Thursday, December 6, 2007
At the start of the Romantic period, novels were very popular especially among women who comprised the larger population of both readers and novel writers. Critics tended to view the genre as an inferior form of writing requiring fewer skills than genres with literary prestige like drama and poetry. Many also viewed its popularity among women as an indicator of its inferior quality.
This variety of criticism reinforces Wollstonecraft's concern with man's treatment of women as "subordinate beings," by undermining their faculty for reason (Norton, 171).
Around 1814 owing to positive reviews for a series of historical novels and the publication of Jane Austen’s Emma deemed “a new style of novel,” the genre gains recognition as an esteemed literary form.
In Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen satirizes the inferior style of the gothic genre—primitive forerunners of the modern novel—as she establishes new standards for the developing and still ridiculed novel form. Gothic novels like Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho could be up to 900 pages long full of tedious descriptions, unnatural events, and based in unrealistic or far-away places. Northanger Abbey’s heroine fancies herself to be the protagonist of a gothic romance but is continually confronted by the normalness of reality such as in the scene with the lanundry bill.
Austen reinforces the need for the novel to reflect realistic events in her digression at the end of chapter 5. Describing the novel as she understands it she writes:
“work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties…effusions of wit…are conveyed in the best-chosen language.”
Not only does she emphasize the importance of the integration of human-nature or naturalness in characterization and plot development, she calls for the use of the “best-chosen language.” Austen demonstrates her own model of quality by providing necessary information in a matter-of-fact voice. Ironically referencing her method and satirizing the romance’s tendency for verbosity, the narrator says, “This brief account of the family is intended to supersede the necessity of a long and minute detail…of her past adventures and sufferings, which might otherwise be expected to occupy the three or four following chapters.”
Her rhetorical approach places her in the Neoclassical era but her insistence on using a conversational narration recalls Wordsworth's Preface in which he asserts, "describe...in a selection of language really used by men."
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Please do the following:
1) Offer a brief definition of the term in context of course.
2) Identify at least one author and work associated with this term.
- Include other associated authors as needed.
Include authors who oppose, or are antagonistic to, the term or what it means.
3) Discuss the significance of this term to your cited works and authors.
4) Discuss the significance of this term to the overall issues taken up in English 10B.
5) Use grammatically and mechanically correct standard written English.
Understand that this is not a simple memorize/regurgitate terms list. Effective responses will engage the "big picture" issues discussed over the quarter, and will illuminate terms in ways that will help you work through possible essay prompts.
Reminder: this is your study guide. The more you contribute, the more you all get out of it.
Samuel Johnson constructed “Rasselas” as an apologue about happiness. In the story, the young prince begins in the valley of happiness, a place that seems like paradise to most readers. However, this oasis does not content Rasselas and he ventures out in search of happiness. The modes of life he experiences in his quest outline a moral path for the reader. Each failed occupation or existence teaches the audience a lesson about the nature of happiness. In the end, the characters do not reach their goal. In this way, the story of Rasselas acts as an apologue about happiness.
This work exemplifies the neoclassical model of literature. As an apologue, it uses rhetoric to prove a central idea to the audience. Most other neoclassical works had this same goal in mind. From Dryden to Swift, writers in this time period used rhetoric to convince others of their ideas. However, this concept lost popularity with the Romantic writers. This new generation of poets did not create apologues because they did not have the same goals as the neoclassical generation. In the context of this literary history, an apologue acts as an indicator of a neoclassical work.
An apostrophe is a rhetorical device that directly addresses an absent person or an abstract entity. When used to address inanimate objects, it oftentimes personifies the object, personification being an idea that Wordsworth mentions as a poetic technique in his Preface to the Lyrical Ballads. The apostrophe is often used by romantic poets, especially in odes.
Keats uses this device in the opening lines of “Ode on a Grecian Urn”: “Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness,/Thou foster-child of silence and slow time.” Keats addresses the Grecian urn directly by saying “thou,” despite the fact that it cannot respond. In doing so, Keats personifies an inanimate object.
Another poet that uses apostrophes is Shelley in “Ode to the West Wind” (Line 1) and “Mont Blanc” (Line 12).
In "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell", William Blake begins with an argument. However, conventional poems like "Essay on Man" present arguments in prose and the rest of the work is in poetry- Blake,on the other hand, begins with an argument written in poetry and the rest of the poem is in prose.
This is significant because it demonstrates Blake's eccentricity as a writer and also his use of every literary and visual device possible to express his ideas through his works. In presenting the argument and poem in opposite forms from the conventional method, Blake presents opposition, which is what "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" is about. He even uses different colors on each of his covers, which go against conventional norms.
William Blake is significant because although he was a neoclassical writer, he also represents the shift from conventional norms in writing to bending the rules. In doing so, he helps bridge the gap between Neoclassicism and Romanticism. In "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell", he is attacking anyone who buys into his conventional distinctions between good and evil. In writing in such a eccentric manner, Blake is setting an example of himself that he is thinking outside of the conventional way of thinking.
One example of a ballad that we've covered in the course is Expostulation and Reply, by William Wordsworth.
His use of the ballad is important because the ballad, before Wordsworth, was generally associated with only rustic or common writers. Wordsworth paved the way for the ballad to become a way to express serious poetry while receiving proper respect as a literary work.
In relation to the course, William Wordsworth's Expostulation and Reply, along with his other ballads, is significant because it's an example of the shift from the Neoclassical format of "upperclass" writing to the Romantic emphasis on writing in the language of "common man." In the neoclassical era, the subject of poems covered elevated life, and stressed Reason. After the Romantic Revolution, writers like Wordsworth began covering common life and imagination. The ballad, in reverting poetry back to simpler diction and syntax, represents the shift between these two eras, from complex ideas back to simplicity.
According to the OED online a ballad is a simple spirited poem in short stanza in which some popular story is grammatically narrated. Another definition of a ballad from the OED is one celebrating or scurrilously attacking persons or institutions.
William Wordsworth wrote many ballads. His ballads are introduced after the preface to the Lyrical Ballads. The ballads we read from him are “Expostulation and Reply”, The Tables Turned”, “The world is too much with us”, and “Tintern Abby”.
In Wordsworth’s ballad “The Tables Turned” Wordsworth attacks and celebrates humanity. He celebrates his theory that humans should learn from nature, “Let nature be your teacher”(16). In addition, Wordsworth proposes humans should quit reading books, instead he suggests that humans should “Come hear the woodland linnet…There is more of wisdom in it”(10) Thus, nature will educate one more than a book can. The “woodland linnet” is an example of one of nature’s teacher’s that will offer more “wisdom” than “Books!”(9) In addition to Wordsworth rejoicing over his transcendentalist theory, he is also “attacking” academic institutions within the ballad as he mentions, “Books! ‘tis a dull and endless strife”, for Wordsworth “Books!” are tedious and a boring struggle.
Ballad’s can associate with any satirical literary works we have discussed in class. A satire can function as an attack on a person or an institution. Seemingly, ballads need victims just as a satire does. Don Juan by Byron is an example of romantic poetic satire and Dryden’s “Mac Flecknoe” is an example of a neoclassical poetic satire. Byron and Dryden’s satirical literary works are relevant to the ballad form that Wordsworth illustrates.
According to the Norton Anthology, the conversation poem is a “sustained blank verse lyric of description and meditation, in the mood of conversation addressed to a silent auditor” (426). The conversation poem allows the poets to mold their respective conversational partners into representatives of particular groups in order to reveal their own theories and ideologies.
William Wordsworth’s Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey is a conversation poem. Although he addresses his sister as “my dear, dear Friend” and “my dear, dear Sister”, the sister’s response is not included in the poem (116, 121). Only the speaker’s part of the conversation is in the poem; the reader must guess the other half. The conversation poem enables Wordsworth to establish his sister as a representative of people who have not matured in experiencing nature and only recognize the beauty rather than perceiving God in nature.
Samuel Coleridge’s Frost at Midnight is also a conversation poem. Coleridge addresses his infant son, his “dear Babe” in line 44. Following the nature of the conversation poem, the response of the son is not written. Without his son’s response, Coleridge can uninterruptedly explain his hopes for the future of his infant.
Another example of a conversation poem is Coleridge’s Eolian Harp, in which he addresses his lover Sarah. More so than in the other poems, the other half of the conversation almost emerges. Though Coleridge does not write Sarah’s response, his own reaction indicates that she does not agree with his theory that God is in nature. The use of conversation in this poem establishes Sarah as a representative of Christianity and Coleridge as a neo-pantheist. Through this, Coleridge brings into question religious perspective.
For Romantic poets, particularly first-generation Romantics, the harp functioned as a most, if not the most, important metaphor or puzzle. They questioned what produced the music: the harp? The wind? No: the interchange of wind and harp produces the music.
Coleridge uses the harp as the controlling metaphor for the poem of the same name: "The Eolian Harp". He asks where thoughts originate, focusing on their uncontrollable nature. Music is not the real subject, but the apparent subject. The real subject is the harp, or all organic nature -- and ultimately, the human mind. He draws the following analogies:
Harp : Wind => Music
Mind : Nature => Thoughts
where Mind is the subject(ive), while Nature is the object(ive).
Note: Comments/corrections welcome, please!
Deborah Kim, 1B
William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge, and Robert Southey are the most famous First Generation Romantic poets. The first generation romantics are characterized by their shift in style and subject manner from the Neo Classicalist. The use of satire is rare and the Romantics tend to focus on particular aspects of objects, people, and events instead of the essence of objects, people and events.
One of the most important works pertaining to the change of style during this time was William Wordsworth’s Preface to Lyrical Ballads, which demonstrates Wordsworth’s particular motivations for how he writes the Lyrical Ballads. Notably the subjects of these poems, are “incidents and situations from common life” verses the normal neoclassical subject of incidents and situations from elevated life, like Alexander Pope’s “Rape of the Lock”, which is about the aristocracy and not the common people (Norton 266). Wordsworth also changes the style of his poetry he states, “The reader will find that personifications of abstract ideas rarely occur in these volumes; and, I hope, are utterly rejected as ordinary device to elevate the style, and rise it above prose”, and “there will also be found in these volumes little of what is usually called poetic diction; I have take as much pains to avoid it as others ordinarily talk to produce it; this I have done for the reason already alleged, to bring my language near to the language of men, and further, because the pleasure which I have proposed to myself to impart is of a kind very different from what is supposed by many person to be the proper object of poetry” (Norton 267). Wordsworth and other first generation poets take a notable step away from their Neo Classical predecessors by embracing the common people and the common language.
First Generation romantics also believe in the possible ability of dreams to clarify reality, as seen in Coleridge’s “Kubla Kahn.” Also “Kubla Kahn,” presents a different kind of characterization of the poet. The narrator states, “I would build that dome in air,” which shows the narrator’s desire to use his words combined with his imagination to create a poem, which is unlike the characterization of the poet in Rassles (Norton 448). In Biographia Literaria, Coleridge distinguishes imagination from fancy and even separates imagination further by distinguishing between primary and secondary imagination.
The First Generation Romantics, (mostly Wordsworth and Coleridge) glorify the pantheistic god of nature. Wordsworth demonstrates the greatness of Nature as a teacher in most of his poems, notably “Tintern Abbey.” Coleridge also does this in his poems, notably “The Eolian Harp”.William Blake is also an interesting First Generation Romantic poet. He follows the Romantic tendency to turn against tradition as seen in his “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”, where Blake presents the opposite of many parables to demonstrate how “opposition is true friendship” and moderation is the key (Norton 119). However, since “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” is a satire Blake also demonstrates some Neo Classical traits.
Definition= [Batten] Character that invites comparison and makes main character more intelligible; [M-W.com] someone or something that serves as a contrast to another
Isabella serves as a foil to Catherine in Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey." Her insensitivity and ability to manipulate others highlight Catherine's naivety and innocence. In the same story, James Morland (who is dull and of moderate wealth) serves as a foil to Frederick Tilney (who is charming and of a higher social status, a rake).
The presence of a character foil allows the reader to think more in depth about the main characters intentions and personality, as well as about the overarching themes of the story, rather than to gloss them over. The foil draws attention to its opposite.
Many romantic authors beckon this sense of equilibrium and truth in their perceptions of beauty. Keats states explicitly in “Ode to a Grecian Urn,” that “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
This term is relevant to the overall course of English 10B because it concerns the perception and recognition of aesthetics, a topic extensively explored by nearly all of the authors in the course. It serves as an alternative explanation, or even extended explanation, of to the notion that beauty is the product of a wholly divine being, an idea endorsed by authors such as Pope and even Wordsworth and Coleridge.
Golden Mean: Everything in moderation; the golden mean refers to the desirable middle between two extremes (usually one of excess and one of deficiency).
In "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell," William Blake mentions as one of his "Proverbs of Hell" that:
"The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom" (Plate 7, line 3). These proverbs are Hell's version of the proverbs found in the Bible and this one refers to the "Golden Mean" or the mean between two extremes: between excess and shortage.
In "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell," Blake is trying to give the reader an alternate way of looking at the world as opposed to the one we received while growing up: the "Christian" way of looking at the world. There is tension between the proverbs of hell and the proverbs of heaven, but Blake is showing the reader that the "Marriage" of these two extremes is an alternate way of viewing the world: the Golden Mean.
Gothic Architecture: a type of architecture in
Gothic Literature: a type of literature written during the 1700s that had elements of both horror and comedy worked in it to create a romantic story and setting.
Both Gothic architecture and Gothic literature are associated with Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey. She does not write in the Gothic style however and in her novel mocks the idea of Gothic literature and shows how it creates an unreal view of life. She uses the architecture as a device in her book to show the flaw of Gothic literature and her main character Catherine who believes the books she reads and lets them convince her of a romantic world that does not exist.
These relate to 10B as a whole because they deal with the idea of realism verse romanticism. Jane Austen uses realism to reflect human nature and the way that people really are. Her novel demonstrates this while the Gothic elements she incorporates show the lack of this realism in this style.
An Ode is a long lyrics poem that is serious in subject and treatment, elevated in style and elaborate in its stanzaic structure. There are many subdivisions of Odes such as regular ode, irregular ode, Pindaric ode and Horation ode.
Percy Shelly's "Ode to the West Wind"
This is a great example of how Romantics used the personal ode of description and passionate meditation, stimulated by an aspect of the general which turns on the attempt to solve either a personal emotional problem (particular) or a general social issue (sometimes commenting on the general through the Poet's particular).
In the course, this displays a common difference between Neoclassical poets and Romantics. Romantics used nature, the landscape, together with its flora and fauna as a subject of poetry. Neoclassical poems were about other people, but Romantics invited the reader to identify the protagonist with the poet themselves, either directly (Wordsworth's Prelude) or in another recognizable form.
In “Tintern Abbey” Wordsworth’s pantheistic views come forth in lines 93-99:
And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man.
In this passage Wordsworth discusses the third phase of man’s response to Nature (as Prof. Batten outlined in lecture) where man sees God in Nature, and ultimately everywhere. God, or the “presence,” is described as dwelling in the sun, the ocean, the sky, the air, and in man. The repitition of “and” emphasizes the multiplicity of the divine dwelling-place.
Second-Generation Romantics display the pantheism theme in their poems as well. In Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind” and “Mount Blanc,” he uses the wind and the mountain and arve, respectively, to explore pantheistic ideas. Shelley describes “the everlasting universe of things” in the first line of “Mount Blanc. This phrase sums up Nature, God, and man’s thoughts into one “everlasting universe.” Shelley uses the river to represent the “flowing” nature of divinity in this poem, and uses the wind for the same purpose in “Ode to the West Wind.” The wind, a manifestation of the divine, affects all things from the leaves to the sea, also affects Shelley. In line 52, Shelley actually refers to praying to the wind, which again reaffirms the pantheistic idea that God is everywhere, and everything deserves, in essence, a “prayer.”
Remember, it’s easy to find examples of pantheism in Romantic poetry. Since the Romantics stress the “one with Nature” theme so frequently, this theme is often extended to include the divine with Nature, and thus man with the divine.
[alyssa linn, sec 1b]
Parable – a usually short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle.
“Rassalas” by Samual Johnson
It is a parable in the case that it is a short story with a simple theme: happiness. In the story, the characters of Rassalas, Nekayah, and Pekulah each leave the aptly named Happy Valley and embark on their own journey to find lasting happiness. They experiment with all sorts of lifestyle ranging from the merchant life, to the pastoral, to the hermit. And about 60 pages later, they discover through trial and error that happiness is not meant to long lasting (if it was, it wouldn’t be happiness). It is the process in trying to attain goals that one can find joy.
This story is an indicator of Neoclassical principles because it is not concerned with the individual characters. Rather, the development and description of the characters are forfeited to make way for the social commentary, a common occurrence in Neoclassical works. In this piece, the commentary deals with all those obsessed with material goods and believing that certain objects will be the key to their happiness, not realizing that happiness is brief.
Other works: "Oroonoko” by Aphra Behn.
This particular short story also sacrifices character development (making Oroonoko into an almost perfect God-like figure) to make way for social commentary. In this case, the theme is that of honor and the importance of upholding personal honor. This serves as a commentary against Christian and Britons who saw themselves as superior yet resorted to lying and trickery to achieve their means.
-Diep Tran, Section 1B
-Diep Tran, Section 1B
Parody is the imitation of a victim's style/mannerism in order to make fun of this style/manneris.
Ex: Byron writes Don Juan in stilted, redundant poetry in order to make fun of Robert Southey, a bad poet. By veining his criticism of bad poetry in an imitation thereof, Byron adds a layer of irony to his art.
Wordsworth rejects personification as a mechanical device, stating in his “Preface to Lyrical Ballads” that “such personifications do not make any natural or regular part” of the “language of men.” The romantic poets attempted to use language that was commonly used in England as opposed to writing in the elevated style of neoclassical poets.
John Keat's applies this to his poem, "Ode on a Grecian Urn." The poem tells the story of an unchanging world through elaborate imagery. Keat's describes nature and young love as unchanging, in the same way that it has been etched onto the urn. The young lovers will always share the anticipation of their first kiss, winter will never come, and overall the world seems to be an idealistic place.
Mont Blanc; Percy Shelley
Ghastly, and scarred, and riven.--Is this the scene
Where the old Earthquake-daemon taught her young
Ruin? Where these their toys? or did a sea
Of fire, enveolope once this silent snow?
Shelley poses a series of rhetorical questions inteded to telegraph images of destruction and dark power to attribute to Mont Blanc. Though the mountain itself is not on fire or inhabited by demons, the rhetorical questions imply that the effect of the mountain in its natural form is as intense as if it was, in fact, home to the Earthquake child. Unlike the calming pastoral setting tamed by man's hand in Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey, Shelley describes nature that invokes fear and is at odds or is independent of man's appreciation for it.
The second generation romantics tend to portray nature as a subject that is less subjective to the viewer. The overwhelming power of Shelley's Mont Blanc will not be presented in variable lights according to the viewer whereas Blake writes in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell that "a fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees."
1) Romantic Question: a question raised but never directly answered
- Coleridge/“The Eolian Harp”
- Shelley/“Mont Blanc” – Verse Paragraph 3 lines 54 & 57; Verse Paragraph 5 line 145
- Keats/“Ode on a Grecian Urn” – second half of first stanza
- At the end of Coleridge’s poem, he seems to take back what he originally states at the start of his poem. But if he really changed his mind, this poem would not exist. Through raising the romantic question, however, Coleridge tells us what he thinks/perceives.
- Shelley uses romantic questions in his “Mont Blanc” to show the reader what he’s looking at; this is effective to the observer.
- In Keats, we learn more about the urn and are invited to engage in the observations of the poet through his romantic questions.
4) The strategies in using Romantic questions in poems are important because they help the readers understand the poet and his ideas/perceptions more thoroughly but in a rather subtle manner.
Byron's "Don "Juan is a particular satire of Robert Southey, the poet laureate to George III, and first generation romantic poet. When Byron uses "I" it is as the persona of Southey. This persona is incompetent with the narrative: he mispronounces foreign words (Don JU-an instead of Don w-on), he uses forced rhyme ("Most epic poets plunge in 'medias res'/[...]And then your hero tells, whene'er you please"). "Res" and "please" hardly rhyme. Byron's persona also uses the wrong verse form in what is his "epic poem." The verse form being used is Ottava rima. To Byron, Southey is a bad poet because 1) he is a political renegade, who abandons his personal views for his career to the king and 2) he is a 1st generation romantic poet. Byron extends his victimization to Wordsworth in stanza 90 where he says, "unless, like Wordsworth, they prove unintelligible."
Other examples of this 2nd generation romantic counter-culture is Shelley's "Monte Blanc," where he challenges prior romantic notions that nature is solely good, and focuses on the destructive potentials of nature. Furthermore, the second generation romantic poets tend to disagree with 1st generation poets use of themselves in their own poetry. The younger romantics want to leave the reflections to their audience, not impress their own upon them.
Though structural wit is more common among Neoclassical poets (Dryden, for example), it can be found in romantic poems such as Lord Byron's "Don Juan." Byron satirizes England's poet laureate Robert Southey not only with his mock heroic title character, but also with the intentionally poor style in which the poem is written.
1. the mind is checked by its inadequacy to comprehend as a toatlity the boundlessness or seeming infinity of natural magnitudes
2. the mind is checked by its helplessness before the seeming irresistibility of natural powers.
or as Burke believes: "a great and awful sensation in the mind"
"I seem as in a trance sublime and strange
To muse on my own separate phantasy,
My own, my human mind, which passively
Now renders and receives fast influencings,
Holding an unremitting interchange
With the clear universe of things around;"
- Percy Shelley's "Mont Blanc" lines 35-40
Percy Shelley's "Mont Blanc" reflects sublime in its description of a wild mountain untainted by the hands of man. This poem definately reflects the "boundlessness or seeming [infinite]" nature that exists around the perceiver and how this perceiver's mind may feel "helpless" or "awed" by the Ravine of Arve.
The Ravine of Arve is sublime because it reflects a powerfully "awful" scene of nature that may scare the perceiver. Rather than leaving the perceiver feeling breathless, it evokes choking emotions such as fear or intimidation. What makes the Ravine of Arve sublime is Shelley's belief that we can look and learn from nature and realize that nature may bring life, but it also brings destruction. We must accept this cycle as it is.
However, William Wordsworth also includes sublime in his work "Tintern Abbey."
"...Nor less, I trust,
to them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery..."
-- lines 35-38
Unlike Shelley, Wordsworth usage of sublime refers to the aesthetic beauty of nature. We may achieve sublime (like Shelley) if we have elevated thoughts. Thus, Tintern Abbey briefly mentions sublime in its context, but this conversation poem believes that the perceiver can recognize nature and understand its aesthethic beauty, but must take a final step and learn to achieve elevated thoughts. These elevated thoughts and/or insights are the last steps that the perceiver must take in order to appreciate nature as a whole.
Cristina Khou, 1G