Characteristics of British Romanticism

Beauty of the Supernatural
British Romantics believed something existed beyond the physical world. The Spirit world, according to Romantics, had unleashed its power and inspiration to overthrow tyranny in government and in literature. British Romanticism’s treatment of the supernatural excluded horror and the macabre and focused on supernatural energy and beauty.

Championing of the Individual
Revolution in Europe brought to light the importance of the individual. Ordinary people now became the subject of lofty language. British Romanticism attempted to free itself from traditional forms and subjects.

The Importance of Nature
The poet, according to the Romantics, is only at peace when in nature; moreover, while in nature, the poet intervened with the great Universal Mind. Romantic poets made frequent use of personification with nature, ascribing human traits to daffodils, fields, streams, and lakes. Nature, in essence, became emotionally expressive.

William Blake
This author’s poetry dwelt upon his divine vision and rebelled against traditional poetic forms and techniques. He created his own mythological world with man as the central figure. His more famous poems include The Lamb, The Tyger, The Chimney Sweeper, and The Clod and the Pebble.

William Wordsworth
The most famous of the British Romantics; this author is considered the nature poet. He revolutionized poetic subjects, focusing on ordinary people in rustic settings. He, in addition, wrote about and considered the poet as superior to all other writers. His most famous poems include I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, We are Seven, and I Travelled Among Unknown Men.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
This author and Wordsworth are often grouped together as The Lake Poets, and for good reason. Together they are credited as the founders of the Romantic movement. This author’s most famous poems, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Kubla Kahn, and Christabel have a distinct supernatural element and strongly influenced American Romantics such as Poe and Hawthorne.

Percy Shelley
Like all Romantics,this author was a radical non-conformist. He campaigned for social justice, even marrying the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft, an English leader in the women’s rights movement. His wife would later write Frankenstein. His most famous poems include Mutability, Ozymandias, and Ode to the West Wind.

John Keats
Perhaps the most popular Later Romantic poet, this author accomplished great things during his short life. His Ode to a Nightingale, Ode on a Grecian Urn, and Ode on Melancholy find their way into anthologies throughout the English speaking world.This author considered contact with poets as a threat to his independence and therefore shunned his contemporaries.