Tuesday, June 26, 2018

ROMANTICISM | Literary Theory

ROMANTICISM

The definition of the term 'Romanticism' has occasioned a good deal of controversy among literary critics. There are many critics who believe that in literary theorizing and imaginative literature we come across not one particular Romanticism but several Romanticisms. This point of view is very cogently argued in A.O. Lovejoy's essay, 'On the discrimination of Romanticisms'. This view is grounded in a sound truth about the essential nature of Romanticism. As we shall see later, Romanticism places the greatest emphasis on individuality and the subjective dimension of human experience.


This stress on individuality implies the autonomy of every individual and the consequent variety and difference. The cardinal Romantic belief that every individual is different from every other individual justifies the, assertion that there cannot be any one Romanticism but several Romanticisms. This very fact, however, helps us define the common characteristic or characteristics of Romanticism. Viewing man as an autonomous and individual entity, as Romanticism in all its various forms does, entails a particular view of human life and man's relationship and external reality.
Rene Wellek is, therefore, right in identifying certain common features which define Romanticism. In his view it is a compounded of a particular view of imagination, a particular attitude to nature and a particular style of writing.
The political dimension of Romanticism arises out of the very affirmation of individual worth that Romantic poets and critics make from time to time. It begins with the affirmation of the worth of the common man and leads to the affirmation of universal brotherhood. Imagination, in this view, is a mysterious creative faculty of which all arts including literature are, in a way, an expression and which, in the end, determines man's relationship with external reality. To these common characteristics we should also add the historical fact that we generally associate the rise of Romanticism with nineteenth century Europe.romanticism, literary theory, english literature, romantic literature, Lord Byron, Wordworth, British Literature, Ugc Net english notes, myexamsolution

That, however, does not imply that Romanticism was something altogether new. the Romantic instinct has always presented side by side with another instinct termed as the classical instinct which places more highlighting on external reality and views art as a reflection on this reality.

Western critical horizon

The Western critical horizon was, however, dominated from the Greek and the Roman classical times up to the eighteenth century by the view of art which accords primacy to external reality. The Romantic impulse was either excluded or assimilated into this predominant tendency as an unrecognizable component. In the neo-classical age this approach was further strengthened by the ebullient and overconfident scientific materialism. Aristotle, Horace and Quintilian continued to be the undisputed masters and law-givers in the realm of art. The neo-classical emphasis, in addition to the unquestionable principle of mimesis fell also on the end that art was supposed to serve - the Horatian prescription that it should aim at delight and instruction. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, however, we witness the beginnings of an orientation of attitudes and values questioning the basis of the imitative-rationalist aesthetic and paving the way for the Romantic view of life and art. The movement of Enlightenment and writings emanating from what is known as 'Sentimentalism' strengthened this tendency.

THE ROMANTIC THEORY OF ART

The theory of art emerging from this epistemology places the whole emphasis on the inner dimension of the individual artist. It rejects the mimetic conclusion that art 1s imitation or at best an interpretation or that poetry is a matter of wit which makes up agreeable pictures and pleasant visions by combining different ideas. Art is not imitation or interpretation; it is not the presentation of a basic universal norm or the denominator of a type but creation in the most significant sense. Poetry is the expression of the inner man and if at all it reflects external nature it is external nature modified by imagination. The poetry is not, as Aristotle thought, 'formal', determined by what the poet imitates, nor the poetry, as the realistic critics believe, 'final', resolute by the ends that poetry is supposed to serve. The cause of poetry is 'efficient', determined by the inner impulse and creative imagination of the poet. The emphasis on expression, on the inner being made outer, is the common denominator of the various definitions of poetry formulated by the Romantics although they differ on points of detail.
Wordsworth defined poetry in his idea of Romanticism, as 'the impulsive overflow of powerful feelings'


Coleridge, in 'Of Poesy of Art', remarks that all fine arts are a revelation of the inner world of man; Shelley defines poetry as 'the expression of imagination'
Byron says in his idea of Romanticism that the poetry is the lava of imagination whose eruption prevents an earthquake. Byron was the very famous romantic poet in English literature.
Central to the Romantic or expressive theory of art is a cluster of ideas which, in practice, are woven together, but for our convenience they are discussed here separately. These are the ideas of Imagination, Inspiration, Organicism and Emotion as the principles of integration in art.

IMAGINATION

Poetry was regarded as craftsmanship whose mastery depended on following certain rules. Critics like Boileau and Racine sought to lay down, once for all, standards of lasting validity in arts. The writing of a book was often compared with the making of a clock or an engine.

ROMANTICISM : FORMS OF POETRY

In the Romanticism, The diverse elements of a work of art are mingled together, according to the Romantics, by an informing and dominating passion or emotion. Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley and Keats express this in their different ways and Coleridge uses a very cogent analogy to explain this. In a letter to Southey he compares the operation of emotion or feeling in a poem with the movement of breeze through the leaves. He believes in mechanism, in the theory of the association of ideas, to explain the movement of the leaves without presupposing the existence of the breeze.

Romanticism : Coleridge

In his Biographia Literaria, Coleridge completely explains how the existence of an emotion in a poem contains to an artistic combination while its absence spells chaos. As a result of the Romantic emphasis on subjectivity, individualism, emotion and inspiration the forms of poetry also underwent a thorough revaluation. All forms of art are determined by the aesthetic that underlines them. That aesthetic is, in turn, significantly related to its intellectual and socio-cultural background. The Greeks regarded gods as supreme and man as a puppet of fate and attached utmost importance to the reality that lies outside of us. Therefore, the drama, mainly tragedy, was the highest art form with them.
Coleridge clarifies how the existence of an emotion in a poem leads to an artistic combination when its lack of spells chaos. As a result of the Romantic emphasis on subjectivity, individualism, emotion and inspiration the forms of poetry also underwent a thorough revaluation. All forms of art are determined by the aesthetic that underlines them. That aesthetic is, in turn, significantly related to its intellectual and socio-cultural background.

Romantic Poets and Poetry

The Greeks regarded gods as supreme and man as a puppet of fate and attached utmost importance to the reality that lies outside of us. Naturally, so, the drama, mainly tragedy, was the highest art form with them. In the post-Renaissance Europe the spirit of quest and adventure not only informed forms of art but also drastically modified them. The pragmatic and mechanical outlook of the neoclassical age effected a corresponding modification in art-forms. Epic, prose-satire, comedy of manners and long, didactic, verse 'essays' suited the new temperament. From the Romantic point of view, the centre of interest was man and not the external reality and this led to a total revaluation of the existing art forms. Blake found the conventional modes of expression acting as a clog upon free expression. In Jerusalem, Plate 3, he, therefore, announced that he was discarding the neo-classical verse-forms as 'fettered poetry', and 'fettered poetry fetters the human race.'
Wordsworth's 'Preface' to the Lyrical Ballads is, from one point of view, a manifesto of the new aesthetic of free expression. It laid emphasis on spontaneity, sincerity and natural expression of feeling in place of artificiality and conventionality. Coleridge buttressed the new aesthetic by laying its philosophical foundation through his active-projective view of human mind, his theory of creative imagination and his idea of organicism.


For Romanticism, the different ways Byron, Shelley and Keats - all highlight honesty and strength as criteria of value. So, literary kinds and their ranking undergo a drastic revision. The lyric now becomes the poetic norm as it accords best with the Romantic view of poetry as self-expression. Coleridge and Mill regard the lyric as the most poetic of all forms of poetry. 
If you have any questions so let us know through Comment
Literary Theory& Criticism 



If You Want More Notes For UGC NET Prepration So Mail Us : Myexamsolution@gmail.com
YouTube : My Exam Solution
WhatsApp Us : 8130208920

0 comments: