The Importance of Romanticism in Literature

827 Words4 Pages
The Importance of Romanticism in Literature In Wordsworth’s “The World is Too Much With Us” can be seen all the classic signs of the Romantic movement of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century well embodied, complete with a near-worship of nature (“Little we see in Nature that is ours…for this, for everything, we are out of tune”) that was perhaps an understandable reaction to not only the classicism of the prior era, but the sociopolitical realities of the day (such as the French Revolution), a sort of intellectualized version of the hippie movement of 1960s America. Clearly, Wordsworth here is taking a typically Romantic view of the social order and what remained acceptable norms even in religious view (“I’d rather be a Pagan…so might I…have glimpses that would make me less forlorn…”), and a kind of individual, internal, take on the acquisition of truth that echoed the ultra-romanticism of Wordsworth’s fellow Briton, William Blake, in his insistence that he create his own “systems” lest he “be ruled by another man’s.” Much of these ideas would appeal, at least in their simplest forms, to much of modern consciousness, rebelling as it does not only against conformity and convention, but the apparent subjugation of the individual by the increasingly dizzying swirl of corporate culture and technological globalization. It is interesting to read Emily Dickinson’s take, as it were, on Romanticism from some five decades after Wordsworth. Dickinson wrote in the wake of the industrial revolution (or at least its initial stages) and fell only somewhat short of Thoreau’s radical view of the railroad as emblematic of technology devouring the human person (“We do not ride upon the railroad,” Thoreau famously asserted, “but t... ... middle of paper ... ...hey seen as an outgrowth of Divine effort or merely an existent truth defiant of explanation. In other words, Romantic ideals may manifest themselves where Romanticism is not thought to be hiding in part because, quite simply, many Romantic ideals are common to human existence. The same can be said, of course, of the ideals of non-Romantic movements, and indeed this is so. Readers must be cautious to avoid rejecting the proverbial baby along with the bathwater in the common tendency to reject some truths simply because they are stated by those one considers an ideological enemy. In light of the above, Romanticism undoubtedly speaks to many readers today – as it did in its various reappearances in history – because it offers one side of a balanced coin which considers the individual as well as the collective, and the wonder of nature as well as the reason of man.

More about The Importance of Romanticism in Literature

Open Document