Thomas de quincey appealed to the new interest in writing about the self, producing a colourful account of his early experiences in Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1821, revised and enlarged in 1856). His unusual gift of evoking states of dream and nightmare is best seen in essays such as The English mail coach and On the Knocking at the gate in Macbeth ; his essay on Murder Considered as One of the fine Arts (1827; extended. Walter savage landor s detached, lapidary style is seen at its best in some brief lyrics and in a series of erudite Imaginary conversations, which began to appear in 1824. The critical discourse of the era was dominated by the Whig quarterly The Edinburgh review (begun 1802 edited by Francis Jeffrey, and its Tory rivals The quarterly review (begun 1809) and the monthly Blackwoods Magazine (begun 1817). Though their attacks on contemporary writers could be savagely partisan, they set a notable standard of fearless and independent journalism. Similar independence was shown by leigh Hunt, whose outspoken journalism, particularly in his Examiner (begun 1808 was of wide influence, and by william Cobbett, whose rural Rides (collected in 1830 from his Political Register ) gives a telling picture, in forceful and clear prose,. Drama This was a great era of English theatre, notable for the acting of John Philip Kemble, sarah Siddons, and, from 1814, the brilliant Edmund kean. But it was not a great period of playwriting.
In a second phase, beginning with ivanhoe in 1819, Scott turned to stories set in medieval England. Finally, with quentin Durward in 1823, he added paper European settings to his historical repertoire. Scott combines a capacity for comic social observation with a romantic sense of landscape and an epic grandeur, enlarging the scope of the novel in ways that equip it to become the dominant literary form of the later 19th century. Discursive prose The French revolution prompted a fierce debate about social and political principles, a debate conducted in impassioned and often eloquent polemical prose. Richard Price s Discourse on the love of Our country (1789) was answered by Edmund Burke s conservative reflections on the revolution in France (1790) and by wollstonecrafts a vindication of the rights of Men (1790) and a vindication of the rights of Woman (1792. The romantic emphasis on individualism is reflected in much of the prose of the period, particularly in criticism and the familiar essay. Among the most vigorous writing is that of William hazlitt, a forthright and subjective critic whose most characteristic work is seen in his collections of lectures On the English poets (1818) and On the English Comic Writers (1819) and in The Spirit of the Age. In The Essays of Elia (1823) and The last Essays of Elia (1833 Charles Lamb, an even more personal essayist, projects with apparent artlessness a carefully managed portrait of himself—charming, whimsical, witty, sentimental, and nostalgic. As his fine letters show, however, he could on occasion produce mordant satire. Mary russell Mitford s Our Village (1832) is another example of the charm and humour of the familiar essay in this period.
With Austen the comic brilliance and exquisite narrative construction of fielding return to the English novel, in best conjunction with a distinctive and deadly irony. Thomas love peacock is another witty novelist who combined an intimate knowledge of Romantic ideas with a satirical attitude toward them, though in comic debates rather than conventional narratives. Headlong Hall (1816 melincourt (1817 and Nightmare Abbey (1818) are sharp accounts of contemporary intellectual and cultural fashions, as are the two much later fictions in which peacock reused this successful formula, crotchet Castle (1831) and Gryll Grange (186061). Sir Walter Scott is the English writer who can in the fullest sense be called a romantic novelist. After a successful career as a poet, Scott switched to prose fiction in 1814 with the first of the waverley novels. In the first phase of his work as a novelist, Scott wrote about the Scotland of the 17th and 18th centuries, charting its gradual transition from the feudal era into the modern world in a series of vivid human dramas. Waverley (1814 guy mannering (1815 The Antiquary (1816 Old Mortality (1816 rob roy (1817 and The heart of Midlothian (1818) are the masterpieces of this period.
Anti-jacobin novelists such as Jane west ( a gossips Story, 1796; a tale of the times, 1799 Amelia opie ( Adeline mowbray, 1804 and Mary Brunton ( Self-Control, 1811) stressed the dangers of social change. Some writers were more bipartisan, notably Elizabeth Hamilton ( Memoirs of Modern Philosophers, 1800) and Maria edgeworth, whose long, varied, and distinguished career extended from Letters for Literary ladies (1795) to helen (1834). Her pioneering regional novel Castle rackrent (1800 an affectionately comic portrait of life in 18th-century Ireland, influenced the subsequent work of Scott. Jane austen stands on the conservative side of this battle of ideas, though in novels that incorporate their anti-jacobin and anti-romantic views so subtly into love stories that many readers are unaware of them. Three of her novels— sense and Sensibility (first write published in 1811; originally titled Elinor and Marianne pride and Prejudice (1813; originally first Impressions and Northanger Abbey (published posthumously in 1817)—were drafted in the late 1790s. Three more novels— mansfield Park (1814 Emma (1815 and Persuasion (1817, together with Northanger Abbey )—were written between 18Austen uses, essentially, two standard plots. In one of these a right-minded but neglected heroine is gradually acknowledged to be correct by characters who have previously looked down on her (such as Fanny Price in Mansfield Park and Anne Elliot in Persuasion ). In the other an attractive but self-deceived heroine (such as Emma woodhouse in Emma or Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice ) belatedly recovers from her condition of error and is rewarded with the partner she had previously despised or overlooked. On this slight framework, austen constructs a powerful case for the superiority of the augustan virtues of common sense, empiricism, and rationality to the new Romantic values of imagination, egotism, and subjectivity.
James Hogg s The Private memoirs and Confessions of a justified Sinner (1824) is a subtle study of religious mania and split personality. Even in its more-vulgar examples, however, gothic fiction can symbolically address serious political and psychological issues. By the 1790s, realistic fiction had acquired a polemical role, reflecting the ideas of the French revolution, though sacrificing much of its comic power in the process. One practitioner of this type of fiction, robert Bage, is best remembered for Hermsprong; or, man as he is Not (1796 in which a natural hero rejects the conventions of contemporary society. The radical Thomas Holcroft published two novels, Anna. Ives (1792) and The Adventures of Hugh Trevor (1794 influenced by the ideas of William Godwin. Godwin himself produced the best example of this political fiction in Things as They are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794 borrowing techniques from the gothic novel to enliven a narrative of social oppression. Women novelists contributed extensively to this ideological debate. Radicals such as Mary wollstonecraft ( Mary, 1788; Maria; or, The Wrongs of Woman, 1798 Elizabeth Inchbald ( Nature and Art, 1796 and Mary hays ( Memoirs of Emma courtney, 1796) celebrated the rights of the individual.
William, hazlitt, essayist and critic, selections from his writings
More striking than these continuations of previous modes, however, was Horace walpole s invention, in The castle of Otranto (1764 of what became known as the gothic novel. Walpoles intention was to blend the fantastic plot of ancient romance with the realistic characterization of modern (or novel) romance. Characters would respond with terror to extraordinary events, and readers would vicariously participate. Walpoles innovation was not significantly imitated until the 1790s, when—perhaps because the violence of the French revolution created a taste for a correspondingly extreme mode of fiction—a torrent of such works appeared. The most important writer of these stories was Ann Radcliffe, who distinguished between terror and horror. Terror old expands living the soul by its use of uncertainty and obscurity. Horror, on the other hand, is actual and specific.
Radcliffes own novels, especially The mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and The Italian (1797 were examples of the fiction of terror. Vulnerable heroines, trapped in ruined castles, are terrified by supernatural perils that prove to be illusions. Matthew Lewis, by contrast, wrote the fiction of horror. In The monk (1796) the hero commits both murder and incest, and the repugnant details include a womans imprisonment in a vault full of rotting human corpses. Some later examples of Gothic fiction have more-sophisticated agendas. Mary Shelley s Frankenstein; or, The modern Prometheus (1818) is a novel of ideas that anticipates science fiction.
It might also be argued, in more broadly cultural terms, that the comic and realistic qualities of the novel were at odds with the new sensibility of Romanticism. But the problem was always one of quality rather than quantity. Flourishing as a form of entertainment, the novel nevertheless underwent several important developments in this period. One was the invention of the gothic novel. Another was the appearance of a politically engaged fiction in the years immediately before the French revolution.
A third was the rise of women writers to the prominence that they have held ever since in prose fiction. The sentimental tradition of Richardson and Sterne persisted until the 1790s with Henry Brooke s The fool of quality (176570 henry mackenzie s The man of feeling (1771 and Charles Lamb s a tale of Rosamund Gray and Old Blind Margaret (1798). Novels of this kind were, however, increasingly mocked in the later years of the 18th century. The comic realism of fielding and Smollett continued in a more sporadic way. John moore gave a cosmopolitan flavour to the worldly wisdom of his predecessors in Zeluco (1786) and Mordaunt (1800). Fanny burney carried the comic realist manner into the field of female experience with the novels evelina (1778 cecilia (1782 and Camilla (1796). Her discovery of the comic and didactic potential of a plot charting a womans progress from the nursery to the altar would be important for several generations of female novelists.
Hazlitt, essay on going a journey
Thomas lovell Beddoes, whose violent imagery and obsession with death and the macabre recall the jacobean dramatists, represents an imagination at the opposite pole; metrical virtuosity is displayed in book the songs and lyrical passages from his over-sensational tragedy deaths Jest-book (begun 1825; published posthumously, 1850). Another minor writer who found inspiration in the 17th century was george darley, some of presentation whose songs from Nepenthe (1835) keep their place in anthologies. The comic writer Thomas hood also wrote poems of social protest, such as The song of the Shirt (1843) and The Bridge of Sighs, as well as the graceful Plea of the midsummer fairies (1827). Felicia hemans s best-remembered poem, casabianca, appeared in her volume The forest Sanctuary (1825). This was followed in 1828 by the more substantial Records of Woman. The novel: from the gothic novel to austen and Scott The death of Tobias Smollett in 1771 brought an end to the first great period of novel writing in English. Not until the appearance of Jane austen s Sense and Sensibility in 1811 and Sir Walter Scott s waverley in 1814 would there again be works of prose fiction that ranked with the masterpieces of Richardson, fielding, Sterne, and Smollett. It is possible to suggest practical reasons for this 40-year partial eclipse. The war with France made paper expensive, causing publishers in the 1790s and early 1800s to prefer short, dense forms, such as poetry.
His two longest poems, Childe harolds Pilgrimage (181218) and Don juan (181924 his masterpiece, provided alternative personae for himself, the one a bitter and melancholy exile among the historic sites of religious Europe, the other a picaresque adventurer enjoying a series of amorous adventures. The gloomy and misanthropic vein was further mined in dramatic poems such as Manfred (1817) and cain (1821 which helped to secure his reputation in Europe, but he is now remembered best for witty, ironic, and less portentous writings, such as Beppo (1818 in which. The easy, nonchalant, biting style developed there became a formidable device in Don juan and in his satire on southey, the vision of Judgment (1822). Other poets of the later period John Clare, a northamptonshire man of humble background, achieved early success with poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery (1820 The village minstrel (1821 and The Shepherds Calendar (1827). Both his reputation and his mental health collapsed in the late 1830s. He spent the later years of his life in an asylum in Northampton; the poetry he wrote there was rediscovered in the 20th century. His natural simplicity and lucidity of diction, his intent observation, his almost Classical poise, and the unassuming dignity of his attitude to life make him one of the most quietly moving of English poets.
of his vision with feverish. He experimented with many kinds of poems: Isabella (published 1820 an adaptation of a tale by, giovanni boccaccio, is a tour de force of craftsmanship in its attempt to reproduce a medieval atmosphere and at the same time a poem involved in contemporary politics. His epic fragment, hyperion (begun in 1818 and abandoned, published 1820; later begun again and published posthumously. The fall of Hyperion in 1856) has a new spareness of imagery, but keats soon found the style too miltonic and decided to give himself up to what he called other sensations. Some of these other sensations are found in the poems of 1819, keatss annus mirabilis : The eve. Agnes and the great odes to a nightingale, on a grecian Urn, and to autumn. These, with the hyperion poems, represent the summit of keatss achievement, showing what has been called the disciplining of sensation into symbolic meaning, the complex themes being handled with a concrete richness of detail. His superb letters show the full range of the intelligence at work in his poetry. George gordon, lord Byron, who differed from Shelley and keats in themes and manner, was at one with them in reflecting their shift toward Mediterranean topics. Having thrown down the gauntlet in his early poem English Bards and Scotch reviewers (1809 in which he directed particular scorn at poets of sensibility and declared his own allegiance to milton, Dryden, and Pope, he developed a poetry of dash and flair, in many.
Despite his grasp of practical politics, however, it is a mistake to look for concreteness in his poetry, where his concern is with subtleties of perception and with the underlying forces of nature: his most characteristic images are of sky and weather, of lights and. His poetic stance invites the reader to respond with similar outgoing aspiration. It adheres to the rousseauistic belief in an underlying spirit in individuals, one truer to human nature itself than the behaviour evinced and approved by society. In that sense his material is transcendental and cosmic and his expression thoroughly appropriate. Possessed of great technical brilliance, he is, at his best, a poet of excitement and power. John keats, by contrast, was a poet so sensuous and physically specific that his early work, such. Endymion presentation (1818 could produce an over-luxuriant, cloying effect. As the program set out in his early poem.
William, hazlitt, critical Essays
The later Romantics: Shelley, keats, and Byron. The poets of the next generation shared their predecessors passion for liberty (now set in a new perspective by the napoleonic Wars) and were in a position to learn from their experiments. Percy bysshe Shelley in particular was deeply interested in politics, coming biography early under the spell of the anarchist views. William, godwin, whose, enquiry concerning Political Justice had appeared in 1793. Shelleys revolutionary ardour caused him to claim in his critical essay, a defence of poetry (1821, published 1840) that the most unfailing herald, companion, and follower of the awakening of a great people to work a beneficial change in opinion or institution, is poetry, and. This fervour burns throughout the early. Queen Mab (1813 the long, laon and Cythna (retitled, the revolt of Islam, 1818 and the lyrical drama, prometheus Unbound (1820). Shelley saw himself at once as poet and prophet, as the fine. Ode to the west Wind (1819) makes clear.