Thomas Gray

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During the second half of 18th century a great number of poets with the label graveyard poets arose with a shared interest in mortality and the afterlife. The most predominant of these poets was a poet by the name of Thomas Gray. Thomas Gray as a graveyard poet was a precursor to the romantic period and gothic trends of the 19th century, and with very little writing raised into popularity with his work the Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, which reflected on the shared mortality of man and the motivations of death. Gray often times displays values that go against the grain of the powerful at the time. A great deal of Grays life though was spent being a scholar and wrote so little due to his response to criticism and often times would prevent …show more content…
Gray was individual very concerned with beauty he saw throughout nature and spends his time touring Europe and gains the opportunity to experience great scenery that would inspire Gray. He “Wrote only about things that moved him… Things like gothic castles, wild mountain vistas, and the annals of the poor.”(Critical survey), these traits would be most often associated with that of a romantic yet Gray kept a certain scholarly attitude about him and would keep it that way for the rest of his life. Yet even if he considered himself a non-romantic poet, Gray would lay some of the foundation for the future of the romantic/ gothic period. Within Gray’s most popular work, the Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, romantic views of the world can clearly be seen. Perhaps the greatest connection that can be seen within the Elegy would be the villagers within the poem. Each time Gray refers to the countryside, and its people, it has a certain positive quality given to it and often “both pities and admires their circumscribed lives” (Padgett, p. 397). When Gray refers to the villagers he gives them a sentimental and warm feeling to convey his positive association with the countryside and its …show more content…
It is here where Gray began work on his most popular work an Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, and would not finish the work until 1751. Gray’s work “Established his reputation as an important poet” (Hagar, p. 121) and would be his one main claim to fame. Within the Elegy Gray “intends to present members of the lower class as being more worthy of praise than their upper class counterparts” (Milne 79) , as he goes to glorify the pleasures of the countryside against that of the cities. Yet as he does this he maintains a sort of pity for the lower classes, the villagers, even though they maintain the pleasures of the countryside, have severe loss in potential due to their lower access to intellect, and Gray, a heavily intellectual type, takes this in pity. The observer within the poem fits into neither category of the “vain glorious” upper class or “quiet community” of the villagers (Kastan, p. 460-461). Instead the observer fits into an interesting perspective in between the two classes, and allows Gray an opportunity to offer up some insight in what mortality enables man to seek in life. The speaker of the poem “goes through a process of recognizing what is important to him” (Napierkowski, p. 79) and recognizes that he seeks fulfillment through achievement and being remembered for something. Grays scholarly nature is revealed within

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