Individualism, Nature, And Emotions Of The Romantic Period

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Oscar Wilde once wrote, “Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known,”(Wilde) which describes the Romantic period very well; it was a period focused on individualism, art, and emotion. In hopes of breaking away from the new ideas of urban living, industrialization, and rationalism many authors turned to the likes of nature and individualistic thoughts and ideas, leading to a literary period referred to as the Romantic period. The Romantic literary period began towards the end of the eighteenth century as a revolt against the values of right and reason which were widely celebrated during the Enlightenment literary period. During the Romantic period, many authors resorted to expressing their emotions through means of …show more content…
Readers were able to connect with the writing and relate to it. It often connected to the side of emotion where personal decisions and strong feelings came before rationality and reason no matter how irrational the act was. In many literary periods before the Romantic period, emotions were often overlooked or disregarded, the Romantic period was the first to create a more authentic sense of human characteristics and emotions. As one of the first horror authors, Mary Shelley explored new ideas of human nature and emotion in her novel Frankenstein in which she tells the story of betrayal and the emotions of a creation that longs to be treated fairly, it is a great example of emotionalism in the Romantic period. In Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Thomas de Quincey discusses the emotional attachment to a young orphan, he feels sorrowful about the fact that he cannot help her. Later in the book, de Quincey gets very attached to a 16 year old prostitute in London, he eventually falls in love with her, much of the strong emotion in the novel is fueled by either love or …show more content…
Opium caused vivid hallucinations and visions which many authors and writers used as inspiration for their work.Keith Humphreys in his article “A Review of Confessions of an English Opium-Eater”, he discusses the addictive nature of De Quincey’s severe opium addiction stating that Some of the most famous opium influenced authors were William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, both of which influenced Thomas de Quincey to write Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, the first lengthy autobiographical account of a drug addiction. Although it is not considered a major Romantic work, and rather a “footnote to the likes of Wordsworth and Coleridge”(Psychedelic Press UK), Confessions of an English Opium-Eater gives readers insight into the opium culture of the Romantic period. Opium causes the user to have a high and a crash, which can often send the user into a state of unhappiness or depression. Referred to as the “Pains and Pleasures” of opium (Humphreys) throughout the novel, pleasured are described as making situations more colorful, surreal, and beautiful; while the pains include the desire to quit but the inability to do so, vivid nightmares, and the regret of not giving the proper attention to his loved ones, whom of which are never mentioned in the novel (Humphreys).

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