﬁrst born and last to die of the Romantics. He deﬁned
many elements of romanticism.
“Poetry is the spontaneous overﬂow of powerful feelings; it takes its origin from emotion recollected in
tranquility.” - William Wordsworth
In the poem, a man is walking and seems overwhelmed by many daffodils dancing in
the breeze in the ﬁeld. He doesn’t realize the daffodils’ true beauty until later, sitting
around with a vacant mind.
In relation to Wordsworth’s quote, he was in a state of tranquility when suddenly the
daffodils came back to him, inspiring powerful feelings about the ﬁeld. Then he writes
ODE: INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY FROM
RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY CHILDHOOD
Meaning of the title: our memories from childhood give us signs of immortality
later in life.
In this poem, the term “intimations” refers to signs, hints, or clues.
Wordsworth capitalizes words like Child, Children, and other products of nature in
order to signify their importance.
STANZAS 1-4: DEVELOPING THE PROBLEM
The man in Wordsworth’s poem is contrasting his relationship with nature as a
child to his relationship as a man and realizes that nature hasn’t changed, it’s
him. He has lost the innocence of childhood in nature: the wonder, awe, and
Stanza 4 in particular points out many beautiful things in nature but he can’t see
the amazement. He has lost something from his childhood.
STANZAS 5-8: RESISTING
Stanza 5: Our soul existed in Heaven before our bodies. He concludes that the
soul is eternal both before and after birth, and as we grow up we lose the soul
eternal before us.
Stanza 6: The “Nurse” is Earth. Earth does what it can to make us forget where
we came from and the life before.
Stanza 7: Children grow up fast by pretending to be adults, which helps the
adults lose connection to nature.
Stanza 8: Childhood, or Children, are referred to as the “Philosopher,” the
“Prophet,” and the “Seer blest.”
STANZAS 9-11: ACCEPTING AND GROWING
In these stanzas, he comes to accept what has happened to him.
Stanza 10: Compensation for the things he has lost - knowing that he had the
connection once and it’s still there, and adults have a higher capacity when
seeing someone suffer (compassion towards others), the hope of everlasting life,
and knowing that wisdom comes with age.
Stanza 11: Celebratory of his discoveries
The virtuous of the world saves the wicked
Good vs. Evil
Important absences of people
The color white
Use of snakes and other reptiles
The bedroom scene
It’s midnight. Christabel walks into the woods to pray because her knight lover is
away. She comes upon a woman in white, and skin whiter than her clothing behind
an oak tree. Geraldine says she was kidnapped by men on white horses, and
Christabel invites her inside the castle for protection.
Clues Geraldine is Evil
1. Christabel’s dog growls at them as they pass
2. Geraldine was weaker outside the castle because she could not enter
uninvited; once in the premises, she feels better
3. Geraldine sinks to the ﬂoor once Christabel lights a lamp
4. Geraldine’s eyes light up (scarily), and they pass a ﬁreplace which only
brieﬂy emits a ﬂame
5. Geraldine refuses to pray with Christabel once inside the castle
PART ONE, CONTINUED
Christabel offers wine that her (dead) mother made. The spirit of the mother is still
around. Geraldine talks to something not physically present - we assume she is
telling Christabel’s mother to leave.
Geraldine tells Christabel to undress and get in bed. As Christabel can’t sleep, she
turns and sees something horriﬁc on Geraldine. Geraldine gets into bed with
Christabel and imposes a spell on her that does not allow her to tell anyone about
Geraldine’s body deformity (or whatever it is).
Christabel ﬁrst notices that something is wrong when she sees that Geraldine looks
better than she did the night before. Christabel verbally says that she has sinned,
because she let evil in the house.
Sir Leoline, Christabel’s father, recollects knowing Geraldine’s supposed father,
Lord Roland. They haven’t talked in several years because of a rumor. Leoline
thinks that Geraldine would be a good tool to rekindle their friendship.
Leoline sends for Bracy the Bard to go to Roland and tell him about Geraldine.
Bracy recounts a dream he had that night about an evil in the forest that he wanted
to sing away. A dove named Christabel was moaning under the oak tree in the forest
as a snake strangles her. Bracy woke up at midnight. Leoline takes the dream to
mean the dove is Geraldine and the snake represents the kidnappers. It is enough to
convince Leoline to provide protection for Geraldine.
Geraldine crosses her arms around her chest and Christabel sees snake eyes.
Christabel desperately asks her father to get rid of Geraldine, in her mother’s name.
Leoline is ashamed of Christabel’s behavior and thinks she is jealous. He then
walked away from Christabel, who is on the ﬂoor, and went away with Geraldine.
PART TWO CONCLUSION
Coleridge talks about a little child, the father’s love for the child, and cruelties of
love and the relationship.
RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER
Coleridge’s framing device for this poem is the Wedding Guest, apparent in the
beginning, end, and sometimes in the middle. The mariner’s “glittering eye” keeps the
The mariner and the crew are sailing towards the South Pole. They come across an
Albatross, which is important because it is capitalized. When the Albatross stays
around, the ice melts and the wind blows them away from their misery. The
Albatross is then seen as a good omen, but the mariner shoots it down for no
The crew is mad at ﬁrst, but then the breeze was favorable and the fog they were in
was lifted. But by praising the mariner’s deed, the crew also became accountable to
the consequences. Eventually they were out at sea with no more breeze, a pounding
sun, and nothing to drink. The crew cursed the mariner and forces him to wear the
Albatross around his neck.
The mariner sees a ship with only ribs and two ﬁgures, who we ﬁnd out are Death
and Life-in-Death. Death and Life-in-Death are gambling; Death wins the crew and
Life-in-Death wins the mariner. Life-in-Death represents a punishment worse than
The mariner realizes that even in death, the crew is beautiful while the creatures on
the sea are “slimy.” The mariner tries to pray, but his heart cannot get the prayer
out. At night, looking out at the sea, he sees the creatures dancing in the light and
now considers them beautiful. When he realizes this the Albatross falls off his neck
and he’s able to pray again.
The mariner knows who to tell about his story because he can pick out people who
need to hear it. The lesson is that the best prayer is the appreciation of nature.
HYMN TO INTELLECTUAL BEAUTY
ODE TO THE WEST WIND
TO A SKYLARK
WHEN I HAVE FEARS THAT I MAY CEASE TO BE
The basic fear in this poem is the fear of dying. Keats knows that he will end up dying
from tuberculosis and this poem is very relatable to his life. It is written in
Shakespearean sonnet form.
1st quatrain: he will not have time to write what he wants to write
2nd quatrain: he’s worried he won’t be able to ﬁnd his own great love
3rd quatrain: he’s talking to his lover, worried that he won’t be able to see her anymore
Couplet: he knows he will be alone, and comes to an understanding that love and fame
are not the most important things in life
ODE ON A GRECIAN URN
Keats makes the point that the urn is poetry in itself. He is talking to the urn (an
The urn depicts a pastoral scene, with men/gods chasing the women, who are loathing
towards the men. A man on the urn is playing music. Keats notes that unheard sounds
are sweeter because it’s whatever he imagines it to be.
Though the men will never get the girls, the girls will always be young and the
men/gods will always have love since the carving/painting will forever remain on the
THE EVE OF ST. AGNES