Romanticism in Wuthering
1/30/12 Romanticism
• 1798 to 1832 in England
• Shift from faith in reason to faith in imagination,
senses, feelings
• Shift from urban interest to rural and natural
• From impersonal to subjective
• From scientific/mundane to mysterious and
• Romantics were interested in the Medieval past,
the supernatural, the mystical, the “gothic,” and
the exotic
Characteristics of the Romantic
• (1) Imagination, Emotions, and Intuition.
Exaltation of intense feelings.
• Descartes: I think, therefore I am.
• Rousseau: I felt before I thought.
• (2) Subjectivity of approach; the cult of the
individual; the absolute uniqueness of
every individual.
Characteristics of Romanticism
(3) Freedom of thought and expression.
• A revolt against authority and tyranny, against the
ancien regime, whether social, political, religious, or
• Thomas Paine: “The Rights of Man.”
• Mary Wolstonecraft: “A Vindication of the Rights of
Woman” (1792)
• Alienation and rebellion: Cult of Youth, Energy, and
Characteristics of Romanticism
(4) Idealization of Nature
• Embracing the uncivilized, the wild, the pre-civilized.
• Rousseau: “Man is born free and everywhere he is in
chains.” In other words, civilization is in part the cause
of our corruption.
• The “noble savage,” and James Fennimore Cooper’s
Leatherstocking novels, I.e. The Last of the Mohicans.
But there were 2 views of Nature
• The first viewed nature as peaceful, calm,
nurturing, a source for spiritual renewal. It
often showed an innocent life of rural
dwellers, a world of peace and harmondy
which nurtures and comforts the human
spirit. This is very much how Wordsworth
viewed nature.
John Constable: The Hay Wain
But nature could also be frightening
in its power, and cause a dizzying
sense of awe and wonder.
J.M.W. Turner: Avalanche
Edmund Burke defined these two
views of nature as:
•The beautiful
•The sublime
Romanticism in Wuthering Heights
In Romantic Lit, there was emphasis on
introspection, psychology, melancholy, and sadness.
The art often dealt with death, transience and
mankind’s feelings about these things. The artist
was an extremely individualistic creator whose
creative spirit was more important than strict
adherence to formal rules and traditional
• a. The Byronic hero
• b. Emphasis on the individual and subjectivity.
Byronic Hero
English poet Lord Byron (1788-1824).
• dark, handsome appearance; brilliant but
cynical and self-destructive
• "wandering," searching behavior, but isolated
• haunted by some secret sin or crime,
sometimes hints of forbidden love
• modern culture hero: appeals to society by
standing apart from society, superior yet
wounded or unrewarded
• Heightened intellect, passion, sensitivity,
• With regard to his intellectual capacity, selfrespect, and hypersensitivity, the Byronic hero is
"larger than life," and "with the loss of his titanic
passions, his pride, and his certainty of selfidentity, he loses also his status as [a traditional]
hero" (Thorslev 187).
• Of the Bronte sisters' background, Tom Winnifrith
comments that a "study of the Brontes' juvenilia
provides confirmatory evidence of the sisters'
preoccupation with the aristocracy, their
emancipation from Victorian prudery, and the
attraction of the Byronic hero, beautiful but
damned" (4).
Specifies that there areTHEORY
five human needs and
that these are arranged in
Deficiency Needs
such a way that lower,
more basic needs must
be satisfied before
higher-level needs
become activated.
Growth Needs
The needs that must be met in order for people to develop
in a healthy fashion.
Physiological: Fundamental biological drives, such as the
need for food, air, water, and shelter.
Safety: The need for a secure environment and to be free
from threats of physical or psychological harm.
Social: The need to be affiliative – that is, to have friends,
and to be loved and accepted by other people.
The needs that must be met in order for a person to reach his or her full
Esteem: The need to develop self-respect and to gain the approval of others.
Self-Actualization: The need to discover who we are and to develop ourselves
to the fullest potential.
1.31.12 Tuesday – Byronic Hero:
Is the flaw a fault or an infliction?
• To what extent are Catherine an Heathcliff a product of
their environment, and to what extent is their “flaw” their
own fault? Find specific textual examples.
• Divide in 2 groups, Label poster, draw a continuum, mark it
for you character
• Support your “mark” by listing specific examples from the
text with a “key word” as to what the example
• Refer to/explain 2 Byronic hero traits & how they apply
• Draw an image and/or create an epithet for your character.

Romanticism in Wuthering Heights