Feminism and romanticism


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Feminism and romanticism

  1. 1. Feminism and Romanticism
  2. 2. Rise of Romanticism <ul><li>Romanticism was a literary movement occurring at the end of the 18 th century, and into the very beginning of the 19 th century. </li></ul><ul><li>Three criteria of Romanticist literature: </li></ul><ul><li>--valuing of self as subject-matter </li></ul><ul><li>-- valuing of emotion over reason </li></ul><ul><li>-- interest in the exotic, bizarre, extraordinary </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>The Romanticists saw nature as the catalyst for imaginative experience. </li></ul><ul><li>Art was not merely mimetic (mirroring) reality, but rather produced through the imaginative process within. </li></ul><ul><li>Nature provides the context for transcendent experiences. Connecting with nature is connecting with something larger than oneself. </li></ul>
  4. 4. First Generation Romanticists <ul><li>William Wordsworth </li></ul><ul><li>Samuel Taylor Coleridge </li></ul><ul><li>William Blake </li></ul><ul><li>They shared in common a sympathy towards the French Revolution. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>The French Revolution was the defining historical event of the end of the eighteenth century in Europe. </li></ul><ul><li>The Romanticists embraced the democratic goals of the French Revolution, by attempting to make their literature ‘democratic’ through their diction and syntax – a poetry of the people. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>The Romanticists rejected 18 th century Neoclassicism, with its controlled, rational, emotionless and formulaic poetry. </li></ul><ul><li>First generation Romanticists saw revolution as the state of romance on earth, a new kingdom on earth. </li></ul><ul><li>Or, as Wordsworth puts it, the “mystic marriage” between the mind and nature </li></ul>
  7. 7. Second Generation Romanticists <ul><li>Lord Byron </li></ul><ul><li>Percy Bysse Shelley </li></ul><ul><li>John Keats </li></ul><ul><li>These Romanticists were writing after the French Revolution. </li></ul><ul><li>They are exiles from England, living in Europe. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>The second generation Romanticists saw man in opposition to nature. </li></ul><ul><li>Man was in quest for an absent ideal. </li></ul><ul><li>Both generations took the view that the poet is isolated, introspective, subjective </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Christianity is secularized in Romanticist literature. </li></ul><ul><li>Common themes in Romanticist literature: alienation and exile, death and rebirth, self-consciousness. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Wordsworth was an idealist, with faith in nature and the perfectibility of man. </li></ul><ul><li>The second generation of Romanticists were skeptics, distinct in their pessimism compared to the failed ideals of the first generation. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Romanticist Sisters <ul><li>Dorothy Wordsworth </li></ul><ul><li>Joanna Baillie (Scottish) </li></ul><ul><li>Mary Tighe (Irish) </li></ul><ul><li>Mary Wollstonecraft </li></ul><ul><li>Mary Shelley </li></ul><ul><li>Emily Bronte </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Percy Bysse Shelley, in Defense of Poetry , appropriates the metaphor of female procreativity to describe his creative process </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on exoticism, fear of female power (Keats) and interest in the Satanic hero (Byron). </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>How would we define “feminine Romanticism”? </li></ul><ul><li>Critic Ann Mellor: it is an alternative to the radical social transformation of male romanticists. </li></ul><ul><li>If a man were to make “the tranquility of his domestic affections” his first priority, there would be no empires, and therefore no wars. </li></ul><ul><li>Mellor: The system should have a mother as well as a father. </li></ul>