The History and Poetry of the Romantic Era

Interested in taking a literary studies course but don’t have the time or tuition money to do so? Read the course description below for details about the completely online course that you can complete at your own pace!

Welcome to The History and Poetry of the Romantic Era! The German poet Friedrich Schlegel, who is given credit for first using the term romantic to describe literature, defined it as “literature depicting emotional matter in an imaginative form.” Though we will be focusing most of our research and study on the Romantic era of the 19th century, the movement lasted from about 1750 until 1870, though I have found that it was at its greatest potential from the time span of 1790 until 1830.

The movement was born out of anger towards what the Romantics viewed as a correlation between The Age of Reason (The Enlightenment) and the revolutions, wars, and upheaval of that era. The poetry of the Romantics often was centered on social justice, with focus on self-analysis and self-expression.

As discussed earlier, the Romantics were completely turned off by the era of The Enlightenment, or “The Age of Reason.” The Enlightenment generation valued rationalism and physical materialism, which the Romantics rejected. While those that valued the Enlightenment found themselves in a battle with the nature over control, the Romantics argued that they were a part of nature. The Romantics are known for their deep-seated connection to nature. When they wrote about religion, they did so from a perspective of Pantheism, that is, “God” is in everything – and isn’t to be found within the four walls of a structure, but instead, in the natural world around us.

William Blake, one of my personal heroes of the Romantic era, was one of the strongest proponents of social justice of the 18th and 19th centuries. Though other poets certainly explored the theme of social justice, Blake took it to an entire new level with his criticism of the Bourgeois, and the control that they transfixed over society’s middle and lower classes. We will spend our first week of study exploring Blake’s examination of society as well as his softer side through his analysis of the purpose of the self.

Romantics valued the emotional and the transcendental, acting from heart rather than intellect. They were interested in overcoming their inner struggles through art and creativity. Highly emotional people, they valued close, intimate friendships rather than large social circles.

They valued imagination, emotion, and freedom, and were generally considered loners in society. They preferred the solitary life, and loathed the restrictions of rules and structure that the Bourgeois constructed, and Blake even called these structures and rules “mind-forg’d manacles,” meaning that humanity created rules and hierarchies that aren’t found in nature, they are “forg’d” by the mind only.

The Romantics valued imagination over reason, and were devoted to beauty, love, and nature.

In the month that we spend together, we will analyze the history of the Romantic era through an analysis of poetry. We will learn together how to analyze poetry using the following forms of criticism: sociological, new historicism, formalist, and psychoanalytic.

Our course will begin on Sunday, August 16th and run for four weeks, until Saturday, September 12th. Everything will be done exclusively on Facebook through a closed group that you will be added to after having sent in your payment via Facebook Messenger’s payment app or PayPal. The schedule is very flexible – everything will be posted on Sunday of every week, and you have the entire week to do the reading, analysis, and discussion threads in your own time frame. The cost of the course is $30, which is due at the time of registration. Email me at to register.

Please register by August 17th at the latest so that you don’t miss anything! =)

Looking forward to sharing my love of the Romantic era with you!

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