Knowledge is the key to immortality
Prepared by Dr. Baburam Swami - Assistant Professor - English


Age of Romanticism. This period extends from the war with the colonies, following the Declaration of Independence, in 1776, to the accession of Victoria in 1837, both limits being very indefinite, as will be seen by a glance at the Chronology following. During the first part of the period especially, England was in a continual turmoil, produced by political and economic agitation at home, and by the long wars that covered two continents and the wide sea between them. The mighty changes resulting from these two causes have given this period the name of the Age of Revolution. The storm center of all the turmoil at home and abroad was the French Revolution, which had a profound influence on the life and literature of all Europe. On the Continent the overthrow of Napoleon at Waterloo (1815) apparently checked the progress of liberty, which had started with the French Revolution,[233] but in England the case was reversed. The agitation for popular liberty, which at one time threatened a revolution, went steadily forward till it resulted in the final triumph of democracy, in the Reform Bill of 1832, and in a number of exceedingly important reforms, such as the extension of manhood suffrage, the removal of the last unjust restrictions against Catholics, the establishment of a national system of schools, followed by a rapid increase in popular education, and the abolition of slavery in all English colonies (1833). To this we must add the changes produced by the discovery of steam and the invention of machinery, which rapidly changed England from an agricultural to a manufacturing nation, introduced the factory system, and caused this period to be known as the Age of Industrial Revolution.

The literature of the age is largely poetical in form, and almost entirely romantic in spirit. For, as we have noted, the triumph of democracy in government is generally accompanied by the triumph of romanticism in literature. At first the literature, as shown especially in the early work of Wordsworth, Byron, and Shelley, reflected the turmoil of the age and the wild hopes of an ideal democracy occasioned by the French Revolution. Later the extravagant enthusiasm subsided, and English writers produced so much excellent literature that the age is often called the Second Creative period, the first being the Age of Elizabeth. The six chief characteristics of the age are: the prevalence of romantic poetry; the creation of the historical novel by Scott; the first appearance of women novelists, such as Mrs. Anne Radcliffe, Jane Porter, Maria Edgeworth, and Jane Austen; the development of literary criticism, in the work of Lamb, De Quincey, Coleridge, and Hazlitt; the practical and economic bent of philosophy, as shown in the work of Malthus, James Mill, and Adam Smith; and the establishment of great literary magazines, like the Edinburgh Review, theQuarterly, Blackwood's, and the Athenaeum.

In our study we have noted (1) the Poets of Romanticism: the importance of the Lyrical Ballads of 1798; the life and work of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Scott, Byron, Shelley, and Keats; (2) the Prose Writers: the novels of Scott; the development of literary criticism; the life and work of the essayists, Lamb, De Quincey, Landor, and of the novelist Jane Austen.

Selections for Reading. Manly's English Poetry and Manly's English Prose (each one vol.) contain good selections from all authors studied. Ward's English Poets (4 vols.), Craik's English Prose Selections (5 vols.), Braithwaite's The Book of Georgian Verse, Page's British Poets of the Nineteenth Century, and Garnett's English Prose from Elizabeth to Victoria, may also be used to advantage. Important works, however, should be read entire in one of the inexpensive school editions given below. (Full titles and publishers may be found in the General Bibliography at the end of this book.)

Wordsworth. Intimations of Immortality, Tintern Abbey, best lyrics and sonnets, in Selections, edited by Dowden (Athenaeum Press Series); selections and short poems, edited by M. Arnold, in Golden Treasury Series; Selections, also in Everyman's Library, Riverside Literature Series, Cassell's National Library, etc.

Coleridge. Ancient Mariner, edited by L. R. Gibbs, in Standard English Classics; same poem, in Pocket Classics, Eclectic English Classics, etc.; Poems, edited by J. M. Hart, in Athenæum Press (announced, 1909); Selections, Golden Book of Coleridge, in Everyman's Library; Selections from Coleridge and Campbell, in Riverside Literature; Prose Selections (Ginn and Company, also Holt); Lectures on Shakespeare, in Everyman's Library, Bohn's Standard Library, etc.

Scott. Lady of the Lake, Marmion, Ivanhoe, The Talisman, Guy Mannering, Quentin Durward. Numerous inexpensive editions of Scott's best poems and novels in Standard English Classics, Pocket Classics, Cassell's National Library, Eclectic English Classics, Everyman's Library, etc.; thus, Lady of the Lake, edited by Edwin Ginn, and Ivanhoe, edited by W. D. Lewis, both in Standard English Classics; Marmion, edited by G. B. Acton, and The Talisman, edited by F. Treudly, in Pocket Classics, etc.

Byron. Mazeppa and The Prisoner of Chillon, edited by S. M. Tucker, in Standard English Classics; short poems, Selections from Childe Harold, etc., in Canterbury Poets, Riverside Literature, Holt's English Readings, Pocket Classics, etc.

Shelley. To a Cloud, To a Skylark, West Wind, Sensitive Plant, Adonais, etc., all in Selections from Shelley, edited by Alexander, in Athenæum Press Series; Selections, edited by Woodberry, in Belles Lettres Series; Selections, also in Pocket Classics, Heath's English Classics, Golden Treasury Series, etc.

Keats. Ode on a Grecian Urn, Eve of St. Agnes, Hyperion, Lamia, To a Nightingale, etc., in Selections from Keats, in Athenæum Press; Selections also in Muses' Library, Riverside Literature, Golden Treasury Series, etc.

Lamb. Essays: Dream Children, Old China, Dissertation on Roast Pig, etc., edited by Wauchope, in Standard English Classics; various essays also in Camelot Series, Temple Classics, Everyman's Library, etc. Tales from Shakespeare, in Home and School Library (Ginn and Company); also in Riverside Literature, Pocket Classics, Golden Treasury, etc.

De Quincey. The English Mail-Coach and Joan of Arc, in Standard English Classics, etc.; Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, in Temple Classics, Morley's Universal Library, Everyman's Library, Pocket Classics, etc.; Selections, edited by M. H. Turk, in Athenæum Press; Selections, edited by B. Perry (Holt).

Landor. Selections, edited by W. Clymer, in Athenæum Press; Pericles and Aspasia, in Camelot Series; Imaginary Conversations, selected (Ginn and Company); the same, 2 vols., in Dutton's Universal Library; selected poems, in Canterbury Poets; selections, prose and verse, in Golden Treasury Series.

Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice, in Everyman's Library, Pocket Classics, etc.


History. Text-book, Montgomery, pp. 323-357; Cheyney, 576-632. General Works. Green, X, 2-4, Traill, Gardiner, Macaulay, etc. Special Works. Cheyney's Industrial and Social History of England; Warner's Landmarks of English Industrial History; Hassall's Making of the British Empire; Macaulay's William Pitt; Trevelyan's Early Life of Charles James Fox; Morley's Edmund Burke; Morris's Age of Queen Anne and the Early Hanoverians.

Literature. General Works. Mitchell, Courthope, Garnett and Gosse, Taine (see General Bibliography). Special Works. Beers's English Romanticism in the Nineteenth Century; A. Symons's The Romantic Movement in English Poetry; Dowden's The French Revolution and English Literature, also Studies in Literature, 1789-1877; Hancock's The French Revolution and the English Poets; Herford's The Age of Wordsworth (Handbooks of English Literature); Mrs. Oliphant's Literary History of England in the End of the Eighteenth and Beginning of the Nineteenth Centuries; Saintsbury's History of Nineteenth Century Literature; Masson's Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, and Other Essays; Poets and Poetry of the Nineteenth Century, vols. 1-3; Gates's Studies and Appreciations; S. Brooke's Studies in Poetry; Rawnsley's Literary Associations of the English Lakes (2 vols.).

Wordsworth. Texts: Globe, Aldine, Cambridge editions, etc.; Poetical and Prose Works, with Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal, edited by Knight, Eversley Edition (London and New York, 1896); Letters of the Wordsworth Family, edited by Knight, 3 vols. (Ginn and Company); Poetical Selections, edited by Dowden, in Athenaeum Press; various other selections, in Golden Treasury, etc.; Prose Selections, edited by Gayley (Ginn and Company). Life: Memoirs, 2 vols., by Christopher Wordsworth; by Knight, 3 vols.; by Myers (English Men of Letters); by Elizabeth Wordsworth; Early Life (a Study of the Prelude) by E. Legouis, translated by J. Matthews; Raleigh's Wordsworth; N.C. Smith's Wordsworth's Literary Criticism; Rannie's Wordsworth and His Circle. Criticism: Herford's The Age of Wordsworth; Masson's Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats; Magnus's Primer of Wordsworth; Wilson's Helps to the Study of Arnold's Wordsworth; Essays, by Lowell, in Among My Books; by M. Arnold, in Essays in Criticism; by Hutton, in Literary Essays; by L. Stephen, in Hours in a Library, and in Studies of a Biographer; by Bagehot, in Literary Studies; by Hazlitt, in The Spirit of the Age; by Pater, in Appreciations; by De Quincey, in Essays on the Poets; by Fields, in Yesterdays with Authors; by Shairp, in Studies in Poetry and Philosophy. See also Knight's Through the Wordsworth Country, and Rawnsley's Literary Associations of the English Lakes.

Coleridge. Texts: Complete Works, edited by Shedd, 7 vols. (New York 1884); Poems, Globe, Aldine, and Cambridge editions, in Athenaeum Press (announced, 1909), Muses' Library, Canterbury Poets, etc.; Biographia Literaria, in Everyman's Library; the same, in Clarendon Press; Prose Selections, Lectures on Shakespeare, etc. (see Selections for Reading, above); Letters, edited by E.H. Coleridge (London, 1895). Life: by J.D. Campbell; by Traill (English Men of Letters); by Dykes; by Hall Caine (Great Writers Series); see also Coleridge's Biographia Literaria, and Lamb's essay, Christ's Hospital, in Essays of Elia. Criticism: Brandl's Coleridge and the English Romantic Movement. Essays, by Shairp, in Studies in Poetry and Philosophy; by Woodberry, in Makers of Literature; by J. Forster, in Great Teachers; by Dowden, in New Studies; by Swinburne, in Essays and Studies; by Brooke, in Theology in the English Poets; by Saintsbury, in Essays in English Literature; by Lowell in Democracy and Other Essays; by Hazlitt, and by Pater (see Wordsworth, above). See also Beers's English Romanticism; Carlyle's chapter on Coleridge, in Life of John Sterling.

Southey. Texts: Poems, edited by Dowden (Macmillan); Poetical Works (Crowell); Selections in Canterbury Poets; Life of Nelson, in Everyman's Library, Temple Classics, Morley's Universal Library, etc. Life: by Dowden (English Men of Letters). Essays, by L. Stephen, in Studies of a Biographer; by Hazlitt and Saintsbury (see above).

Scott. Texts: Numerous good editions of novels and poems. For single works, see Selections for Reading, above. Life: by Lockhart, 5 vols. (several editions; best by Pollard, 1900); by Hutton (English Men of Letters); by A. Lang, in Literary Lives; by C. D. Yonge (Great Writers); by Hudson; by Saintsbury (Famous Scots Series). Criticism: Essays, by Stevenson, Gossip on Romance, in Memories and Portraits; by Shairp, in Aspects of Poetry; by Swinburne, in Studies in Prose and Poetry; by Carlyle, in Miscellaneous Essays; by Hazlitt, Bagehot, L. Stephen, Brooke, and Saintsbury (see Coleridge and Wordsworth, above).

Byron. Texts: Complete Works, Globe, Cambridge Poets, and Oxford editions; Selections, edited by M. Arnold, in Golden Treasury (see also Selections for Reading, above); Letters and Journals of Byron, edited by Moore (unreliable). Life: by Noel (Great Writers); by Nichol (English Men of Letters); The Real Lord Byron, by J. C. Jeaffreson; Trelawny's Recollections of Shelley and Byron. Criticism: Hunt's Lord Byron and His Contemporaries; Essays, by Morley, Macaulay, Hazlitt, Swinburne, and M. Arnold.

Shelley. Texts: Centenary Edition, edited by Woodberry, 4 vols.; Globe and Cambridge Poets editions; Essays and Letters, in Camelot Series (see Selections for Reading, above). Life: by Symonds (English Men of Letters); by Dowden, 2 vols.; by Sharp (Great Writers); by T. J. Hogg, 2 vols.; by W. M. Rossetti. Criticism: Salt's A Shelley Primer; Essays, by Dowden, in Transcripts and Studies; by M. Arnold, Woodberry, Bagehot, Forster, L. Stephen, Brooke, De Quincey, and Hutton (see Coleridge and Wordsworth, above).

Keats. Texts: Complete Works, edited by Forman, 4 vols. (London, 1883); Cambridge Poets Edition, with Letters, edited by H. E. Scudder (Houghton, Mifflin); Aldine Edition, with Life, edited by Lord Houghton (Macmillan); Selected Poems, with introduction and notes by Arlo Bates (Ginn and Company); Poems, also in Everyman's Library, Muses' Library, Golden Treasury, etc.; Letters, edited by S. Colvin, in Eversley Edition. Life: by Forman, in Complete Works; by Colvin (English Men of Letters); by W. M. Rossetti (Great Writers); by A. E. Hancock. Criticism: H. C. Shelley's Keats and His Circle; Masson's Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, and Other Essays; Essays, by M. Arnold, in Essays in Criticism, also in Ward's English Poets, vol. 4; by Hudson, in Studies in Interpretation; by Lowell, in Among My Books, or Literary Essays, vol. 2; by Brooke, De Quincey, and Swinburne (above).

Lamb. Texts: Complete Works and Letters, edited by E. V. Lucas, 7 vols. (Putnam); the same, edited by Ainger, 6 vols. (London, 1883-1888); Essays of Elia, in Standard English Classics, etc. (see Selections for Reading); Dramatic Essays, edited by B. Matthews (Dodd, Mead); Specimens of English Dramatic Poets, in Bohn's Library. Life: by E. V. Lucas, 2 vols.; by Ainger (English Men of Letters); by Barry Cornwall; Talfourd's Memoirs of Charles Lamb. Criticism: Essays, by De Quincey, in Biographical Essays; by F. Harrison, in Tennyson, Ruskin, Mill, and Other Literary Estimates; by Pater, and Woodberry (see Wordsworth and Coleridge, above). See also Fitzgerald's Charles Lamb, his Friends, his Haunts, and his Books.

De Quincey. Texts: Collected Writings, edited by Masson, 14 vols. (London, 1889-1891); Confessions of an Opium-Eater, etc. (see Selections for Reading). Life: by Masson (English Men of Letters); Life and Writings, by H. A. Page, 2 vols.; Hogg's De Quincey and his Friends; Findlay's Personal Recollections of De Quincey; see also De Quincey's Autobiographical Sketches, and Confessions. Criticism: Essays, by Saintsbury, in Essays in English Literature; by Masson, in Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, and Other Essays; by L. Stephen, in Hours in a Library. See also Minto's Manual of English Prose Literature.

Landor. Texts: Works, with Life by Forster, 8 vols. (London, 1876); Works, edited by Crump (London, 1897); Letters, etc., edited by Wheeler (London, 1897 and 1899); Imaginary Conversations, etc. (see Selections for Reading). Life: by Colvin (English Men of Letters); by Forster. Criticism: Essays, by De Quincey, Woodberry, L. Stephen, Saintsbury, Swinburne, Dow-den (see above). See also Stedman's Victorian Poets.

Jane Austen. Texts: Works, edited by R. B. Johnson (Dent); various other editions of novels; Letters, edited by Woolsey (Roberts). Life: Austen-Leigh's Memoir of Jane Austen; Hill's Jane Austen, her Home and her Friends; Mitton's Jane Austen and her Times. Life, by Goldwin Smith; by Maiden (Famous Women Series); by O. F. Adams. Criticism: Pollock's Jane Austen; Pellew's Jane Austen's Novels; A. A. Jack's Essay on the Novel as Illustrated by Scott and Miss Austen; H. H. Bonnell's Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Jane Austen; Essay, by Howells, in Heroines of Fiction.

Maria Edgeworth. Texts: Tales and Novels, New Langford Edition, 10 vols. (London, 1893) various editions of novels (Dent, etc.); The Absentee, and Castle Rackrent, in Morley's Universal Library. Life: by Helen Zimmerman; Memoir, by Hare.

Mrs. Anne Radclife. Romances, with introduction by Scott, in Ballantynes' Novelists Library (London, 1824); various editions of Udolpho, etc.; Saintsbury's Tales of Mystery, vol. i. See Beers's English Romanticism.

Moore. Poetical Works, in Canterbury Poets, Chandos Classics, etc.; Selected poems, in Golden Treasury; Gunning's Thomas Moore, Poet and Patriot; Symington's Life and Works of Moore. Essay, by Saintsbury.

Campbell. Poems, Aldine edition; Selections, in Golden Treasury. Life, by Hadden.

Hazlitt. Texts: Works, edited by Henley, 12 vols. (London, 1902); Selected Essays, in Temple Classics, Camelot Series, etc. Life: by Birrell (English Men of Letters); Memoirs, by W. C. Hazlitt. Essays, by Saintsbury; by L. Stephen.

Leigh Hunt. Texts: Selected essays, in Camelot Series, also in Cavendish Library (Warne); Stories from the Italian Poets (Putnam). Life: by Monkhouse (Great Writers). Essays, by Macaulay; by Saintsbury; by Hazlitt. See also Mrs. Field's A Shelf of Old Books.

Suggestive Questions. (NOTE. In a period like the Age of Romanticism, the poems and essays chosen for special study vary so widely that only a few general questions on the selections for reading are attempted.)

1. Why is this period of Romanticism (1789-1837) called the Age of Revolution? Give some reasons for the influence of the French Revolution on English literature, and illustrate from poems or essays which you have read. Explain the difference between Classicism and Romanticism. Which of these two types of literature do you prefer?

2. What are the general characteristics of the literature of this period? What two opposing tendencies are illustrated in the novels of Scott and Jane Austen? in the poetry of Byron and Wordsworth?

3. Wordsworth. Tell briefly the story of Wordsworth's life, and name some of his best poems. Why do the Lyrical Ballads (1798) mark an important literary epoch? Read carefully, and make an analysis of the "Intimations of Immortality"; of "Tintern Abbey." Can you explain what political conditions are referred to in Wordsworth's "Sonnet on Milton"? in his "French Revolution"? Does he attempt to paint a picture in his sonnet on Westminster Bridge, or has he some other object in view? What is the central teaching of the "Ode to Duty"? Compare Wordsworth's two Skylark poems with Shelley's. Make a brief comparison between Wordsworth's sonnets and those of Shakespeare and of Milton, having in mind the thought, the melody, the view of nature, and the imagery of the three poets. Quote from Wordsworth's poems to show his belief that nature is conscious; to show the influence of nature on man; to show his interest in children; his sensitiveness to sounds; to illustrate the chastening influence of sorrow. Make a brief comparison between the characters of Wordsworth's "Michael" and of Burns's "The Cotter's Saturday Night." Compare Wordsworth's point of view and method, in the three poems "To a Daisy," with Burns's view, as expressed in his famous lines on the same subject.

4. Coleridge. What are the general characteristics of Coleridge's life? What explains the profound sympathy for humanity that is reflected in his poems? For what, beside his poems, is he remarkable? Can you quote any passages from his poetry which show, the influence of Wordsworth? What are the characters in "The Ancient Mariner"? In what respect is this poem romantic? Give your own reasons for its popularity. Does the thought or the style of this poem impress you? If you have read any of the Lectures on Shakespeare, explain why Coleridge's work is called romantic criticism.

5. Scott. Tell the story of Scott's life, and name his chief poems and novels. Do you recall any passage from his poetry which suggests his own heroism? Why was he called "the wizard of the North"? What is the general character of his poetry? Compare Marmion with one of the old ballads, having in mind the characters, the dramatic interest of the story, and the style of writing. In what sense is he the creator of the historical novel? Upon what does he depend to hold the reader's attention? Compare him, in this respect, with Jane Austen. Which of his characters impress you as being the most lifelike? Name any novels of the present day which copy Scott or show his influence. Read Ivanhoe and the Lady of the Lake; make a brief analysis of each work, having in mind the style, the plot, the dramatic interest, the use of adventure, and the truth to nature of the different characters.

6. Byron. Why is Byron called the revolutionary poet? (Illustrate, if possible, from his poetry.) What is the general character of his work? In what kind of poetry does he excel? (Quote from Childe Harold to illustrate your opinion.) Describe the typical Byronic hero. Can you explain his great popularity at first, and his subsequent loss of influence? Why is he still popular on the Continent? Do you find more of thought or of emotion in his poetry? Compare him, in this respect, with Shelley; with Wordsworth. Which is the more brilliant writer, Byron or Wordsworth? Which has the more humor? Which has the healthier mind? Which has the higher ideal of poetry? Which is the more inspiring and helpful? Is it fair to say that Byron's quality is power, not charm?

7. Shelley. What are the chief characteristics of Shelley's poetry? Is it most remarkable for its thought, form, or imagery? What poems show the influence of the French Revolution? What subjects are considered in "Lines written among the Euganean Hills"? What does Shelley try to teach in "The Sensitive Plant"? Compare Shelley's view of nature, as reflected in "The Cloud" or "The West Wind," with Wordsworth's view, as reflected in "The Prelude," "Tintern Abbey," "Daffodils," etc. To what class of poems does "Adonais" belong? What is the subject of the poem? Name others of the same class. How does Shelley describe himself in this poem? Compare Shelley's "Adonais" and Milton's "Lycidas" with regard to the view of life after death as expressed in the poems. What kinds of scenes does Shelley like best to describe? Compare his characters with those of Wordsworth; of Byron. Do you recall any poems in which he writes of ordinary people or of ordinary experiences?

8. Keats. What is the essence of Keats's poetical creed, as expressed in the "Ode on a Grecian Urn"? What are the remarkable elements in his life and work? What striking difference do you find between his early poems and those of Shelley and Byron? What are the chief subjects of his verse? What poems show the influence of the classics? of Elizabethan literature? Can you explain why his work has been called literary poetry? Keats and Shelley are generally classed together. What similarities do you find in their poems? Give some reasons why Keats introduces the old Bedesman in "The Eve of Saint Agnes." Name some of the literary friends mentioned in Keats's poetry.

Compare Keats's characters with those of Wordsworth; of Byron. Does Keats ever remind you of Spenser? In what respects? Is your personal preference for Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, or Keats? Why?

9. Lamb. Tell briefly the story of Lamb's life and name his principal works. Why is he called the most human of essayists? His friends called him "the last of the Elizabethans." Why? What is the general character of the Essays of Elia? How is the personality of Lamb shown in all these essays? Cite any passages showing Lamb's skill in portraying people. Make a brief comparison between Lamb and Addison, having in mind the subjects treated, the style, the humor, and the interest of both essayists. Which do you prefer, and why?

10. De Quincey. What are the general characteristics of De Quincey's essays? Explain why he is called the psychologist of style. What accounts for a certain unreal element in all his work. Read a passage from The English Mail-Coach, or from Joan of Arc, or from Levana, Our Lady of Sorrows, and comment freely upon it, with regard to style, ideas, interest, and the impression of reality or unreality which it leaves.

11. Landor. In what respect does Landor show a reaction from Romanticism? What qualities make Landor's poems stand out so clearly in the memory? Why, for instance, do you think Lamb was so haunted by "Rose Aylmer"? Quote from Landor's poems to illustrate his tenderness, his sensitiveness to beauty, his power of awakening emotion, his delicacy of characterization. Do you find the same qualities in his prose? Can you explain why much of his prose seems like a translation from the Greek? Compare a passage from the Imaginary Conversations with a passage from Gibbon or Johnson, to show the difference between the classic and the pseudo-classic style. Compare one of Landor's characters, in Imaginary Conversations, with the same character in history.

12. Jane Austen. How does Jane Austen show a reaction from Romanticism? What important work did she do for the novel? To what kind of fiction was her work opposed? In what does the charm of her novels consist? Make a brief comparison between Jane Austen and Scott (as illustrated in Pride and Prejudice and Ivanhoe), having in mind the subject, the characters, the manner of treatment, and the interest of both narratives. Do Jane Austen's characters have to be explained by the author, or do they explain themselves? Which method calls for the greater literary skill? What does Jane Austen say about Mrs. Radcliffe, in Northanger Abbey? Does she make any other observations on eighteenth-century novelists?

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