Romantics Context

  • Created by: c.therine
  • Created on: 13-11-20 13:31

Lord Byron

  • Lord Byron was born on January 22nd, 1788 in London. His father was Captian John Byron, known as 'Mad Jack', and his moter was Catherine Gordon. He was born with a clubfoot.
  • Captain Byron squandered nearly all of Catherine's inheritance, so she took Lord Byron to Aberdeen where they lived in lodgings on meagre earnings When he was 10, Lord Byron inherited his great-uncle's estate and they moved back to England.
  • After going to Cambridge University, Lord Byron gained a seat in the House of Lords at age 21.
  • He married Anne Isabelle Milbanke in 1815. They had a daughter together but his wife left with her child because of Byron's debt and alcoholism. In April he left England and never returned.
  • Lord Byron and his friends, including Percy Shelley and Claire Clairemont spent the summer of 1816 together in Switzerland and Byron entered into intimate relations with Claire Clairemont. Their daughter was born in January 1817.
  • Lord Byron supported the Greeks in their bid to to become independent from the Ottoman Empire. He commanded an elite group of of Greek fighters although never having any military training.
  • He died at the age 36 in 1824 in Greece. He had been ill for several months and never got to fight in the war for Greece.
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William Blake

  • Blake was born in London in 1757 and died in 1827. As a child, he left school at age 10 and was educated at home, and enrolled in drawing classes.
  • The Bible had an early influence on Blake and this continued throughout his poetry.
  • He became a student at the Royal Academy in 1779, where he had to pay for his own materials.
  • Blake married a woman in 1782 who could not read or write and dedicated time to teaching her.
  • One of the most traumatic events of his life occured in 1787 when his beloved brother Robert died from tuberculosis at age 24. The following year, Blake had a vision of Robert and was presented with 'illuminated printing' which he incorporated into his art.
  • In August 1803, Blake found a soldier on the property and demanded that he leave. The soldier refused and an argument ensued; the soldier accused Blake of assault and sedition. Blake was eventually acquitted.
  • In the last years of his life, Blake suffered from recurring bouts of an unknown illness that he called 'that sickness to which there is no name.' He died on August 12, 1827.
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Percy Shelley

  • Born August 4th, 1792, in Sussex. He stood in line to inherit his grandfather's considerable estate and a seat in parliament.
  • He was expelled from Oxford University for publishing atheistic texts.
  • Aged 19, Shelley eloped to Scotland with 16 year old Harriet Westbroke. He moved to the Lake District to study and write, publishing the same ideas as freethinking Socialist philosopher William Godwin. He also eloped with Godwin's daughter Mary to Europe.
  • In November 1814 Harriet Shelley bore a son, and in February 1815 Mary Godwin gave birth to a child who died two weeks later. Mary bore another son, named William after her father. In Novemebr they went to Lake Geneva where they spent time with Lord Byron.
  • In December 1816 Harriet Shelley committed suicide. Her body was receover from a lake in  London park, and three weeks after Mary and Shelley were married. Shelley lost custody of his two children by Harriet because of his belief in free love.
  • In 1817, Shelley published a text that was withdrawn after only a few copies because of its references to incest with attacks on religion. He also wrote revolutionary political tracts during this time. He and Mary left England for the last time in 1818.
  • On July 8 1822, Shelley was drowned in a storm while sailing to Italy aged 29.
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Features of Romantic Poetry

  • Depature from traditional conventions of the genre of type of writing 
  • Valued subjectivity and personal ideas over scientific rationality 
  • Aspired to spiritual significance with quasi-religious symbolic language 
  • Nature acquired greater value akin to religious experience 
  • Conventional morality questioned for more liberating ethics 
  • Existing social order found wanting 
  • In favour of radical revolutionary change 
  • Emotions valued highly 
  • Admired state of innocence
  • Fascination for altered states of consciousness 
  • Hero figures and heroic deeds had huge significance 
  • Fascination for myths and legends (Ancient Greece, hellenistic ideal etc)
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