The Romanticism Movement: Poetry, Language, and Society

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The romanticism was the movement during the 19th Century.

This period was focused in the representation of the self, the philosophy represented in society and the mind as the main source of thinking.

Poetry was the maxim exponent of Romanticism, it represented Literature. Poets considered themselves as leaders that helped to understand society. The poet taught, guided and lead the rest to the truth. They teach them how the world works.

Each poet interpreted Romanticism in his own way; the romantic elements were observed and discussed in different points of view. All of them structured their “romanticism”.

There were two generations of romantic poets. The first generation composed by W. Wordsworth and Coleridge (which is the main interest in this essay) and the second generation composed by Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and John Keats.

Wordsworth and Coleridge, close friends, had different point of view in educational and linguistic terms. They both thought that language was the most perfect tool and had different uses for them.

This begins with Wordsworth’s publication of Lyrical Ballads in 1798. It was a collection of poems of both, Coleridge and Wordsworth (although Coleridge just had a few poems in the book). Four years later, he published a Preface for his second edition of Lyrical Ballads in 1802 and in here argued about the proper way to use the language. Twelve years later, in ____ Coleridge answered with his publication of Biographia Literaria. Here began a discussion of how poetic language should be used and by whom.

Basically both poets use poetic language to express. This “fight” moves along the use of how language should be used and which kind of language.

First, with Wordsworth arguments, he stated that poetry was perfect to teach how to use the language and with that everybody could understand it. He was against the idea of language as perfect tool to eloquence allowed to only the most educated man with obviously previous literary knowledge.

It was supposed to be a non-difficult language, based on simple vocabulary.

Coleridge argued that this was not truth. Poets considered themselves as leaders that helped people to understand society. But not everybody should be able to understand it. For him, language was supposed to be used in a complex way that only a few could understand and enjoy. Used with a logical order with concordance and eloquence. And poets were creative people more passionate to use this language than the others.

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