Romantic Poetry Research Paper

ENG 100 Essay 2: To what extent are Romantic poets influenced by their predecessors? (2500 words) ‘[Romanticism] poses enormous difficulties in its definitions and conceptualisations’
Therein lies the problem; Romanticism as a movement is so multi-faceted, and the poets belonging to it so varied in style and fundamental beliefs, that it is commonly, as Ruston puts it, ‘negatively defined’ . The closest we can come to defining what constitutes “ Romanticism” is by outlining the ‘certain qualities which set it apart from poetry written before it’, which include (but are not limited) to: nature, the self, the role of the poet, the sublime and the supernatural. Keats was no exception to this; much of his work explores the aforementioned themes
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The descriptions of the ‘steadfast’ and ‘patient’ nature of the ‘Bright star’ are included in order to juxtapose Keats’ perception of himself and the subject of the poem. This can be seen to obviously parallel Wordsworth’s ‘Ode: Intimations of Immortality…’ insofar as the natural world functions purely to facilitate Keats’ expression of his own feelings towards the lover the ‘Bright star’ [1] metaphorically represents. This poem may be indicative of Keats ‘los[ing] the ability to forget himself’; however, I feel that the inclusion of the self may not be indicative of Keats’ egotism breaking through, or due to the influence of Wordsworth. ‘Bright Star’ is notable in its structure insofar as it is an adaptation of the popular Renaissance form, the English sonnet. Sonnets of this period were renowned, not only for their use of metaphorical conceit when referring to the lover, but also the egotistical presentation of the poet himself. So, whilst it is possible that ‘Bright Star’ is influenced by Keats’ immediate predecessor, it seems more likely that the majority of the “influence” here is actually from the Renaissance sonnet …show more content…
Bennett’s proposition that Romanticism involves ‘the celebration of nature’ is indisputably true; the reverence of nature is prevalent throughout much of the poetry of both Keats and Wordsworth. In ‘To Autumn’, Keats’ observation of the ‘sweet kernel’ [8] and the ‘plump’ ‘hazel shells’ [7] conjure the image of the rich nature of the season, helping to convey the beauty and bountifulness the poet witnesses around him. But, as previously stated, the poet views the natural world as ephemeral. Indeed, Watson suggests that ‘Keats broods on the passing of beauty’ and, initially, it does seem that Keats sees the natural world as fleeting. Time is omnipresent within this poem; Keats seems preoccupied with the ‘maturing sun’ [2] and the ‘oozing hours’ [22], although the passing of time itself is not portrayed negatively- it is simply observed as something that must occur. This theme similarly resonates through Wordsworth’s ‘Tintern Abbey’. In this poem, we see Wordsworth lament about the ‘long absence’ and the ‘five years passed’ since Wordsworth had seen the landscapes surrounding the abbey. The similarities between their treatment of nature as an ephemeral entity may be considered, therefore, indicative of Wordsworth exercising his influence over Keats. Stillinger suggests that ‘the similarities between subjects and themes’ is the most prominent link between the two writers, and it

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