1. Speak about the Romantic movement in England: its historical background; its attitude to nature, religion
and myths; the image of the romantic hero; its social and political consciousness.
Romanticism appeared at the end of the 18th century as a reaction to rationalism, as an attempt to show people
that emotions, spiritual values and yearnings [ˈjɜːnɪŋ] (сильное желание) constitute a great part of human life.
The characteristic features of Romanticism are:
- dissatisfaction with the present and with the limitations of the reality;
- an emphasis upon imagination stimulated by the writer’s emotions as a key to communicate experience and
spiritual truth;
- a romanticist obeys only his inner world code, he is a dreamer. In his dreams a great significance is attached to
symbolism, but he never resorts to explanations of symbols – a reader should find a necessary impulse himself;
- a deepened appreciation of the beauties of nature;
- a general exaltation (возвышение) of emotion over reason and of the senses over intellect;
- a heightened examination of human personality and its moods and mental potentialities;
- a preoccupation with the genius, the hero, and the exceptional figure in general, and a focus on his passions
and inner struggles;
- an obsessive interest in folk culture, national and ethnic cultural origins;
- an inclination to the exotic, the remote, the mysterious.
- focus on the individual
- revolt against political authority and social convention
- celebration of the beauty and mystery of nature
- paradoxical tendency toward free thought and religious mysticism
- fascination with the supernatural and the gothic (the morbid, the melancholy, and the cruel)
- Beyond literature, social reforms grew out of emphasis on individual dignity and human rights
1.Romanticism was the dominating philosophy during the 50 year period between 1780-1830. Romanticism is an
attitude toward nature, humanity, and society that championed freedom and individualism.
Romantic ideas were revolutionary. And romanticism takes its roots as a movement following the French
Revolution and the American Revolution. The publication of Lyrical Ballads [ˈbæləd] by William Wordsworth and
Samuel Taylor Coleridge [ˈkəʊlərɪʤ] in 1792 is considered the beginning of literary Romanticism.
Science was a wealth of technological advances that fueled an economic shift called the Industrial Revolution. In
many ways, Romantic ideals were a reaction to the injustices of the Industrial Revolution. There was also a rising
awareness of the need for social justice for individuals, especially for children, women, and slaves. All of these
revisions were a direct result from an increased focus on the needs of every individual.
Writers explored supernatural and gothic themes. There was an idea that God was in nature, unlike “Age of
Reason” writers like Franklin and Jefferson, who saw God as a “divine watchmaker,” who created the universe and
left it to run itself. Besides, people believed in essential goodness of human nature. Religious and social repressiveness
was the enemy. They did an emphasis on inner (psychic) experiences. This movement popularized independence in
religion and politics
Romanticism places a strong emphasis on wildness or the dreamlike qualities of nature although these were
idealized. The Nature admired by romanticism was not a realistic one. Romanticism rejected the Enlightenment view
of nature as a precise, harmonious whole.Nature to the Romanticist is alive, changing, and filled with the divine spirit.
The Romantic hero first began appearing in literature during the Romantic Period, in works by such authors as
Byron [ˈbaɪərən], Percy [ˈpɜːsɪ] Shelley, and Goethe [gəʊθ]. The romantic hero is often the main protagonist in the
literary work and there is a primary focus on the character's thoughts rather than his or her actions. The romantic hero
possesses an understanding of his inner-world, he understands the value of his experiences through emotions,
intuition, and feelings rather than logically reasoning. And he is drawn to nature. The Romantic hero refers to a
character that rejects established norms and conventions, has been rejected by society, and has the self as the center of
his existence. He follows own code of morality and justice.
2. Speak about W. Blake’s “Songs of Innocence and Experience” (their mood, image, topics, devices, etc.).
Compare two verses – one from “Songs of Innocence” and one from “Songs of Experience” (e.g. “The
Lamb” and “The Tyger”)
Blake’s “Songs of Innocence and Experience” juxtapose (сопоставлять) the innocent, pastoral (пастуший)
world of childhood against an adult world of corruption and repression; while such poems as “The Lamb” represent a
modest virtue, poems like “The Tyger” exhibit opposing, darker forces. Thus the collection as a whole explores the
value and limitations of two different perspectives on the world. Many of the poems fall into pairs, so that the same
situation or problem is seen through the lens of innocence first and then experience. Blake stands outside innocence
and experience, in a distanced position from which he hopes to be able to recognize and correct the fallacies of both.
In particular, he himself fights against despotic authority, restrictive morality, sexual repression, and institutionalized
2. Showing the two contrary states of the human soul Blake’s "Songs of Innocence and Experience" reveals a
symbolic development which existed in opposition to conventional concepts of modernity [mɔˈdɜːnɪtɪ] and morality.
Calling for the liberation of human energy and creativity, Blake’s Songs are scathing [ˈskeɪðɪŋ] in their criticism of the
prevailing mood of enlightenment rationality. Unity between energy, poetry and God was portrayed by Blake as an
eternal ‘innocence’ while ‘experience’ came to embody it, which had led man to fall from Eden.
Songs of Innocence and of Experience represents Blake’s theological and mythological development
which culminated in a belief system both radical and deeply spiritual.
Blake was both poet and artist, and it is a mistake for any interpretation of his poems to ignore the central role his
engravings [ɪnˈgreɪvɪŋ] played in creating meaning. For example, the bird of paradise is a common image used in
Blake’s works to symbolize innocence and creative freedom. Similarly, ‘experience’ is often shown as a dark forest in
which mankind finds himself alone and lost.
While Innocence was published in 1789, Experience was published only in 1794. Indeed, some literary
historians have argued that Blake, when writing Innocence, did not intend for a latter series of antithetical poems to
be created. The state of purity and childlike perspectives, discussed in Innocence, establishes Blake’s ideal
condition for humanity. Experience was born out of the political troubles – both in England and abroad –
which, to Blake, exemplified the struggle of spirit against oppression.
Similarities between Innocence and Experience are most evident in the titles of the poems, but this resemblance
extends also to the subject matter and structure of the verses. Most poems in Innocence have an opposite in
Experience. Thus the pastoral [ˈpɑːstərəl] paradise of ‘The Lamb’ is compared with the industrial furnace [ˈfɜːnɪs] of
‘The Tyger’ and the holy unity between man and God in ‘The Divine Image’ is offset by man’s malice in ‘The Human
Blake’s innocence was once possessed by all, when man and God were united in a common ‘divine image’. All
souls in this state of innocence were ‘white’ – filled with the light divine.
Songs of Experience is an account of man’s cruelty and shrewd rationality, manifested in humanity’s
current condition. It does not seek simply to damn humanity, however, as Blake creates a spiritual essence – the
‘Bard’ – which guides individuals towards paradise. The bard calls to Earth and fallen man to walk again ‘among the
ancient trees’, an allusion to the unity that existed between God and human in the Garden of Eden.
Since its fall, humanity has been stumbling through a dark forest, Blake’s image for misguided materialism,
and is held back from Eden by blind reason. It remains to humankind to liberate their souls and rejoin God in
paradise. This will not occur, Blake states, so long as man ‘builds a Hell in Heaven despite’.
Expressed throughout Blake’s poetry is a theme of unity with the divine. ‘The Divine Image’ speaks of ‘Mercy
Pity Peace and Love’ as the forces which bind man with God. At our best, argues Blake, ‘Mercy has a
human heart’, while Pity is revealed in the human face.These ‘virtues of delight’, however, have become
corrupted by false religions and oppressors of the soul. This decay is expressed in ‘The Human Abstract’
where the unifying forces of Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love have become tools of repression – wielded by
hypocritical priests and moralists.
3. Great Scottish poet R. Burns: life and creative work.
Robert burns was a poet and a songwriter. He is widely regarded as the national poet of
Scotland, and is the best known of the poet who have written in the Scot language, although
much of his writing is also in English and in a “light” Scots dialect which would have been
accessible to a wider audience than simply Scottish people. At various times in his career, he
wrote in English, and in these pieces, his political or civil commentary is often at its most
The genius of Burns is marked by spontaneity, directness, and sincerity, and his variety
is marvellous, ranging from the tender intensity of some of his lyrics through the rollicking
humour and blazing wit of Tam o' Shanter to the blistering satire of Holy Willie's Prayer and
The Holy Fair. His life is a tragedy, and his character full of flaws. But he fought at
tremendous odds, and as Thomas Carlyle in his great Essay says, "Granted the ship comes
into harbour with shrouds and tackle damaged, the pilot is blameworthy ... but to know how
blameworthy, tell us first whether his voyage has been round the Globe or only to Ramsgate
and the Isle of Dogs."
4. R. Burns’ lyric and modes of impersonation: reason and sentiment combined. Give
He was a true son of the Scottish peasantry. His poems embody their thoughts,
aspiration, human dignity, their love of freedom and hatred of all oppressors. He was deeply
interested in the glorious part of his country. In spite of his poverty, hunger Burns was an
optimist. He enjoyed his life, and sang of the richness and wonder of life. His peasant origin
and environment aided him in preserving primitive simplicity of old songs and his
achievements as a lyrist – sympathy, humor, sentiment, and emotions combined together.
Some of his lyrical pieces are tender and pathetic; some about humor and irony. His
masterful touch upon the human heart-strings is the most characteristic feature of his talent.
There is a melodic quality in his poetry. He glorifies true love and friendship, free from any
motives of gain an hypocritical morality. In many of them he reveals the beauty of nature. He
remains the bard of freedom. Most of his lyrics differ entirely in the manner and spirit from
those of the principal English poets. He enriched each song with his own individual vitality.
5. G.G. Byron’s development of the verse tale (“Oriental Tales”). Speak about these
poems and about the romantic character of his early works.
After his return from his travels, the first two cantos of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
were published in 1812, and were received with acclaim. He followed up his success with
the poem's last two cantos, as well as four equally celebrated Oriental Tales, The Giaour,
The Bride of Abydos, The Corsair, and Lara, which established a type of protagonist that
came to be known as the Byronic hero.
6. G.G. Byron’s mature work and transition to realism (“Don Juan”): speak about the
novel’s plot; its composition and style; characterize the main hero.
Byron's magnum opus, Don Juan, a poem spanning 17 cantos, ranks as one of the most
important long poems published in England since John Milton's Paradise Lost. The
masterpiece, often called the epic of its time, has roots deep in literary tradition and equally
involves itself with its own contemporary world at all levels — social, political, literary and
Why is “Don Juan” called “a realistic novel in verse”? Prove it.
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