The Period Called Romanticism: Representations of Terror in Literature

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The period called Romanticism appeared as a reaction against the fixed standards of neoclassicism which emphasized reason and logic, and in this way, Wordsworth, in the preface of his Lyrical Balads claimed for a imaginative approach to nature and the overflow of feelings. Thus, English writers of the Romantic period believed individualism as being the most important feature; they valued subjectivity, imagination, and the expression of emotions over rational thought as a true source of aesthetic experience. Before the 18th Century, few writers were concerned with discovering their own individual identities and feelings but the changing economy of the industrial revolution helped to widespread the interest for individualism, creating a deep shift in the attitudes to art and human creativity, transforming not only the theory and practice of writing but the way to perceive the world. This authentic concern for individualism led some author to explore that inner part of human minds which is not strictly rational and they introduced themes and topics which readers cannot solve using merely their rational minds; following the romantic ideal, these authors aimed to stimulate emotions within the readers by using certain imagery, to such a degree to evocate strong, irrational emotions and create a terror reaction . In the human history, fear is a distressing negative emotion, which has been playing a very important role in the personal and social life, through the centuries and becoming a substantial part of the psychological background of the man. The emotion of fear is not a stranger to the majority of people and it would not be an exaggeration to say that every person is afraid of something. As H.P. Lovecraft stated ... ... middle of paper ... an ideal tormentor, committed that act for which, according to the tenets he embraced, there was no remission” , we certainly know he is harried to perdition, no matter he is victim of a psychotic illness or tempted by the Devil. Conclusion Wth this essay I have tried to show the different representations of terror within the Romantic movement. We have seen three of the several approaches to this emotion: the disturbing and shocking point of view of James Lamb, the irrational and unusual phenomena showed by Mary Shelley, and that of the split personality used by James Hogg to show the eternal conflict of good and evil. They show how human beings can be frightened of uncanny supernatural elements as well as of the obscure part of our minds which confronts us with something uncomfortable, and sinister, weaking our intellectual certainty and developing into terror.

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