ENGLISH ROMANTIC MOVEMENT

MA English Part 2 Notes Essay | ENGLISH ROMANTIC MOVEMENT

The French Revelation is a world even rather than a domestic event of French. It opened a new epoch in the social, political, economic and literary history of Europe. It produced a tremendous effect particularly on the romantic movement. The revolution profoundly influenced every sphere of the world history. The three watchwords of French Revolution namely, Equality, Liberty and Fraternity have moulded the fate of many a nation and also greatly affected the thoughts, philosophy and politics of Great Britain. The main idea of revolution was equality Mankind was conceived of as one brotherhood. The essential oneness of man in-all countries and climates was realized. “Humanity was conceived of as a universal brotherhood. Every member of this brotherhood has an equal right to freedom from oppression, to happiness, and to equality of opportunity. All divisions, classes and differences made by birth, rank, wealth or power should be completely swept aside as irrational. Another idea behind the revolution was that of liberty. The revolution itself was a protest against oppression and exploitation. The old fortress of Bastille, long used by French King as a prison, had become a symbol of oppression to the revolutionaries. The Paris mob rose on July 14, 1789, and stormed the fortress, that was the beginning of the end of the old order, based on suppression of liberty.”

The true meaning of the word “Romanticism lies in the durative of the several words: romance, Romanesque, romantic. They all refer ultimately to the vernacular tongues of the people inhabiting southern Europe after the break down of the Roman Empire and the decay of the classical Latin. This is why we have today in European universities, department of romance languages. Similarly, Romanesque defines a style of architecture prevailing in that time and place. The noun romance indicates a story writer in the vernacular. Hence it is likely to be simple in style, popular in appeal, and characterized by a mixture of factual detail and adventurous doing.

The revolutionaries of the French Revolution were also visionaries. They sow the vision of the universal regeneration of mankind, of a golden age not lost and gone, but still to come. The philosophers proclaimed the right of all mankind to completion and perfection in the Golden Age. The imagination of the Romantics was set ablaze by the French Revolution. (exclusively mentioned above) “They felt as if they were living in the twilight of a new Dawn in human history. Just as the earth and the sky wore a new aspect for the Romantics as a result of the events of July 14, 1789. for them, it heralded the beginning of a new era, of the golden age of mankind. The Sun, the Moon, the Stars, the Sky, Nature, man, human nature, itself assumed a new aspect, as the bell of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality.”

The material revolution in French was preceded by a revolution in the realm of ideas. French thought, which set the pace of Europe, had taken the tone of free criticism. According to Danton, “the Republic was in men’s minds twenty years before it was established.” Long before the fateful meeting of the Estate-General, the philosophers Voltaire, Rousseau, and Montaigne had exposed the hollowness of ancient regime, the injustice of privilege, the misery for which the nobles were responsible, and the inequality for which the nobles were responsible. There were quite a number of intellectual leaders who brought in revolutionary changes in the English literature.

1.    Voltaire

He is regarded in French as the most French of all their men of letters. His sole is the French ideal of writing, clear yet coloured, strong and simple, always with the witted and lightest touch, yet rising with a noble subject into noble heights. To this style of his, forever modulating, every kind of literature came-alike histories, stories, letters, satires, epigrams. Above all, it lent itself to that supreme power of raillery which gained for him the name of the great Mocker-raillery against the things, he hated priests, kings, tyrants and oppressors; against the enemies of the things he fought he fought for God, love, pity, liberty of thought and action, the right of every man to call his soul his own. He may be called, with some propriety, the Swift of France. Like Swift, he mocked and railed; as with Swift, the vast bulk of his themes were but of passing interest and are now left unread; like Swift, his most enduring works are satires in the form of stories. Gulliver’s Travels have their counterpart in Candide and Zadig.

2.    The Encyclopaedists

The new leads, the new knowledge, the whole spirit of revolt against misgovernment and superstition, found expression in the pages of the famous encyclopedia, the first volume of which was published in Paris in 1751 and the final volume in 1772. This great enterprise owed its existence to the energy and courage of Dennis Diderot; who was born in 1913. It covers the whole area of human thought and activity. It emphasizes the triumphs of science and asserts the democratic doctrine that it is the common people in the nation whose lot ought to be the main concern of the nation’s government. The encyclopaedia naturally gave offence to the upholders of the old order, and the later volumes had to be produced clandestinely, and in constant fear of police interference, and’ at the end, Diderot Suffered the mortification of having all his proofs mutilated without his knowledge by a timorous printer.

3.    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Rousseau gave a blow to the Divine Right Theory, established the people and advocated the theory of the sovereignty of the people. His social contract has been described as the Revolution. His epoch-making mark is “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” He knew hardly any history, or he would have realized that man has been born free in few ages of the world. But re knew just enough to search back for his ideal free land to those faraway times before man was civilized and was therefore presumably unaffected and natural. The theory of the Social Contract is that all governments should be based on the consent of the governed. The people are the sovereign, and the will of the people must be carried out by the king. It should be the people, and the on duty of the state should be to look after and educate all its citizens. The Social Contract was the gospel of the Jacobins and Saint Just and Robes Pierre moulded has legislative decrees on Rousseau’s teaching. Rousseau has been described by Professor Sainsbury as, A describer of the passions of the human heart and of the beauties of Nature. He was the direct inspirer of the men who made the French Revolution and the theories of his Social Contract were closer at the root of Jacobins politics than any other. His fervid declaration about equality and brotherhood, and his sentimental republicanism, were used as well suited to the soil in which they were soon as Montesquie’s reasoned constitutionalism was unsuited to it.”

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