Memory, Experience, and Subjectivity in Romance Era English Literature

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During the reading of Renaissance era literature the impact of large cultural changes begin to be reflected in more vivid and less empirical ways. The literature of this period makes many claims to how societal forces, and perhaps existence in the “real” world itself corrupts the “being”, as well as inspecting the positives and negatives of a society in which the meaning of the word value has completely changed how it means to exist. With these changes however, I found the Renaissance era to be very interested in this concept of value and existence, and how those forces interact with internal perception. In this essay, I will look to explore how the prose artists as well as the poets explored the concepts of the inner mind in relation to …show more content…
The Romantic writers however, changed literature through poetry and new forms of fiction to a more exploratory form, perhaps to recover a sense of loss inherent in the modernization of society, but also perhaps to explore themselves and their peers in the new and foreign world where importance was based more on individual aspirations than inherent and unchangeable predeterminations.
To start, I will look to one of the more vivid examples of the exploration into the depths of perception and subjective interpretation of experience, Thomas de Quincy. In Opium Reveries and Dreams from Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, de Quincey shines a light on how individualism can create “value” through how the real world is interpreted, and in this case reinterpreted. De Quincey’s reveries reflect that the “real” world impacts us deeply, as we can evidently tell in the physical and reactively mental realm, but also the internal operations in reaction to “reality” also shape how we perceive and interpret our reality. In de Quincey we can see how memory and experience shade how we see and organize the world (and ourselves), even while we are unaware of it. While he was helped by the laudanum in experiencing his hallucinations, the concepts he retrieves from the “real” world he sees and subsequently what he values from those experiences bring him alternately closer and further from the things he desires from the world. The appearance of the Ann character in his visions, who he

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