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Thread: First and second generation romantics?

  1. #1

    First and second generation romantics?

    Hey! Im new to these forums, I hope yall can help me out.

    Heres my problem, Im in an english class in highschool (of course! hah) and my english teacher simply cannot teach, We would spend 10 minuets going over a poem or two, and then for the rest of the period we just talk about whatever, sometimes will put music in, or someone will find a movie or something.

    At one point 40/50 people were failing. ANYWAYZ

    After someone tried to still our upcomming exam (succesfully I might add) he changed our exam into a 3 essay, one on the first generation romantics, and another on second generation romantics (the third on the victorians, but im ok there)

    I recently found my notes, and it says
    1st generation Romantics
    Wordsworth
    Coleridge

    2nd generation Romanitcs
    Byron
    Shelly
    Keats

    Ok, now here comes my question. Whats the difference between first and second generation romantics. What ideals, or writing styles, or anything seperates the two.

    thanks! i really appcirea it!

  2. #2
    When learning this deviation, I also found it quite difficult to comprehend.
    First Generation Romantics, also known as 'the Lake Poets,' all of them mostly originating in the same Lake District of Northwestern England, such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, and Robert Southey, focused, I believe, more on the unity between intellect and emotion, what many thinkers previously thought impossible and ridiculous.
    Second Generation Romantics, greatly influenced by their first generation, seemed more enveloped in passion and emotion, incorporating so much more into intuitive thought, the supernatural, and exotic, greatly influence, also, by classical Greek and Roman literature. This era seemed primarily dominated, as you mentioned, by Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats.
    One, in my opinion, could not call second generation necessarily less 'intelligent,' due to focusing more on emotion, than first generation, but I like to think that the latter era, though I love them both equally, merely encompassed more compassion.
    Oddly, certain poets of the era seem somewhat left out, either fitting in both categories or none, such as William Blake, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning, Robert Burns, Dante Rossetti, William Morris, and A.C. Swinburne. Anyone could certainly label all of the preceding Romantics, but somewhat . . . vigilante.
    Welcome to the forum.

  3. #3

    appreciate it!

    thanks! that helps a lot. I actually have a good idea on where to start studying now.

    Any more idea on where I can gather more information? With these essays, the more detailed the better. I cant say no to good quality information! If anyone has anything else better to add, id be welcomed to hear it.

    Although its significantly more cleared up for me now

    thanks! appreciate it!

  4. #4
    where would Emerson and Thoreau fall in this scope?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd
    where would Emerson and Thoreau fall in this scope?
    Very good question, Nerd, but I would like to think that Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and, another contemporary of theirs, William Ellery Channing, all uniquely belong in their own category as 'transcendentalist' poets.
    In my opinion, they mysteriously fit in both of the categories of first and second generation Romantics, but concluded in inventing their own sect of amazing poetry!

  6. #6
    plz help me with the style and language of Lord Byron . plz , its very important , i need to do my term paper

  7. #7
    Outlook Gloomy Neely's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ICANSEEYOU7687 View Post

    I recently found my notes, and it says
    1st generation Romantics
    Wordsworth
    Coleridge

    2nd generation Romanitcs
    Byron
    Shelly
    Keats

    Ok, now here comes my question. Whats the difference between first and second generation romantics. What ideals, or writing styles, or anything seperates the two.
    I wouldn't worry about the generation thing, essentially they are just labels put upon the poets. Any differences tend to lie with the poets themselves and not the fact that Wordsworth and Coleridge were born a little earlier.

    You might want to look at the Lyrical Ballads written by Wordsworth and Coleridge, though all the poems bar Rime of the Ancient Mariner are Wordsworth's (STC contributed by adding the title too). If you read the advertisement in LB written by Wordsworth then you can clearly see what is being attempted by Wordsworth here, namely the break from poetry being seen as representative of middle to upper circles only. In the advertisement in LB Wordsworth states that most of the poems should be "considered as experiments" as he gives voice to outsider figures, traditionally seen as "low" people: peasants, aged workers, beggars, children etc, the form of these poems are clearly written to these voices too, sometimes in highly simplistic verse. Though STC spilt with Wordsworth over this idea of writing and went his own direction.

    Really, the differences between the big six, the other being Blake, are quite striking. Each one of them has a unique style. In reality you should treat them as different and not group them together at all. You would be hard pressed arguing differences and similarities between the first and second generations and no profit would come from this, in my opinion. If you had to compare between them I would choose Lyrical Ballads, as I have said, and any one of the other poets (choose keats ) but be aware you would only be comparing two poets and not the different generations, that's just a label.

    Also it might be interesting to explore the difference between Wordsworth and Keats with Keats's idea of negative capability in mind. You could look at the use of Wordsworth's first personal style and Keats's removal of the self. Here at least you have an obvious difference in writing style between the two poets, though there are many, many things you could do.

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  8. #8
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    I personally like to think of it as Wordsworth and Coleridge (and the invisible Blake) as breakaways from 18th century poetry, and then Keats, and Shelley as breakaways from Wordsworth. Byron was very 18th century in many ways, so he seems the balance between them. He, I would argue, is best when he is being witty, and in many ways has more in common with Alexander Pope than any of the other Romantic Poets, especially in Don Juan.

    His Romanticism comes, however, in the sort of fantastical, outsider blending that embodies his heroes, in addition to his romantic perception of nation and of women. In many ways, he is quite idiosyncratic.

    But yeah, the generation bit essentially amounts to those who saw the transition in France from pre-revolution, revolution, Napoleon, and then a return, verses those who were born after the revolution failed. In essence though, virtually all post-Wordsworth English poets were romantics, or had aspects of romanticism. The concept of Nation, after all, seems introduced within Romantic poetry, and has stayed with us forever, so it is quite easy to say Yeats was a romantic, which I would argue he was.

    The difference between Romantic poetry, and I guess what we'd call post-romantic poetry, in essence is simply a loss of faith, and a heightened sense of pessimism.

    But back on topic, don't worry too much. Just note that Keats, Shelley and Byron saw themselves as going away from the others, because they innovated in new directions, whereas Wordsworth stayed rather static after 1807. The poetics of Keats are less accessible in many ways, and rely more on the readers effort than any Wordsworth poem. I know that the friend of Tennyson A. H. Halam wrote a very influential piece on the subject, back in mid-19th century. If you can dig that up, it will probably give you a better sense of the 19th century perspective.

  9. #9
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    Dont you ever feel that the major contribution of Byron to the romantics was the personification of the ideal, while Coleridge and Wordsworth kept yet the distance from their products - someshort of meditative philophical approach - more germanic than anything else? (Blake not included, as if he was some short of alternative culture)...
    I think Keats was the sensible enhacement of Coleridge-Wordsworth works, he just seems to be more able to produce poetry from anything - he didnt need the social view of Wordsworth, so he could work with language and symbolism, and he could find easier the strangeness of Coleridge's Mariner (not to mention, that Keats worked a lot...)...maybe I just his fan...

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