British Romanticism

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Even today, man finds himself asking, "What is beautiful?" Many would point to nature when prompted with such a question; however, few realize that a similar question was posed and a similar answer given back in Romantic Great Britain, but to a whole new degree. British Romanticism was a reaction against technology as well as a cry to turn back to the beauty of nature, and its advocating troops held no more than a pen and paper in hand (Lorcher). Authors of the Romantic era used literature to open the eyes of a society bogged down by the chaos and clutter of everyday life, and the ideas that they promoted still affect man to this very day.

The Romantic Movement spans approximately from 1783 to 1832 (Bernbaum). This was a time of political change as the 1800 Act of Union merged the Irish Parliament with the Parliament of Great Britain to form the United Kingdom; but Great Britain's economy experienced even more drastic turmoil than its government (Biagini). The Industrial Revolution, Romanticism's bitter enemy, also encompassed this period, beginning around 1780 as technology usage spiked and Great Britain's economy became increasingly industrial. With all sorts of new technology came more efficient ways of producing goods. Just as a single example, Britain's production of crude iron leapt from 30,000 tons per year in 1760 to one million tons per year in 1810 (Dewald)! This is the atmosphere into which Romanticism entered, as both a strong reaction against the encroaching world of technology and an appeal to return to simpler times when nature was still revered.

Romanticism was far from an anti-modern, nostalgic belief that merely wished to return to the 'good old days'; it was so much more. Douglas Bush offers one of ...

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