Lingual-Stylistic Peculiarities of Poetic Works of English Romanticism
General View of Romanticism. Life, works and Heritage of the Romantic Poets. Stylistic analysis of Lord Byron’s works "Destruction of Sennacherib", "Prometheus", "Darkness", of Shelly’s works "Adonais", of Wordsworth’s work "A Fact and Imagination".
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“Lingual-Stylistic Peculiarities of Poetic Works of English Romanticism”
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Chapter 1. The Notion of Romanticism in terms of Style
1.1 General View of Romanticism
1.2 Life and Heritage of the Romantic Poets
Chapter 2. Peculiarities of Style of the works of Romantic Poets
2.1 Stylistic analysis of Lord Byron's works “Destruction of Sennacherib”, “Prometheus”, “Darkness”
2.2 Stylistic analysis of Shelly's works “Adonais”
2.3 Stylistic analysis of Wordsworth's work “A Fact and Imagination”
The value of English Romanticism can be hardly ever overestimated. It is not just poetry or prose in itself, but an entire world of philosophy, world of brilliant ideas and world of crushed hopes for the future of mankind. It shows us the widest range of human potential to analyze and feel, the universe of dreams collected in lines of masterpieces that will outlive the centuries.
And, of course, it represents a wonderful field for stylistic analysis. Doubtless the works of great masters are loaded with immense amount of different means to create an image.
This paper researches the lingual-stylistic peculiarities of style reproduction: the way the author's style is created via the combination of different artistic means at all levels of language. The aim of the research is to study the methods and procedures which were applied for the reproduction of specific ideas; and the influence that they cause on the reader. Poetic works by Lord Byron, Wordsworth and Shelley are the object of the research; and lingual-stylistic peculiarities of the poems “Destruction of Sennacherib”, “Prometheus”, “Darkness”, “A Fact and Imagination”, “Adonais”, “To the Men of England” are its subject.
The present work concentrates mainly on that second part and researches what formal elements create the style at different levels, ways of their rendering and their overall influence on the style reproduction.
The aim of this paper is to contrast the style of the poems, finding the convergent and divergent features in their building elements and defining their impact at the correspondent level as well as generally at the level of a poem. In the course of research different methods were used, quantitative, comparative, contrastive and oppositional being among them.
As the material for the research, it was decided to take poems of Romantic poets as the variety of artistic means at all the language levels provides a rich base for the study. The introduction focuses upon the theoretical premises of the research, its topic and objectives.
The first chapter covers the study of theoretical problems discussed in the research, outlines the Romanticism as art and works of the Lord Byron, Wordsworth, Shelly studied.
The second chapter discusses the peculiarities of the style-creating means of reproduction of Lord Byron`s, Wordsworth's, Shelly's poems at all the language levels.
The results of the research are summarized in the conclusions.
CHAPTER 1. THE NOTION OF ROMANTICISM IN TERMS OF STYLE
1.1 General view of Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in the European culture, originating toward the end of the 18th century. Having reflected the despair and disappointment caused by the results of the French Revolution, ideology of Enlightment and scientific progress, it opposed the utilitarianism and leveling of personality the tendency to unlimited freedom, will for perfection and renovation, pathos towards personal and civil independence(8,97). Tense and painful dissonance of an ideal and social reality is the basis for romantic type of perception of the world and art. The assertion of self-worth of spiritual and creative life of an individual, representation of strong feelings, spiritual and healing nature meet in art of Romantics the themes of heroic protest along with motifs of “universal sorrow”, “universal evil”, “night” side of a human soul, that are often covered in forms of irony, grotesque and tragicomic essence(3,111). The interest towards national folklore and culture of own and foreign nations, towards the past and it's idealization, tendency to create it's own universal world view (and in particular of history and literature), the idea of synthesis of arts and philosophy is considered to be among the most prominent features of ideology of Romanticism. Its effect on politics was considerable and complex; while for much of the peak Romantic period it was associated with liberalism and radicalism, in the long term its effect on the growth of nationalism was obviously more significant.
In English literature, the group of poets now considered the key figures of the Romantic movement includes William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the much older William Blake, followed later by the isolated figure of John Clare. The publication in 1798 of Lyrical Ballads, with many of the finest poems by Wordsworth and Coleridge, is often held to mark the start of the movement. The majority of the poems were by Wordsworth, and many dealt with the lives of the poor in his native Lake District, or the poet's feelings about nature, which were to be more fully developed in his long poem The Prelude, never published in his lifetime(6,48).The longest poem in the volume was Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner which showed the Gothic side of English Romanticism and the exotic settings that many works featured. In the period when they were writing the Lake Poets were widely regarded as a marginal group of radicals, though they were supported by the critic and writer William Hazlitt and others.
In contrast Lord Byron and Walter Scott achieved enormous fame and influence throughout Europe with works exploiting the violence and drama of their exotic and historical settings; Goethe called Byron "undoubtedly the greatest genius of our century"(6,217). Scott achieved immediate success with his long narrative poem “The Lay of the Last Minstrel” in 1805, followed by the full epic poem “Marmion” in 1808. Both were set in the distant Scottish past, already evoked in Ossian; Romanticism and Scotland were to have a long and fruitful partnership. Byron had equal success with the first part of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage in 1812, followed by four "Turkish tales", all in the form of long poems, starting with The Giaour in 1813, drawing from his Grand Tour which had reached Ottoman Europe, and orientalizing the themes of the Gothic novel in verse. These featured different variations of the "Byronic hero", and his own life contributed a further version. Scott meanwhile was effectively inventing the historical novel, beginning in 1814 with Waverley, set in the 1745 Jacobite Rising, which was an enormous and highly profitable success, followed by over 20 further Waverley Novels over the next 17 years, with settings going back to the Crusades that he had researched to a degree that was new in literature(20,117).
The writers tried to solve the problems, but we can't treat all the Romantics of England as belonging to the same literary school. William Blake (1757-1827) was bitterly disappointed by the downfall of the French Revolution. His young contemporaries, Samuel Coleridge (1772-- 1834) and William Wordsworth (1770-1850), both were warm admirers of the French Revolution, both escaped from the evils of big cities and settled in the quietness of country life, in the purity of nature, among unsophisticated country-folk. Living in the Lake country of Northern England, they were known as the Lakists. The Late Romantics, George Byron (1788-1824), Percy Shelley (1792-1822), and John Keats (1795-1821), were young rebels and reflected the interests of the common people. That is why the Romantic Revival of the 18th-19th centuries can be divided into three periods: the Early Romantics, the Lakists and the Later Romantics. In some poets this spirit of revolt and defiance resulted in a sort of titanism in an overstatement of passions. In others it led to the exaltation of the irrational and mystic aspects of life and a concern with the supernatural.
Some looked for solace in an idealized Hellenism inspired by a Greek ideal of beauty and by the concept of poetry for poetry's sake. Others romantic English poets found the escape from reality in the exotic and distant following the lead of the Gothic novels. This love for the strange, the exotic and the distant also informed the new interest in history and especially in the Middle Age, the historic period that was loved by the romantic writers. Romantic poets turned to other aspects of the past and motivated by Percy's collection of medieval ballads, they looked to the Middle Age for inspiration and they rediscovered the fascination of the past writers. The romantic writers revisited the past through their imagination. Imagination or rather belief in imagination as part of the individual became the distinguishing feature of the romantic writers. Far from simply meaning daydreaming as it had previously done imagination came to mean the highest and noblest gift of the poet using it as a God-like faculty. For the romantic poets the imagination was able to modify or even re-create the world around them.
1.2 LIFE AND HERITAGE OF THE ROMANTIC POETS (Byron, Wordsworth, Shelley)
George Gordon Byron, (22 January 1788 - 19 April 1824), commonly known simply as Lord Byron, was an English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic Movement. Among Byron's best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems Don Juan and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and the short lyric "She Walks in Beauty." He is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and remains widely read and influential. He travelled to fight against the Ottoman Empire in the Greek War of Independence, for which Greeks revere him as a national hero. He died at age 36 from a fever contracted while in Missolonghi in Greece.
Byron underwent a tumultuous schooling at three different schools (Harrow, Trinity, and Cambridge), through which he was forced to fend for himself due to mockery from peers about his club foot and his weight (13, 75). By the end of his schooling, Byron had forged himself into the lordly, urbane, slim and debaucherous man who would become famous. Like his father, Byron accumulated debts through his excesses and fiscal irresponsibility, all in the service of removing himself both socially and emotionally from his painful, shame-filled youth. He avoided his mother as much as possible and gathered around him a circle of friends with whom he could discuss politics and poetry or carouse with equal verve. He enmeshed himself in several affairs with lovers from both genders, including a deep connection to a choirboy and later a series of relationships with live-in prostitutes. Byron also entered a one-sided romance with his cousin Mary Chaworth, going so far as to temporarily suspend his education to be near her at Annesley Hall. Chaworth was unattainable--she became engaged in the midst of Byron's pining for her in 1803--and would become the basis of many future unattainable beauties in his life, both real and literary. In 1804 Byron began corresponding with his half-sister Augusta, to whom he grew emotionally attached to even as he withdrew his sympathies from his mother. In 1806 Byron self-published his first book of poetry, Fugitive Pieces. His mentor, the Reverend John Thomas Becher, raised objections to some of the more erotic lines of verse, so Byron suppressed the book. He republished many of the poems--now heavily edited--along with new verse in his 1807 Poems on Various Occasions, followed later by an expanded edition titled Hours of Idleness, this last edition being the first published work bearing his name. Upon completion of his schooling and assuming the peerage (being recognized as belonging to the House of Lords), Byron took a long-delayed journey to see the rest of Europe. Arriving in Lisbon at the height of the English-French conflict, Byron remained mostly oblivious to the political climate of the world around him, so focused was he on enjoying himself. It was from this journey that Byron produced the work that would make him famous: Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. The first two cantos, written during his European travels, were published in 1812. The print run sold out in three days, making Byron suddenly famous. Soon Byron was a sought-after attendee at salons throughout England, where he also met a number of influential and impassioned women and engaged in several affairs. One such affair was with Lady Caroline Lamb, whose pursuit of Byron eventually wearied him. From 1813 to 1816, Byron published several works, most of them inspired by his travels in Turkey and Greece: The Giaour in June of 1813, followed by The Bride of Abydos later that year; then The Corsair in February 1814 and Lara in August; finally The Siege of Corinth and Parisina in February of 1816. All the while, Byron continued revising and adding to “Childe Harold's Pilgrimage”. In May of 1816, Byron met Percy Shelley in Geneva, Switzerland. Although his enjoyment at this visit was tempered by the presence of Clairmont and her unborn child--Byron's--the two men nonetheless enjoyed boating on Lake Leman and discussing poetry and politics. It was at this time that Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. Byron's travels with Shelley inspired him to write The “Prisoner of Chillon”, published in 1817. He also completed and published Cantos iii and iv of “Childe Harold's Pilgrimage”, completed Manfred, and began his mock epic “Don Juan”. Although prolific and gaining a reputation as a great writer of his time, Byron settled in Genoa, Italy, and became bored with his self-imposed exile from England. He was drawn again to the cause of Greek independence, this time donating large sums of money to refit and arm the Greek military. Byron eventually gained a division of Greek soldiers under his own command, but before he could sail to attack the Turkish fortress, he became ill. The favored medical practice of the day, bloodletting, only weakened him further. He eventually developed an infection and died in 1824, leaving his military action and several of his literary works unfinished.
The most flamboyant and notorious of the major Romantics, George Gordon, Lord Byron, was likewise the most fashionable poet of the day. He created an immensely popular Romantic hero--defiant, melancholy, haunted by secret guilt--for which, to many, he seemed the model. He is also a Romantic paradox: a leader of the era's poetic revolution, he named Alexander Pope as his master; a worshiper of the ideal, he never lost touch with reality; a deist and freethinker, he retained from his youth a Calvinist sense of original sin; a peer of the realm, he championed liberty in his works and deeds, giving money, time, energy, and finally his life to the Greek war of independence. His faceted personality found expression in satire, verse narrative, ode, lyric, speculative drama, historical tragedy, confessional poetry, dramatic monologue, seriocomic epic, and voluminous correspondence, written in Spenserian stanzas, heroic couplets, blank verse, terza rima, ottava rima, and vigorous prose. In his dynamism, sexuality, self-revelation, and demands for freedom for oppressed people everywhere, Byron captivated the Western mind and heart as few writers have, stamping upon nineteenth-century letters, arts, politics, even clothing styles, his image and name as the embodiment of Romanticism (17, 283).
Percy Bysshe Shelley was born in 1792, into a wealthy Sussex family which eventually attained minor noble rank--the poet's grandfather, a wealthy businessman, received a baronetcy in 1806. Timothy Shelley, the poet's father, was a Member of Parliament and a country gentleman. The young Shelley entered Eton, a prestigious school for boys, at the age of twelve. While he was there, he discovered the works of a philosopher named William Godwin, which he consumed passionately and in which he became a fervent believer; the young man wholeheartedly embraced the ideals of liberty and equality espoused by the French Revolution, and devoted his considerable passion and persuasive power to convincing others of the rightness of his beliefs. Entering Oxford in 1810, Shelley was expelled the following spring for his part in authoring a pamphlet entitled The Necessity of Atheism--atheism being an outrageous idea in religiously conservative nineteenth-century England. At the age of nineteen, Shelley eloped with Harriet Westbrook, the sixteen-year-old daughter of a tavern keeper, whom he married despite his inherent dislike for the tavern. Not long after, he made the personal acquaintance of William Godwin in London, and promptly fell in love with Godwin's daughter Mary Wollstonecraft, whom he was eventually able to marry, and who is now remembered primarily as the author of Frankenstein. In 1816, the Shelley's traveled to Switzerland to meet Lord Byron, the most famous, celebrated, and controversial poet of the era; the two men became close friends. After a time, they formed a circle of English expatriates in Pisa, traveling throughout Italy; during this time Shelley wrote most of his finest lyric poetry, including the immortal “Ode to the West Wind” and “To a Skylark.” In 1822, Shelley drowned while sailing in a storm off the Italian coast. He was not yet thirty years old.
Shelley belongs to the younger generation of English Romantic poets, the generation that came to prominence while William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge were settling into middle age. Where the older generation was marked by simple ideals and a reverence for nature, the poets of the younger generation (which also included John Keats and the infamous Lord Byron) came to be known for their sensuous aestheticism, their explorations of intense passions, their political radicalism, and their tragically short lives. Shelley died when he was twenty-nine, Byron when he was thirty-six, and Keats when he was only twenty-six years old. To an extent, the intensity of feeling emphasized by Romanticism meant that the movement was always associated with youth, and because Byron, Keats, and Shelley died young (and never had the opportunity to sink into conservatism and complacency as Wordsworth did), they have attained iconic status as the representative tragic Romantic artists. Shelley's life and his poetry certainly support such an understanding, but it is important not to indulge in stereotypes to the extent that they obscure a poet's individual character. Shelley's joy, his magnanimity, his faith in humanity, and his optimism are unique among the Romantics; his expression of those feelings makes him one of the early nineteenth century's most significant writers in English (8, 116). The central thematic concerns of Shelley's poetry are largely the same themes that defined Romanticism, especially among the younger English poets of Shelley's era: beauty, the passions, nature, political liberty, creativity, and the sanctity of the imagination. What makes Shelley's treatment of these themes unique is his philosophical relationship to his subject matter--which was better developed and articulated than that of any other Romantic poet with the possible exception of Wordsworth--and his temperament, which was extraordinarily sensitive and responsive even for a Romantic poet, and which possessed an extraordinary capacity for joy, love, and hope. Shelley fervently believed in the possibility of realizing an ideal of human happiness as based on beauty, and his moments of darkness and despair (he had many, particularly in book-length poems such as the monumental “Queen Mab”) almost always stem from his disappointment at seeing that ideal sacrificed to human weakness. Shelley's intense feelings about beauty and expression are documented in poems such as “Ode to the West Wind” and “To a Skylark,” in which he invokes metaphors from nature to characterize his relationship to his art.
The center of his aesthetic philosophy can be found in his important essay A Defense of Poetry, in which he argues that poetry brings about moral good. Poetry, Shelley argues exercises and expands the imagination, and the imagination is the source of sympathy, compassion, and love, which rest on the ability to project oneself into the position of another person. He writes, A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and of many others. The pains and pleasures of his species must become his own. The great instrument of moral good is the imagination; and poetry administers to the effect by acting upon the cause. Poetry enlarges the circumference of the imagination by replenishing it with thoughts of ever new delight, which have the power of attracting and assimilating to their own nature all other thoughts, and which form new intervals and interstices whose void forever craves fresh food. Poetry strengthens the faculty which is the organ of the moral nature of man, in the same manner as exercise strengthens a limb.
Like many of the romantic poets, especially William Wordsworth, Shelley demonstrates a great reverence for the beauty of nature, and he feels closely connected to nature's power. In his early poetry, Shelley shares the romantic interest in pantheism--the belief that God, or a divine, unifying spirit, runs through everything in the universe. He refers to this unifying natural force in many poems, describing it as the “spirit of beauty” in “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty” and identifying it with Mont Blanc and the Arve River in “Mont Blanc.” This force is the cause of all human joy, faith, goodness, and pleasure, and it is also the source of poetic inspiration and divine truth. Shelley asserts several times that this force can influence people to change the world for the better. However, Shelley simultaneously recognizes that nature's power is not wholly positive. Nature destroys as often as it inspires or creates, and it destroys cruelly and indiscriminately. For this reason, Shelley's delight in nature is mitigated by an awareness of its dark side. Shelley uses nature as his primary source of poetic inspiration. In such poems as “The Mask of Anarchy Written on the Occasion of the Massacre at Manchester” (1819) and “Ode to the West Wind,” Shelley suggests that the natural world holds a sublime power over his imagination. This power seems to come from a stranger, more mystical place than simply his appreciation for nature's beauty or grandeur. At the same time, although nature has creative power over Shelley because it provides inspiration, he feels that his imagination has creative power over nature. It is the imagination--or our ability to form sensory perceptions--that allows us to describe nature in different, original ways, which help to shape how nature appears and, therefore, how it exists. Thus, the power of the human mind becomes equal to the power of nature, and the experience of beauty in the natural world becomes a kind of collaboration between the perceiver and the perceived. Because Shelley cannot be sure that the sublime powers he senses in nature are only the result of his gifted imagination, he finds it difficult to attribute nature's power to God: the human role in shaping nature damages Shelley's ability to believe that nature's beauty comes solely from a divine source. Shelley's interest in the supernatural repeatedly appears in his work. The ghosts and spirits in his poems suggest the possibility of glimpsing a world beyond the one in which we live. In “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty,” the speaker searches for ghosts and explains that ghosts are one of the ways men have tried to interpret the world beyond. The speaker of “Mont Blanc” encounters ghosts and shadows of real natural objects in the cave of “Poesy.” Ghosts are inadequate in both poems: the speaker finds no ghosts in “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty,” and the ghosts of Poesy in “Mont Blanc” are not the real thing, a discovery that emphasizes the elusiveness and mystery of supernatural forces.
No other English poet of the early nineteenth century so emphasized the connection between beauty and goodness, or believed so avidly in the power of art's sensual pleasures to improve society. Byron's pose was one of amoral sensuousness, or of controversial rebelliousness; Keats believed in beauty and aesthetics for their own sake. But Shelley was able to believe that poetry makes people and society better; his poetry is suffused with this kind of inspired moral optimism, which he hoped would affect his readers sensuously, spiritually, and morally, all at the same time (19, 36).
William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 - 23 April 1850) was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with the 1798 joint publication Lyrical Ballads. Wordsworth's magnum opus is generally considered to be The Prelude, a semiautobiographical poem of his early years which he revised and expanded a number of times. It was posthumously titled and published, prior to which it was generally known as "the poem to Coleridge". Wordsworth was Britain's Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850.
The second of five children born to John Wordsworth and Ann Cookson, William Wordsworth was born on 7 April 1770 in Wordsworth House in Cockermouth, Cumberland--part of the scenic region in northwest England, the Lake District. His father was a legal representative of James Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale and, through his connections, lived in a large mansion in the small town. Wordsworth, as with his siblings, had little involvement with their father, and they would be distant from him until his death in 1783.
Wordsworth's father, although rarely present, taught him poetry, including that of Milton, Shakespeare and Spenser, in addition to allowing his son to rely on his own father's library. Along with spending time reading in Cockermouth, Wordsworth would also stay at his mother's parents' house in Penrith, Cumberland. At Penrith, Wordsworth was exposed to the moors. Wordsworth could not get along with his grandparents and his uncle, and his hostile interactions with them distressed him to the point of contemplating suicide. After the death of their mother, in 1778, Wordsworth's father sent him to Hawkshead Grammar School in Lancashire. Wordsworth was taught both the Bible and the Spectator, but little else. It was at the school that Wordsworth was to meet the Hutchinsons, including Mary, who would be his future wife. Wordsworth made his debut as a writer in 1787 when he published a sonnet in The European Magazine. That same year he began attending St John's College, Cambridge, and received his B.A. degree in 1791. He returned to Hawkshead for his first two summer holidays, and often spent later holidays on walking tours, visiting places famous for the beauty of their landscape. In 1790, he took a walking tour of Europe, during which he toured the Alps extensively and visited nearby areas of France, Switzerland, and Italy. Wordsworth and Coleridge travelled to Germany in the autumn of 1798. While Coleridge was intellectually stimulated by the trip, its main effect on Wordsworth was to produce homesickness. During the harsh winter of 1798-99, Wordsworth lived within Goslar, and, despite extreme stress and loneliness, he began work on an autobiographical piece later titled The Prelude. He wrote a number of famous poems, including "The Lucy poems". He and his sister moved back to England, now to Dove Cottage in Grasmere in the Lake District, and this time with fellow poet Robert Southey nearby. Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey came to be known as the "Lake Poets". Through this period, many of his poems revolve around themes of death, endurance, separation and grief. He died by aggravating a case of pleurisy on 23 April 1850, and was buried at St. Oswald's church in Grasmere.
Wordsworth's monumental poetic legacy rests on a large number of important poems, varying in length and weight from the short, simple lyrics of the 1790s to the vast expanses of The Prelude, thirteen books long in its 1808 edition (5, 189). But the themes that run through Wordsworth's poetry, and the language and imagery he uses to embody those themes, remain remarkably consistent throughout the Wordsworth canon, adhering largely to the tenets Wordsworth set out for himself in the 1802 preface to Lyrical Ballads. Here, Wordsworth argues that poetry should be written in the natural language of common speech, rather than in the lofty and elaborate dictions that were then considered “poetic.” He argues that poetry should offer access to the emotions contained in memory. And he argues that the first principle of poetry should be pleasure, that the chief duty of poetry is to provide pleasure through a rhythmic and beautiful expression of feeling--for all human sympathy, he claims, is based on a subtle pleasure principle that is “the naked and native dignity of man.” Recovering “the naked and native dignity of man” makes up a significant part of Wordsworth's poetic project, and he follows his own advice from the 1802preface. Wordsworth's style remains plain-spoken and easy to understand even today, though the rhythms and idioms of common English have changed from those of the early nineteenth century. Many of Wordsworth's poems (including masterpieces such as “Tintern Abbey” and the “Intimations of Immortality” ode) deal with the subjects of childhood and the memory of childhood in the mind of the adult in particular, childhood's lost connection with nature, which can be preserved only in memory. Wordsworth's images and metaphors mix natural scenery, religious symbolism (as in the sonnet “It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,” in which the evening is described as being “quiet as a nun”), and the relics of the poet's rustic childhood--cottages, hedgerows, orchards, and other places where humanity intersects gently and easily with nature.
Throughout Wordsworth's work, nature provides the ultimate good influence on the human mind. All manifestations of the natural world--from the highest mountain to the simplest flower--elicit noble, elevated thoughts and passionate emotions in the people who observe these manifestations. Wordsworth repeatedly emphasizes the importance of nature to an individual's intellectual and spiritual development. A good relationship with nature helps individuals connect to both the spiritual and the social worlds. As Wordsworth explains in The Prelude, a love of nature can lead to a love of humankind. In such poems as “The World Is Too Much with Us” (1807) and “London, 1802” (1807) people become selfish and immoral when they distance themselves from nature by living in cities. Humanity's innate empathy and nobility of spirit becomes corrupted by artificial social conventions as well as by the squalor of city life. In contrast, people who spend a lot of time in nature, such as laborers and farmers, retain the purity and nobility of their souls.
Wordsworth praised the power of the human mind. Using memory and imagination, individuals could overcome difficulty and pain. For instance, the speaker in “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey” (1798) relieves his loneliness with memories of nature, while the leech gatherer in “Resolution and Independence” (1807) perseveres cheerfully in the face of poverty by the exertion of his own will. The transformative powers of the mind are available to all, regardless of an individual's class or background. This democratic view emphasizes individuality and uniqueness. Throughout his work, Wordsworth showed strong support for the political, religious, and artistic rights of the individual, including the power of his or her mind. In the 1802 preface to Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth explained the relationship between the mind and poetry. Poetry is “emotion recollected in tranquility”--that is, the mind transforms the raw emotion of experience into poetry capable of giving pleasure. Later poems, such as “Ode: Intimations of Immortality” (1807), imagine nature as the source of the inspiring material that nourishes the active, creative mind.
In many of his poems he praise the childhood days. In his poetry, childhood is a magical, magnificent time of innocence. Children form an intense bond with nature, so much so that they appear to be a part of the natural world, rather than a part of the human, social world. Their relationship to nature is passionate and extreme: children feel joy at seeing a rainbow but great terror at seeing desolation or decay. In 1799, Wordsworth wrote several poems about a girl named Lucy who died at a young age. These poems, including “She dwelt among the untrodden ways” (1800) and “Strange fits of passion have I known” (1800), praise her beauty and lament her untimely death. In death, Lucy retains the innocence and splendor of childhood, unlike the children who grow up, lose their connection to nature, and lead unfulfilling lives. The speaker in “Ode: Intimations of Immortality” believes that children delight in nature because they have access to a divine, immortal world. As children age and reach maturity, they lose this connection but gain an ability to feel emotions, both good and bad. Through the power of the human mind, particularly memory, adults can recollect the devoted connection to nature of their youth. Memory allows Wordsworth's speakers to overcome the harshness of the contemporary world. Recollecting their childhoods gives adults a chance to reconnect with the visionary power and intense relationship they had with nature as children (5, 50). In turn, these memories encourage adults to re-cultivate as close a relationship with nature as possible as an antidote to sadness, loneliness, and despair. The act of remembering also allows the poet to write: Wordsworth argued in the 1802 preface to Lyrical Ballads that poetry sprang from the calm remembrance of passionate emotional experiences. Poems cannot be composed at the moment when emotion is first experienced. Instead, the initial emotion must be combined with other thoughts and feelings from the poet's past experiences using memory and imagination. The poem produced by this time-consuming process will allow the poet to convey the essence of his emotional memory to his readers and will permit the readers to remember similar emotional experiences of their own.
The speakers of Wordsworth's poems are inveterate wanderers: they roam solitarily, they travel over the moors, and they take private walks through the highlands of Scotland. Active wandering allows the characters to experience and participate in the vastness and beauty of the natural world. Moving from place to place also allows the wanderer to make discoveries about himself. In “I travelled among unknown men” (1807), the speaker discovers his patriotism only after he has traveled far from England. While wandering, speakers uncover the visionary powers of the mind and understand the influence of nature, as in “I wandered lonely as a cloud” (1807). The speaker of this poem takes comfort in a walk he once took after he has returned to the grit and desolation of city life. Recollecting his wanderings allows him to transcend his present circumstances. Wordsworth's poetry itself often wanders, roaming from one subject or experience to another, as in The Prelude. In this long poem, the speaker moves from idea to idea through digressions and distractions that mimic the natural progression of thought within the mind.
Throughout his poems, Wordsworth fixates on vision and sight as the vehicles through which individuals are transformed. As speakers move through the world, they see visions of great natural loveliness, which they capture in their memories. Later, in moments of darkness, the speakers recollect these visions, as in “I wandered lonely as a cloud.” Here, the speaker daydreams of former jaunts through nature, which “flash upon that inward eye / which is the bliss of solitude” (5, 22). The power of sight captured by our mind's eye enables us to find comfort even in our darkest, loneliest moments. Elsewhere, Wordsworth describes the connection between seeing and experiencing emotion, as in “My heart leaps up” (1807), in which the speaker feels joy as a result of spying a rainbow across the sky. Detailed images of natural beauty abound in Wordsworth's poems, including descriptions of daffodils and clouds, which focus on what can be seen, rather than touched, heard, or felt. In Book Fourteenth of The Prelude, climbing to the top of a mountain in Wales allows the speaker to have a prophetic vision of the workings of the mind as it thinks, reasons, and feels.
Light in his works often symbolizes truth and knowledge. In “The Tables Turned” (1798), Wordsworth contrasts the barren light of reason available in books with the “sweet” and “freshening” light of the knowledge nature brings. Sunlight literally helps people see, and sunlight also helps speakers and characters begin to glimpse the wonders of the world. In “Expostulation and Reply” (1798), the presence of light, or knowledge, within an individual prevents dullness and helps the individual to see, or experience (5, 157). Generally, the light in Wordsworth's poems represents immortal truths that can't be entirely grasped by human reason. In “Ode: Imitations of Immortality,” the speaker remembers looking at a meadow as a child and imagining it gleaming in “celestial light». As the speaker grows and matures, the light of his youth fades into the “light of common day” of adulthood. But the speaker also imagines his remembrances of the past as a kind of light, which illuminate his soul and give him the strength to live.
romantic poet stylistic analysis
CHAPTER 2. PECULIARITIES OF THE USE OF STYLISTIC DEVICES IN THE WORKS OF ROMANTIC POETS
2.1 Stylistic analysis of Lord Byron's works “Destruction of Sennacherib”, “Prometheus”, “Darkness”
"The Destruction of Sennacherib" is a poem by Lord Byron first published in 1815 in his Hebrew Melodies. It is based on an event from the campaign by Assyrian king Sennacherib to capture Jerusalem, as described in the Bible (2 Kings 18-19). The poem relates the Biblical version of Sennacherib's attempted siege of Jerusalem, and takes place in one night. At sunset the huge Assyrian army was bearing down upon the unnamed Jerusalem "like the wolf on the fold" (18, 235). Overnight, the Angel of Death "breathed on the face of the foe", and by morning most of the Assyrian army had died, mysteriously, in their sleep. The poem describes the dead soldiers and their horses, and then touches, briefly, on the grief of the Assyrian widows before concluding that, "The might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword, Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord." (18, 235)
Byron's use of meter and rhyme is especially evident in the poem and rewarding when one reads the lines out loud. The lines have a powerful, rolling, and very precise rhythm, and they rhyme in a way that is impossible to ignore. In other words, the physicality of the language -- how it sounds and feels -- accounts for a large measure of the poem's effect. The rhythm of the poem has a feel of the beat of a galloping horse' shoves (an anapestic tetrameter) as the Assyrian rides into battle. The pattern “aabb” emphasizes the power of image, deliberate repetition of conjunction “and”, morphemic repetition of prefix “un” underline the scheme chosen by the author.
“The Destruction of Sennacherib” is an example of Romantic philosophy in both its revolutionary subject matter and in how Byron uses vivid details and descriptive language. “The Destruction of Sennacherib” retells an ancient story that is firmly rooted in the nineteenth- century Romanticism. It describes the defeat of the king of Assyria by the hand of God and his death thereafter. In the beginning of this poem, the speaker describes the might of the enemy's army to the reader. He shows the Assyrians ruthless warriors and a force feared by all. To describe their ferocity, he chooses such similies as “came down like the wolf on the fold”, “like stars on the sea”. The epithet”Assyrian” refers to the king himself as the personification of the military might. Afterwards the author gives us an extended metaphor comparing the invasive force with
“…the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown…”(18, 235)
Moreover, here we observe the sudden change in reproduction of the meaning. Interrelation of the two opposing similies shows the tremendous awe about the Assyrian army that had been so numerous and then was shattered so fast.
The “Angel of Death” here seemingly used in the direct meaning as a force sent by God to destroy the infidels, to my mind, has one more connotation - the plague.
The proof towards this we can see in the following lines -
“And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and forever grew still!”(18. 235)
It is too obvious that here is the depiction of the dreadful disease that suddenly struck the enemy's army. So the “Angel of Death” can be additionally referred to as the personification of plague. The hearts that “once heaved, and forever grew still” is, of course, a hyperbole used to strengthen the effect.
“The rider” apparently here symbolizes the king; “the rust on his mail” should be metaphorically understood as his vanished power and the decline of his empire.
The last strophe summarizes the utmost despair that befell the Assyrian nation. “Widows of Ashur” - Ashur is a metonymy derived from the city name and used to symbolize the fallen soldiers; if to remind the legend that mythological Ashur was once an invincible king who ruled over the earth, we can realize that the destruction of the army could also mean the lost dominance and glory of Assyria. Same as “Gentile” capitalized intentionally to denote the absolute power forever gone by this time.
“And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal” - allusion to the Biblical evidence that the banished Sennacherib was killed in his capital in the temple by the hands of his two sons. The use “unlifted, unblown, unsmote” emphasizes the fact that the whole army was crushed without any single combat, but by the Holy Power, as well as “melted like snow in the glance of the Lord” - another simily to describe the essence of the entire poem - any wicked and evil force will be inevitably crushed by God, by any means, at any circumstances.
To conclude this humble analysis, we should mention that this poem is one of the most powerful and conceptual works of the great master, and deserves to be read and admired.
The poem “Prometheus” was written in 1816. Byron had left England for the last time and settled in Switzerland, where he started a friendship with Percy Shelley and his wife, Mary Shelley. The influence of the Shelley's over Byron (and vice versa) is especially noticeable in this particular poem, and, as an evidence, we must mention both Percy Shelley's poem “Prometheus unbound” and Mary Shelley's novel “Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus”.“Byron and the Shelley's' shared a period of intense creativity together.
The poem is about the figure of Prometheus, the famous titan who brought fire to men and was condemned by Zeus to be eternally chained to a rock with his liver eaten every day by an eagle. Here we are dealing not exactly with a narrative poem, but with a demonstration of praise to the figure of a heroic character.
The given poem is structured in three stanzas that are irregular to each other, not following the same rhyme pattern and having an extension which varies from one to another. In the first stanza we are introduced to Prometheus as an immortal being who, however, is paradoxically subjected and condemned to suffer, something that is characteristic of human race (“The sufferings of mortality”). Here, we observe for the first time in the poem with two aspects that are essential for it: the semi-god nature of Prometheus, which fits with the duality of man (“Like thee, Man is in part divine”,), and the inexorable existence of suffering, consubstantial to man (14, 178).
Next, Byron throws a question, notably tainted with irony (“What was thy pity's recompense?”), which gets an immediate answer that shows and emphasizes the injustice of his punishment and that occupies the next and last 9 lines of the strophe: His recompense is a strong and extreme imposed suffering (note that “the chain”, mentioned in line 7 symbolizes very well this imposition), a suffering that is noiselessly and heroically bore by Prometheus (“A silent suffering”), who is represented as a lonely and remarkably individualized being who, however, must be contented as far as his cry is listened (“nor will sigh until its voice is echoless”), fact that provides him with a perceptible revolutionary nuance.
In the second stanza, the term power is the essential concept that is treated. While we are reading this part of the poem we are led through a process of inversion of what is “power” and to whom it really belongs.
At the beginning, Prometheus is represented as the one who is oppressed and defenceless, in the same way Zeus (and, extensively, all form of deity or superior being, ruling class, etc.) incarnates the powerful oppressor (“inexorable Heaven”, “tyranny of Fate”, etc.). But at the end, the fact is that the power and inner strength of Prometheus as an individual surpasses and goes beyond any supernatural and apparently superior power of Zeus. “And in thy Silence was his Sentence / And in his Soul a vain repentance / and evil dread so ill dissembled / that in his hand the lightings trembled.” This passage symbolizes the victory of the individual and his strong spirit over any kind of oppressor trying to reduce and silence him. It shows how the direct comparison between gods and man illustrates the ability of man to overcome power and display bravery despite his shortcomings and the gods' advantage for being powerful and possessing extraordinary skills (14,157).
Finally, in the third stanza, the paradoxical relation between Prometheus' punishment and its cause is ironically remarked again: “Thy Godlike crime was to be kind” and at the same time his labour and greatness (“thine impenetrable Spirit”) is thanked and recompensed as it was to the benefit of man, whose inherent pain and fatal destiny is highly stressed in this particular strophe from a very pessimistic point of view: “His own funereal destiny / his wretchedness, and his resistance / And his sad unallied existence”.
Prometheus serves as a model for man to bear pain and suffering with “a firm will, and a deep sense”, to overcome the misfortune of mortality with a strong Spirit characteristic of immortality (20, 124).
Byron draws an admirable and idealized character, punished due to a generous and benevolent “crime”, victim of the tyranny of a God and condemned to suffer an eternal torture in complete loneliness. However, as it has been said at the beginning, he was not the only one who made this representation of Prometheus. Defeated but unsubmissive, the Titans (and Prometheus in particular) were popular in the nineteenth century as symbols of revolution or resistance to tyranny.
Now we are going to place the poem in relation with all the poetical production of Byron as a whole, which is the final aim of that paper. The presence of a heroic character in Byron's work seems to be a constant and characterising feature. The sum of the almost autobiographical character in “Childe Harold's Pilgrimage”, the protagonists of his famous Oriental Tales (The Giaour, The Corsair, etc.) and others like Manfred, Mazeppa, etc., have contributed to configure what we know as the “Byronic hero”, that has been described as “embodying the ultimate in individualism, self-sufficiency, ambition, and aspiration, yet isolated, gloomy, unsatisfied, and dangerous to himself and others”.
Still, Prometheus does not seem to perfectly fit this description, because, as we may have perceived when analysing the poem, Prometheus is much more idealised and lacks that “carnal” aspect that completes the figure of the Byronic hero, who combines the grandness and ambition of his spirit with a sinful and “vicious” corporeal life.
Nonetheless, since Byron's first successful work, “Childe Harold's Pilgrimage”, we can observe his melancholic feelings towards the Ancient Greek, from where he is reclaiming the hero he's trying to find. “In Childe Harold's Pilgrimage”--and throughout his entire career--Byron is looking for a hero”.
Prometheus' revolutionary spirit matches also with that of Napoleon Bonaparte, and in Byron's “Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte” (1814), a very symbolic and revealing comparison is made:
"Or, like the thief of fire from heaven / Wilt thou withstand the shock? / And share with him- the unforgiven / His vulture and his rock?".
“Prometheus' suffering can be likened to Napoleon Bonaparte who has to experience suffering and death first before the society realized his fight for freedom of all people” (18, 146).
Also we can find the same pessimistic and apocalyptic view of man's “funereal” destiny in Byron's poem “Darkness” (1816).
“All earth was but one thought--and that was death / Immediate and inglorious; and the pang / Of famine fed upon all entrails--men / Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh” (22,45).
The importance of Prometheus' myth during the Romantic age can be hardly compared with any other time's. Prometheus gave the romantics an example of courage and rebelliousness against Zeus, who they saw as personification of tyranny. He was the spirit of the French Revolution and of the divinely inspired artist, and “Prometheus” is one of the best examples of this.
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