The Romantic period



Romantic period began in the second half of eighteen century in Western Europe, romantic epoch brought depth (big) changes in the society, in literature arts and in the World vision (Letersia boterore, Prishtine 2007).

This movement started because of poor conditions of the workers, conflicts between classes, discrimination from the people in power.

Romanticism also became the major movement in art, music, literature etc.

Influence of Romanticism in English literature was very big; the romantic writers replaced the static universal types classical of the 18th century literature with more complex characters.

One of the most important influenced poet of the British literature was William Wordsworth; in his works he affirmed the importance of feelings and imagination to poetic creation (The Norton Anthology of English Literature 5th ed. Volume 2.).


Main representatives of Romanticism are:

William Wordsworth, who was known for his poems as poet of the nature, he was one of the greatest poet of the ages.

William Blake was a poet, painter, visional. He is known for his works as are: ``Songs of innocence``, ``Songs of Experience`` etc.

The poems of Blake express childlike innocence.

Other Romantic representatives are:

Lord Byron, Samuel Coleridge, John Keats, Mathew Arnold, Shelly etc.


Romantic period gave an importance to nature, and a lot of poetry expresses the beauty of nature and beauty of country life, because urban life has changed man`s life.

Romantics gave a special importance of individual imagination and knowledge that is through intuition.

Romanticism poetry was one of the most important works of the period.

English writers of this literature period in their works include religious, nature.

Novels were also very popular in 19th century in Britain which expresses emotions like fear and love (Written by Nick Foster Last Modified 25. November 2008)

Comparison with other periods

I will make difference between two very important periods:

Romanticism and Neoclassicism

Romanticism was very different from neoclassicism; neoclassicism wants to show the full truth of life while the other wanted to describe reality through images.

For neoclassicism, nature was defined as human nature while romanticism defined nature as natural environment. Society was more important than individuality; in romanticism individuality was more important than society, we can consider that these two periods were enemies between each other (Long n.d)

Victorian Period

Historical Outline

Victorian Period was the period of the reign of Queen Victoria. (enotes n.d)That period was with that name, as well, as a continuation of Romanticism we can say it is the beginning of Modern Period (according to Besim kokollari-personal contact 2009). Novel was the main literary forms of literature in this period, without leaving aside the poetry filled with of diverse characters that describe contemporary life and to entertain the middle class.(Colombia University Press n.d)

It was a very exciting and extraordinary period that was influenced by the political career of the queen Victoria, industrial revolution, scientific spirit, technological changes, political and socio-economic that was reflected in the creativity of the poets, novelists, essayists, and historians of this period. ( by Robert Stevenson n.d.)

Main pillars of poetry in the Victorian period were Tennyson and Browning, and as the main representatives that contributed to the development of the English novel were Dickens and Eliot.

We can mention the most quality works of this period that was work of Tennyson "In Memoriam" (1850), which was dedicated to his lost friend who appears as a hope after a huge disappointment (by Esthern Lombardy n.d.), then with his work Dickens' Oliver Twist ", Thackeray is known for" Vanity Fair "that satirize evil, hypocrisy and greediness of other works that made major changes that also affect our lives.

Major political changes corresponded also in changes in literature. Literature was just as particular as politics, where many writers were inspired by a large audience. English government, literature and society became more democratic, which was a feature that qualifies modern history (Long n.d.) Some important events that had great impact not only in politics and life of people of that time, but also in literature are:

  • Industrial Revolution that did England among the rich nations in the world
  • Social-political progress was very essential. Reforms of Bill of year 1932, Parliament was forced by popular pressure gave the right to vote to the middle class.
  • The discovery of science transformed the concepts of nature, life and world. The work of Darwin "Origin of Species" the most books became famous in that world period, which reflects the great human desire to know the real life. (according to Robert Stevenson n.d.)

Victorian Period is expressed with the word "imperialism", the literature of the period reflects a wide horizons of historical writers of the empire. An important historian writer of that period was Parkman who was the first and the best of soul imperialism. In presents work "A half century of conflict" and" Montcalm and Wolfe "he presents a conflict of people against each other, by both types of citizens: military and feudal system of France against the democratic institutions of the Anglo-Saxons (Long n.d.)

Victorian period was a time of change, but it was also a time of a wonderful literature. (By Esther Lombardy n.d)

Poets of the Victorian period

Victorian literature was well known for its efforts to combine imagination and idealistic emotions (enotes n.d.) Poets of this period has a very modern attitude, in which case we can say that is the ideal form to describe contemporary modern life.

They used a new form of writing often with mysterious words that were unknown for the public. Victorian period is time for the introduction of dramatic monologue make a combination between two different forms-dramas and lyric.

Poets wrote verses rare, with various literary forms such as allegory, satyr, etc.., (by George P.Landow n.d.) with different subjects that were reflected in their poems like: romance, legend, battle songs, social problems, science, nature, humanity etc.

The main representatives of the Victorian period are: Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Matthew Arnold, William Morris, Algernon Charles Swinburne, etc.

Tennyson and Browning are among the greatest poets of Victorian period in eternal devotion to poetry, but they are very different in other aspects.

Areas that Tennyson reached with his poetry were: youth, heroes, ideals, nation etc.., and for difference Browning reached widely humanity, he was psychologist and philosopher, poet of mature years, influenced romantic by Byron and Keats, etc, by elaborating literary figures and forms that make different from the others. (Long n.d.)

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Tennyson's works are:
  • "Poems by Two Brother" (1827),
  • "Poems chiefly Lyrical '(1830)
  • "Lady of Shallot" (1833,
  • "The Princess" (1850),
  • "In Memoriam" (1851),
  • "Maud and Other Poems" (1855),
  • "Idylls of the King" (1859),
  • "The coming of Arthur" etc. (by Roger Blackwell n.d.)

Works of Tennyson distinguished for capacity of verses in which observes the forehead influences of his life, the beauty of the landscapes of nature, pride and love for his history and his nation, etc.

Poetries of Tennyson express his age of language and nation, and suffering and joy are expressed without any weakness. Work of Tennyson has a great variety: legends, science, romance, faith, classical and medieval heroes etc.

In his volumes of poetry we pick out the most preferable like: "Palace of Art", "Lady Shallot" etc. that was criticized mercilessly by critics, to follow up with one long silence from the poet, in the case of his closer friend, Arthur Hallam that was dead. This thing broke up his silence with one volume of poetry called: "Morte d'Arthur", "Lockely Hall", "Ser Galahad" etc.., which have not yet lost their power to readers.

The glory work of Tennyson was multiple, he was the voice of the Victorian period that reflected in culture, moral, passion for social justice, modernism, purpose, hope, effort, etc.

He remains the dominant figure of the Victorian period (Long n.d.)


Victorian Period is the time of English flourished novel, which describe the contemporary life and entertaining of middle class. Novels were crowded with drama, humor and an endless variety of vivid characters and a lot of complications portraying urban life of all classes.

Novels characterized with description of human virtues like: evil, hypocrisy, greed, beauty, intelligence, also social, church, and political life in England, ethical conflicts and social problems.

Novels were full of passion built with rare artistic skills. The novel was considered not only entertainment but also analyzing tool that offers choices for social and political problems.(Colombia University Press 2007)

Main representatives are: Charles Dickens, William Makepeace, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Read, Anthony Trollope, Richard Blackmore, Charles Kingsley, Robert Louis Stevenson, etc.(Long n.d.)

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

His works are:
  • "Sketches by Boz" (1836)
  • "Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick blub" (1837)
  • "Oliver Twist" (1837-38)
  • "Nicholas Nickleby" (1838-39)
  • "The Old Curiosity Shop" (1841)
  • "Bleak House" (1852-53)
  • "Household Words" (1850-59), etc.(by Roger Blackwell n.d.)

Charles Dickens was the main model and popular author of that time (Wikipedia n.d.)

The main feature of his work was his fancy humor, in this case critics distinguished that in his work he presented no characters but caricatures.

His novels were filled out with humor, characters of his comedy has exaggerated attitudes that did Dickens to have unique method of writing (Long n.d.) His novel "Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club" made popular overnight. (Robert Stevenson n.d)

Works "Oliver Twist" represents a novel about London underworld (by Roger Blackwell n.d.), by using motive of horror.

He succeeded as no other one had ever done in making literature a power in the land.

He has worked to produce the entertaining writing required, but also has submitted comments on the social challenges, the situation of poor and depressed time.

His characters were so vital and human that we can say or think of them as imaginary creatures, and we can say that he was a great writer (Long n.d.)

Essayists and Historians of the Victorian period

Among numerous masters of the Victorian period were Thomas Macaulay, Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin, known as social and historian critics and essayists who reflects not only political issues but also in the ideals that inspire every great movement in history on English literature ( Long n.d.). They were scientist who writes seriously for religion, philosophy, education, history, economy, etc. (Colombia University press 2007) The most important were the distinguished historians: Freeman, Green, Symonds, who changed the concept of military history and political events. The most known critics were: Pater, Bagehot, Hutton, Leslie Stephan, then scientists Darwin, Wallace Lyell, Mivart, etc. that affected not only in life and society of that time but also in English literature (Long n.d.).

They used essay to present new scenes in human life, same thing that others do for novel and poetry. The main characteristic to Carlyle was humor that talked for shame of society. Its main work is "Hero and Hero worship" that deals with leaders in the field of religion, poetry and politics.

Regarding to Ruskin, he expressed his sensitivity and sincerity; his works are presented in three classes: art of criticism, industry and life, portraying the infinite values of human life (Long n.d.)

Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859)

His works are:

  • "Lays of Ancien Rome",
  • "Horatius at the bridge" that was his main works,
  • "Critical Essays and Historical"
  • "History of England",
  • "The Battle of Jury"
  • "The Amanda" etc.. ( by Roger Blackwell n.d.)

His life was described sometimes interesting than his works, he had deep knowledge which presented more beautiful in his essays, so attracted the attention of all England.

He wrote historical ballads with epic style with high riches pride and love for his country.

Charm of his writing was noticed in his first essays that constituted wonderful historical, classical and heroic figures. His unique style is combination of style of novelist and public speaker, forming real characters with very interesting topics.

The most important literary essays of Macaulay that are written and completed with particular attention are: "Bugon", "Johnson" and "Goldsmith".

For many years Macaulay was the most popular historian with a unique style, his literature was not only history, but it affects all human fields: political, social and intellectual, that did Macaulay famous among the Victorian period (Long n.d.)

Comparison between Elizabethan Age and Victorian Age

The Elizabethan literature express its imaginative and spiritual enthusiasm better then Victorian, but the Victorian literature was the period of change in all the conditions of the life (Robert Stevenson n.d)

The masses of English people remained in dense ignorance, and they could neither read nor write. So the writers of the Elizabethan Age didn`t have audience. But the Victorian was as particular as politics; many writers were inspired by a large audience (Robert Stevenson n.d)

The Elizabethan writers were influenced by the literature of Italy, and to a less degree by those of France and Spain.

In their work drama was flourishing greater, unlike from the Victorian period where the bloom had novels

The romantic enthusiasm of Elizabethan poetry and prose was influenced by old classic poems of Greece and Rome, interest in nature, physical science, world of wealth, beauty, demons, monsters etc.

Victorian period was considered as an age of doubt and pessimism, their works influenced by science, idea of evolution, and hope after despair etc (according to Robert Stevenson n.d)


The literature of the Victorian period is part of the literature of our time (R. Stevenson nd), which was also influenced by the writings of previous periods, so is very hard to judge the right literature of this period (Long n.d). Dominant representatives of the Victorian poetry were: Tennyson and Browning, who brought poetry with various themes.

Whickens and Thackeray contributed to the development of the novel with the most beautiful literary forms (by Estaing Lonbarti n.d), essays and stories and more beautiful by Macaulay, Carlyle and Ruskin.

In their writings were presented factors that symbolize this period: democracy, science and imperialism that still have impact on the literature of the time today. Numerous events and changes in various fields of life (political, social, economic, scientific, etc) influenced the variety of topics touching on all areas of life, with allegory and humor, as well as other literary forms of writing, depending on writer's writing presented shortcomings and virtues of society (Long n.d), giving different analysis of events and problems of the time which British people was faced (Colombia University Press, 2007).

Romanticism was a philosophical revolt against rationalism .Basic aims of this period were: nature, belief in goodness, humanity etc. (The Colombia Encyclopedia sixth edition 2001)


  1. George P.Landow Brown University
  2. Esther Lombardy 'Victorian Period-Time of change'
  3. Robert Stevenson 'History of English literature'1918, from Robert Huntington Fletcher
  4. Wikipedia
  5. Colombia University Press -'The Colombia Electronic Encyclopedia'6th ed. 2007
  6. Norton and company 2003-2010
  7. Enotes
  8. Roger Blackwell 'Literature of the Victorian Period'
  9. William J. Long- 'Outlines of English and American Literature'
  10. The Colombia Encyclopedia sixth edition 2001 www.classes.berklee.edt/llanday/spring/tech/htm

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